Orchids are extraordinary flowers. They display remarkable diversity in colour, size and form. Some are scented, some are designed to entrap insects and few, like vanilla (Vanilla planifolia), produce edible seed pods. Among the 28,000 currently known and accepted orchid species, many are cultivated and inevitably there are still new species to be found in the wild. I regard orchids as beautiful, often elegant, occasionally surprising and endlessly fascinating flowers, but I do not love them. I can’t put my finger on exactly why, but there is something about orchids that prevents me from developing a passion for them.
Responsibility for the lack of affection sits firmly with me, not the orchids, but I can’t be the only one that finds them, well, a little unapproachable? It could be that orchids are notoriously tricky to grow and flower, which isn’t surprising when you consider that many grow in quite extreme conditions – up trees, in bogs, on cliffs and atop mountains. You name the habitat, and it’s likely there’s an orchid adapted to live there. Such specific habitats are not easy to recreate at home, hence their occasional reluctance to perform as they would in nature. It could also be that orchids are not especially attractive when they are not blooming, which seems to me to be a lot of the time. There are subtle variations in leaf form and arrangement, but most orchids are quite plain and unexciting. Their aerial roots give some people the creeps. Perversely, the fact that orchid flowers last so long also puts me off. The waxy petals have something of an embalmed body about them. Too preserved and artificial, despite their undeniable good looks. Rather like certain celebrities I could mention.
Of course, I am generalising wildly. I won’t deny a certain affection for simpler orchids such as our British natives and the delicate little pleiones which I have collected on and off for about five years. I consider these charming and jewel-like, maybe because of their diminutive size and scarcity. I won’t argue that massed displays of orchids, such as those staged by the great botanical gardens, are not spectacular. Yet when I visit these floral extravaganzas I find myself looking but not touching, and certainly not falling head over heels. I’m happy to appreciate orchids at arm’s length, but like a Tiffany lamp, a Fabergé egg or a Ming vase, I don’t especially want one at home.
Consequently The Royal Horticultural Society’s annual Orchid Show is safe territory for me when it comes to expenditure. I am happy to admire, but not to purchase. As RHS London shows go, this is one of the more popular and extravagant. I arrived for the evening preview at 4.45pm, to find a long queue had already formed, extending around the corner into Vincent Square. Thankfully we were blessed with the first fine spring evening we’ve had this year and it was a pleasure to stand for a while and soak up some sun.
Inside the Lindley Hall were exhibits by British growers such as Laurence Hobbs Orchids, Burnham Nurseries, Double H Nurseries and The Orchid Society of Great Britain. The stand-out display, as always, was staged by Writhlington School, where the majority of orchids shown bore white flowers. It was hard not to be impressed by the cascading blooms of Coelogyne cristata (above), an epiphytic orchid that can be found growing in cool, moist areas of the eastern Himalayas from India to Vietnam. It blooms every spring before the snow begins to melt, while the weather is still cool and dry. However it requires high humidity at other times to mimic the monsoon climate it’s adapted to. Alongside was a pure white variant, Coelogyne cristata ‘Alba’ (below). Both orchids are delicately fragrant and particularly floriferous.
Cymbidium orchids are considered among the easiest orchids to grow as house plants, although I’ve never had a great deal of luck persuading them to re-flower well. Placing them outside in summer is supposed to help with that problem and I’d try it, if only I had the space. Two cymbidium varieties stood out for me at the show, both exhibited by Burnham Nurseries of Newton Abbot, Devon. The first C. ‘Cliff Hutchings’ produces racemes of lime green flowers lightly marked with maroon spots. All the cymbidiums I’ve purchased have had upright flower spikes supported by a cane, but ‘Cliff Hutchings’ has cascading racemes which plunge well below a tuft of long green leaves. This makes it suitable as a hanging plant or as a specimen for a high shelf. The second showstopper was C. Cali Night ‘Geyserland’, a plant that produces deep maroon-brown flowers on arching stems. As a houseplant it must be an interior designer’s dream, and it would make a good companion for C. ‘Cliff Hutchings’ in a cool greenhouse display.
Other orchids that caught my eye were Dendrobium densiflorum its egg-yolk yellow flowers almost resembling daffodils, and a very striking Phalaenopsis called ‘Marmalade’. I’ve not seen a butterfly orchid with antique-apricot coloured flowers before I am not certain I liked it, but one attends these shows to see something a little different and this certainly was. Love it or hate it? Marmalade or Foie gras? Do let me know your thoughts.
Finally, from a genus of orchids I know nothing about, was Sarcochilus, presented in great variety by Akerne Orchids from Belgium. These little beauties are from Australia and New Calendonia and grow mainly on trees (epiphytes) or rocks (lithophytes). Low-growing Sarcochilus orchids produce arching stems of flowers and come in all sorts of colours. They like cool shade, humidity, good ventilation and humidity. Excessive heat and cold may see them off.
Neighbouring Lawrence Hall hosted a general spring plant fair packed with plants perfect for brightening up drab patches in the garden. There were primroses aplenty; potted narcissi and muscari, unfurling epimediums, and large displays of nerines and clivias. There was much I was tempted by, all of which I resisted, except for the purchase of 6 pots of narcissi (3 x N. ‘Oxford Gold’ and 3 x N. ‘Little Oliver’ which I have already used to enhance my fledgling gravel garden. They look mighty fine popping up in between clumps of lavender-blue Anemone blanda.
