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Cape Orchid Society Spring Show

Published on October 25th 2021
Orchid show
Orchids are normally reserved for the few enthusiasts who find true pleasure in pampering their plants. It is no secret that some orchids require a bit more attention than the average gardener signs up for, but it is definitely worth the effort when you look at the beautiful specimens that grace the seasonal orchid shows.
We took a trip out to the Cape Orchid Society show this spring to see just what the members have been up to during lockdown.
Slipper orchid have become increasingly popular among millenials and one gorgeous specimen made it into the show.

From big to small

The Spring Cape Orchid Society Show kicked off on the 1st of October by welcoming young and old alike. The drizzly morning, in true Cape Town fashion, proved to set the stage for a cosy gathering of orchid lovers admiring the large and tiny blooms that made it into the show.
It all came on the heels of the recent relaxation of Covid regulations allowing visitors and members alike to share in the spring beauty. On display were a few noted fragrant wonders including the big bombastic blooms of several Cattleya. In addition, several noted Dendrobiums seemed to be particular crowd-pleasers.
Dendrobium spectabile is a tropical orchid from Papua, New Guinea and Solomon Islands.
I, on the other hand, make a beeline for the oddballs. Those tiny Pleurothallis, Bulbophyllum and the indigenous Satyrium species always stand out among the many hybrids. In this show, in particular, the display of the various colour morphs in Ansellia africana (Leopard orchid) proved to be well worth the trip. Some of you may remember me lamenting about finding non-flowering specimens on the edge of Zambia. Seeing them in flower is an absolute bucket list item.
Ansellia africana in Zambia:


|| Ansellia africana|| Leopard orchids growing along the South Luangwa river. They are said to flower in the rainy season when it is to wet and muddy to venture into the park. Would love to see those large clusters flower. #Zambia

To see AfriOrchids range of Leopard orchids follow the link.
Ansellia africana
Ansellia africana has various colour forms with the color varies from West to East across Africa.

Growing orchids in the Cape

The Cape is home to an unusual Mediterranean climate, with mild winters, foggy mornings and, by all accounts, some of the best quality water around. These milder temperatures and wet winters have led to a large number of indigenous terrestrial orchids that bloom from mid-winter to the blistering heat of February.
Indigenous terrestrial orchids:
Naturally, the climate makes it ideal for highland orchid species, whereas lowland or tropical species require a hothouse or greenhouse to keep the temperatures from dropping too low. Indigenous orchid culture is not for the faint of heart. It is no secret that you are more likely to come across a moth orchid than a Disa in your lifetime, yet trying your hand at a hybrid Disa can be very addictive.

Join a society near you

The Cape Orchid Society is celebrating its 65th year and what a wonderful 65 years it has been. Its members have shared their knowledge and expertise at monthly meetings to the betterment of even the most inexperienced of growers. There are guided orchid walks, greenhouse visits and culture workshops to keep you busy.
How to Join? Joining a society is as easy as filling in an online form. You can also subscribe to the monthly newsletter on their website.
Not in Cape Town? OrchidWire provides a list of all 11 Orchid organisations in South Africa.
If you find yourself itching for a more intensive learning experience, why not join The Disa House’s (Barrydale) culture workshops? Hildegard Crous provides an informative Disa Know and Grow Seminar that covers an introduction to tissue culture techniques. These will serve you well in your journey to grow flasked seedlings.

Remember to keep a lookout for upcoming shows in the Events calendar!

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