Hunting For Orchids

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The Central Louisiana Orchid Society will be hosting the Fall SWROGA show on October 1st, – 3rd at the Best Western Convention Center, in Alexandria. The theme of the show this year is “Hunting for Orchids”.  The show is for orchid growers and enthusiasts who are interested in learning more about the culture of orchids as well as how orchids are judged for competition.  The general public will be able to view exhibits and purchase orchids on Saturday, October 2nd from 9:00am to 5:00pm and Sunday, October 3rd from 11:00am to 3:30pm.  The show is free and open to the public during these times. There will be a host of vendors from across the South selling a variety of orchids and orchid growing supplies.

Along with exhibits and vendors, the show will feature several speakers for attendees. Peter Lin, of Southern California will be speaking on Mini-Cattleyas and their culture.  Peter has been growing orchids for 25 years and is an accredited judge with the American Orchid Society as well as a hybridizer of mini-catts.  He currently works part-time for Sunset Valley Orchids.  Earl Bailey will also be speaking on phragmipediums.   Earl is a retired professor of aerospace engineering from the University of Alabama.  He and wife Phyllis live on a farm on the Little Cahaba River, south of Birmingham, Alabama.  Together they formed Orchidbabies, LLC where they specialize in Lady Slippers- both phragmipediums and paphiopedilums.

The Central Louisiana Orchid Society has also been a participant in a conservation project to restore a native Louisiana orchid.  A society project to restore the Kentucky lady slipper orchid (Cypripedium kentuckiense), one of the rarest and most spectacular orchids native to Louisiana, began with the curiosity of a high school student from Shreveport.  It has evolved into a cooperative effort between the Kisatchie National Forest, Southwest Regional Orchid Growers Association, Southern Research Station and the Central Louisiana Orchid Society; and yes, the high school student turned high school science teacher – Kevin Allen – is still intimately involved in the project. The Kentucky lady slipper orchid is a tall, stately perennial plant with the largest flowers of any known lady slipper. Grants allowed the society to purchase plantlets grown from the collected seed pod. A research study is now underway to develop propagation protocols and compare effects of seedling age, fungal inoculation, and depth and season of planting on establishment success. Three planting trials are providing information that will help develop guidelines for restoring this beautiful orchid.

While there may be the misconception that orchids are hard to grow, the culture of orchids is really basic once you become familiar with their requirements. One of our members even grows her orchids in the house under lights.  With orchids becoming more and more readily available at our local grocery and home building supplies stores, take a chance on this exotic flower.  To learn more about the culture of orchids, the public is invited to attend the local grower’s monthly meeting held the 3rd Sunday of each month at 2:30 pm in the St. James Episcopal Church Youth Activities Building on Albert Street in Alexandria.  Here you will meet local growers and their plants and learn about their culture.  Door prizes and raffle plants are one perk of the meeting.

CLOS would like to invite Cenla to see the Fall SWROGA show October 2nd and 3rd and get ready to have your socks knocked off by the array of exotic blooms on display.  To register for the show, participants can contact Al Taylor at (337) 424-9689.