The RHS Orchid Show and Plant Fair continues today, April 6th 2018, until 8pm and tomorrow, April 7th 2018 from 11am to 6pm at the RHS Lindley and Lawrence Halls in Westminster, London. Tickets cost £5 for RHS members and £9 for the public if purchased on the day. Not all exhibitors take bank cards, so do take plenty of cash with you if you’re planning to make purchases.
Spring Fair Scheduled for April 14-17, 2005
Contact: Karen J. LaFlamme, (253) 841-5024; or cell (253) 691-2005; [email protected]
PUYALLUP, WA – For many people in the Pacific Northwest, the arrival of spring commences when the Puyallup Spring Fair opens its gates. This is the 16th year of the tradition, which draws approximately 100,000 guests. The Puyallup Spring Fair is slated for April 14-17, 2005 at the Puyallup Fairgrounds in Puyallup, Washington.
Since its start in 1990, families, seniors and teens have found lots of free fun once inside the gates. NEW is celebrity character SpongeBob Squarepants, making personal appearances each day. The Puyallup Spring Fair is the new home this year to the 15th Annual Washington State Christian Talent Contest, held Friday-Sunday. Also new is a free country concert upon gate admission featuring Josh Gracin, of “American Idol 2” fame, in conjunction with KMPS 94.1 FM.
Highlights include KidZone, featuring children’s activities, baby animals, Western and Wildlife Art Show, midway rides, and delectable Fair food. Puyallup School District’s science fair, “Science Explorations 2005” will be back, featuring projects and experiments by student scientists, as well as presentations by the Pacific Science Center on Saturday and Sunday.
Each year the Garden Show grows bigger and better. In addition to the floral display contest featuring local floral artists, garden exhibits, displays, demonstrations and workshops will be held. Garden shops and nurseries will show and sell handy gardening supplies and accessories, while numerous organization representing rhododendrons, giant pumkins, orchids, tree fruit, bamboo, natural plants, Ikebana, dahlias, beekeepers, primroses, rock gardens, bonsai and roses will be on hand.
The Northwest Junior Livestock Show and Sale draws the top 4-H and FFA students in this area to show and sell their hogs, steers and sheep. It is held Thursday-Saturday, finishing with the annual auction on Sunday. Proceeds of the auction benefit student agriculture programs.
The Creative Kids Exhibit draws strong participation from children in the area. It features entries from children, ages 8-15 years in a range of categories, from photography to creative writing. Entries are due Thursday, April 7 and Friday, April 8 from noon to 7 p.m. Entries are free, and each entrant receives a free gate pass to the 2005 Puyallup Spring Fair. Call (253) 841-5017 during business hours to obtain a list of categories and rules, or visit www.thefair.com, and click on Spring Fair, and Things to Do.
Entertainment will again be free for everyone to enjoy. Take in the colorful dancing of Joyas Mestizas, the soothing sounds of Quichua Mashis, the competitive actionof Swifty Swine Pig Races, and the rib-tickling fun of Let’s Pretend Circus. Local a capella group, The Coats will appear on Sunday at 5 p.m.
Over 300 exhibitors will be selling a range of items, from trinkets to spas. Pottery and weavers will be spinning exciting new creating, and chainsaws carving one-of-a-kind pieces.
The Midway will be at its spinning best, complete with the Extreme Scream, Giant Roller Coaster, and assortment of other rides. Of course, pint-size riders will love the wide range of Kiddyland rides. Advance ride coupons will be available.
The Puyallup Spring Fair would not be complete without food! Onion burgers will be grilling, cotton candy spinning, and scones baking, ready to be filled with butter and raspberry jam.
Adult admission is $8, Youth (6-15 years) $6, and five years old and under are free. Advance tickets will be available. Parking in the fairgrounds parking lots is free.
April 14 (Thursday) 3:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
April 15 (Friday) 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
April 16 (Saturday) 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
April 17 (Sunday) 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
For further information, visit the Fair’s website at www.thefair.com or call the 24-hour hotline at (253) 841-5054.
Lucketts Store Spring Market Antique Fair 2019
Lucketts Spring Market is a wildly popular Northern Virginia event that showcases more than 200 of the best “vintage hip” vendors on the East Coast. It features painted furniture, vintage garden gems, architectural salvage, crusty antiques, and all kinds of crazy-good finds.
This exciting event, now in its 20th year, has a huge and loyal following from all over the DC Metro area. Live music, beer gardens, enticing food trucks, and fun workshops all make for a spectacular shopping weekend.
The three-day Market hosts more than 10,000 visitors in search of the perfect vintage find. Join us! We promise you won’t be disappointed.
Our VIP Early-Buyer Weekend Pass gives you exclusive access to the Spring Market on Friday, May 17th from 8:30 am til Noon. Tickets are limited, giving you first-dibs on the best finds, smaller crowds, prime parking and our Lucketts Tote with goodies! This pass also gives you access to all three days of the event included in your ticket price.
Our General Admission is good for one day admission on the day of your choosing. Please note that on Friday, May 17th the General Admission hours are from 12 Noon til 5 PM. Saturday and Sunday, May 18th and 19th the hours are from 10 AM til 5 PM.
VIP tickets must be purcased in advance. General Admission tickets will also be available at the gate.
Are there ID or minimum age requirements to enter the event?
Children 12 and under are free and do not require a ticket.
What can I bring into the event?
No pets, please due to Fairground rules.
How can I contact the organizer with any questions?
Email [email protected]
What’s the refund policy?
All tickets are non-refundable. Event is rain or shine.