Friday, March 13, 2009

Orchids bloom and flowers in fashion

Splash Dancer, seen at the Miami International Orchid Show.
Orchids bloom and boom
by Augustus Mayhew

Apparently immune from meltdowns, cutbacks and recession anxieties, orchid enthusiasts converged in Miami a couple weekends ago for what many consider North America's best-of-the-best showcase where the exotic and the extraordinary are commonplace. The show's stellar reputation attracts US, South American and Far East growers and collectors, always significant by the presence of R. F. Orchids, owned by the renowned Robert Fuchs, known as the "King of Orchids" who has been in a class to himself ever since he was awarded best orchid in the world at a 1984 conference.

Look in almost any Palm Beach green house and the most eye-catching haute hybrids are most likely from Mr. Fuchs. I arrived within the first hour of opening day, just missing the "Repotting Psychology" workshop, and found a swarm of orchid paparazzi already planted with their bazooka lenses on tripods in front of the choice exhibits. Business was brisk especially, and not surprisingly, at the R. F. Orchid kiosk, where the constant crush of lookers quickly became buyers.
Best in Show, a Cypripedioideae hybrid, Phrag. Noirmont. Truly a work of art but nearly impossible to photograph, placed on a high pedestal surrounded by bothersome banks of fluorescent lights.
A striking cattleya found at Quest Orchids.
A cascade of color, Doritaenopsis Chain Xen Pearl, from the R. F. Orchids exhibit.
A Beallara Pacific dendrobium.
A Dendrobium spectabile, ready for that finishing touch in a guest room.
Seen on the awards table, though looks like perfect casting for a Sci-Fi Channel reality show.
Siddhartha's Garden staged by R. F. Orchids won first prize among the displays and the individual orchids also won prizes. At last year's World Orchid Conference, Mr. Fuchs's entries were again selected as the best vandas in the world.
A Brassolaelio cattleya center stage at the Quest Orchid display. The Vanda Adele Graham is named for the wife of Florida's former governor and US senator. Although Robert Fuchs has named more than 700 orchids, Robert's Delight is the only one he named for himself.
Quest Orchids takes second place, the Reserve Champion in orchid speak.
A distinctive black zebra Paphiopedilum makes for an interesting conversation piece.
An Odontioda Samantha Gettel on the awards table.
A Paphiopedilum Pinocchio.
Orchids can live forever, that is, unless someone tries to take care of them.
Vanda Michael Swerdlow from the Robert Fuchs collection. The Crown fox vanda is a Fuchs hybrid.
More from R. F. Orchids.
The Dendrobium smilliae is a centerpiece sure to focus any table.
Today's call for sacrifice does not apply to the uncontrollable passion for orchids.
“Bella Italia”: The Philadelphia 2009 Annual Flower Show
by Jill Lynne

The gorgeous, historical and very social Philadelphia Flower Show is a promising harbinger of spring. Created by the Pennsylvania Horticulture society, the Philadelphia Flower Show is the largest and oldest indoor flower show in the world, attracting an estimated 250,000 attendees.

“Bella Italia”, the 2009 theme, features a brilliantly hued mix of recreations of Italian Gardens (floral and herbs) from Roma, Milan, Tuscany, Florence and Venice – replete with gondoliers, beautiful statuary, architectural details, coy pools, and waterfalls, through exquisite tulip gardens from Holland, prize-winning displays of orchids and lilies, to exemplary environmental displays.

Also of particular interest is “The Fashion District,” a dynamic exhibition of evening gowns, hats, shoes and handbags, all created with brilliantly colored interwoven flowers, and organic earthen materials.

Nature heals, and this show delights the spirit and brings smiles to ones heart.
Photographs by Augustus Mayhew (Miami) & Jill Lynne (Philadelphia).

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