British Orchid Congress. 27.10.12.

I had a very welcomne opportunity to visit the British Orchid Congress Show over the weekend. This year it has been held at Writhlington School (who run a very remarkable orchid Project). The school halls and buildings were a very satisfactory location for the show, plenty of space, catering and other facilities, and good light.

The heart of the show was this central hall filled with stands from the various Orchid Societies attending.

The stand from Bournemouth and District Orchid Society was very striking, and the first one I saw at the entrance, filled with an astonishing selection of the members plants. It is good to see that orchids still prosper in Bournemouth and the town hasn't entirely slipped into the dribbling clutches of the frail and the toothless.

This was something I have never seen before. Bulbophyllum grandiflorum from someone in Sheffield and District Orchid Society. A very strange brown flower which was five or six inches long and well deserved the title 'grandiflorum'.

Masdevallia caudivolvula is much smaller. Gloria has great difficulty photographing Masdevallia, they are small and very three-dimensional which makes it difficult in poor light. I'm sure she won't mind me pointing out that some photographs are like her shortbread, they lack crispness. The curly 'tails' on this flower made things a little simpler.

A large number a nurseries had set up stands in four halls surrounding the main area. Crowds of wonderful blooms in peak condition. Crowds of people who are (for the most part) past their best.

This Dendrobium smilliae came from Ryanne Orchidees and was in perfect condition.

Pterostylis coccinea from Orchid Alchemy, who specialise in growing species from seed. I have only seen it once before, looking rather feeble compared with this magnificent plant. Gloria says that this is the face her cat makes when it is coughing up a fur-ball.

And finally a wonderful form of Vanda coerulea grown by someone from Thames Valley Orchid Society. I love the blue reticulated flowers of the usual form but this pure ice blue flower was rather special.
This was a great way to see a lot of unknown plants and visit a good range of nurseries in a day. Orchid growers really know how to put on a show (those who believe it should be done in a field of mud on a cold day - take note).

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