Sunday, April 27, 2008

Best in show

By Jennifer Ross - North Shore Outlook - April 23, 2008

You don’t have to be a green thumb to appreciate orchids. The exquisite colours and delicate design make them a rare beauty that all can enjoy.

That’s why thousands of orchid enthusiasts will be showing up at this year’s Vancouver Orchid Society 2008 Annual Orchid Show and Sale. The show is an ideal spring event for those who have enjoyed growing orchids for years as well as for those still searching for their first plant.

Visitors will be able to shop for orchids from a huge selection of plants presented by show vendors, attend educational presentations and learn about the beauty and attraction of orchids. They can also watch exquisite orchid displays prepared by leading local and international growers.

“This event is also an American Orchid Society judged show,” said Chris Ostenstad, a co-chair of the show. “On Friday we judge orchids that are not yet recognized, that have been hybridized. With hundreds of entries we look for orchids that are bigger and better than ever.”

And if you have your own orchids at home and you would like to bring them to the event, there will be expert growers on site who can answer any questions you might have about orchids and other species. There will also be workshops throughout the day that address the care and maintenance of these exotic plants.

“The biggest myth about orchids is people think they are hard to look after, but they are not,” said Ostenstad. “If they have enough light and heat they will grow. Just don’t over water them.”

Because most orchids originated in tropical environments, placing them in the bathroom or a kitchen windowsill will provide enough humidity to help ensure a healthy plant, explains Ostenstad, who has two greenhouses and over a thousand orchids. Some orchids, if handled properly, can outlive their owners.

For those concerned about the initial cost of buying an orchid, there will be plants in a range of prices available at the show. While some cost thousands due to the rarity of the species, others, like the popular Phalaenopsis, are more affordably priced.

“The hybridizing market is key today because it is worth a lot of money,” said Ostenstad. “But you have to be willing to invest a lot of time and effort. Most orchids take two years to grow and some can take between three to 10 years to flower.”

The Vancouver Orchid Society 2008 Annual Orchid Show and Sale takes place May 3 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and May 4 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Richmond Curling Club (5540 Hollybridge Way). Admission is $7 and children under age 12 can visit the show for free. For more information, go to

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