Gotta Garden

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

2008 Maymont Flower Show

With expected bad weather on the horizon, I made my way down to Richmond on Thursday, February 21st. This was probably my fourth time to attend the Maymont show. It is a welcomed and anticipated break in winter.

This year, however, brought some changes to the Maymont show. For starters, it was combined with a home show. Visitors were funneled into the home show and had to seek out the garden part (it wasn't obvious). Clearly, the intention was for attendees to take in the home show first. For me, this wasn't so good. I came for the garden part.

Way over on the side were the gardens (not so many, it seemed to me) and the garden vendors. Now, I am usually a happy shopper and so, yes, I did find some things to bring home (never fear). However, I wasn't a happy camper when I discovered that the speakers (only four) were held in two separate venues and overlapped. This meant, it would have been impossible to take in all four. In my years of attending, this was a first. I have enjoyed some of the speakers in the past quite a bit (some, not so much), but the choice was always mine about whether to attend. I did not feel that way this year. One had to choose.

Upon discovering that the second speaker was in that previously mentioned second venue, I scurried over there and arrived a few minutes late. This talk was about cut flowers and the speaker owns a cut flower farm/business. So, it was informative but contained quite a bit of general information...and, of course, featured some of their products they had brought to sell. This was also rather new to me. I mean, there have been authors in the past, but most give a different talk with slides and will also sign their books. Somehow, that doesn't seem quite the same as someone who is at the show (with a booth) to sell you things giving you a lecture that...amazingly...shows you how wonderful their products are. I don't mean to be harsh because it was a fine enough talk. It just wasn't what I had come to expect from Maymont.

Since I had to choose, I decided to attend the fourth speaker, Art Chadwick, of Chadwick & Son Orchids, Inc. Yes, they had a lovely booth (three orchids came home with me!).

(The three orchids that reside here now, pictured above. The very last one is a seedling and the bud had not opened. I chose it based on the reddish stem color, hoping for something pretty much like what I got! They had several greenish ones, but I am one of those rare folks who is not crazy about green flowers.)

However, I can always use orchid information, especially care information. Sadly, this venue provided no screen for slides (a major flaw, in my opinion). He did bring some orchids to show, one I'll show you in just a bit. I found him very hard to hear...he did attempt to adjust his microphone, but apparently it was not fixable.

One of things I most appreciated about Mr. Chadwick's talk was his candidness. He bluntly told us not to bother with Vandas and Cymbidiums. Both are, apparently, very difficult for the home grower to get back in bloom. The Chadwicks, besides providing an amazing array and variety of orchids, also offer a boarding service. For $2 per month, you can board your orchids with them...picking them up to enjoy in bloom. That's pretty neat, I suppose.

Their business (father and son) has been featured in Southern Living Magazine as well as on Martha Stewart's tv show. Mr. Chadwick took us through most of the common varieties of orchids as well as covering their care. I didn't realize that moth orchids, in their natural habitat, grow sideways (we stand them upright) which keeps water out (and causing their death). Be careful when you water yours not to get water in the leaf joints. I also learned that I have probably been exposing my moth orchids to way too much light (which explains why I decided to toss one). I have remedied this situation (the light one).

Two other care aspects made an impression on me. These are general (for most home orchids) care tips. One is that tap water is okay! Who knew (I thought you were supposed to use distilled or some such). The other is that orchids love to be outside in mild weather. We were told that they will really take off, if you put them outside. Now, don't forget to protect them from the hot sun (shade them) and also secure them (from falling off or blowing about). Wow. I think will have to give that a try this year.

Oh yes. One other thing: misting doesn't really help them. They like humidity which is better achieved with humidity trays (a humidity gage would be helpful). I bought several humidity trays and am going to give those a try as the water in the tray should provide a better atmosphere than I currently have. I do wish I had realized the trays require a stand or a tray to put them in...but, I'm sure I can find something online or somewhere.

Here's a fabulous moth orchid (award winning) that is something like fifteen years old. Check out all the roots (we always wonder if we should repot or not...maybe not!).

I also found these cute things at the Maymont booth.

Special thanks to the Hellebore vendor who not only sold me a double (hopefully, next year I'll find out what color it is!) but most kindly gave me some plastic bags to cover my new orchids as I was parked on the sixth (and open) deck. It was after 6:00 p.m. and quite cold outside. I don't think my orchids would have made it but for her kindness, so thank you very much!

I was happy to find some cut flower preservative and a stainless steel frog (dishwasher safe), both recommended by the first speaker. The preservative was one of the products I bought from her booth. Some seeds jumped into my hands also...and maybe some clippers...

The jury is out on whether I will attend next year. Even if it did disappoint me this year, it's pretty hard to resist seeing flowers in bloom (any flowers) in February.

I'll close with one last picture. Seeing these daffodils brought a smile to my face.


jodi said...

The consensus seems to be similar on a lot of gardening shows. Maybe this is indicative of tough times, or market chill, or something.

kate smudges said...

Those are beautiful Orchids! I would have been frustrated with the over-lapping speakers too.

Our local home and garden show is pretty much all home and very little garden. What passes for the garden part is usually patio furniture and brick stuff.

Happy Easter!

Gotta Garden said...

Yeah, Jodi, I'm not a fan of soon as I see the Home...I'm thinking it's probably not worth my (valuable) time. I don't know. I sorta think it's that whoever is running them thinks it's a grand idea...but doesn't really get gardeners. Maybe there just aren't enough gardeners. Who knows. Oh well.

Thanks, Kate! Yes, that's what this one seems to be going toward. Such a shame. The loss of a tradition, in my opinion. Hope you're doing well.

Thanks for your comments, both of you...I appreciate them.

Ki said...

Very nice article on orchids. The Paphiopedilum you chose is gorgeous. And I love the pink epidendrons or are those oncidiums?? We put some of our orchids outdoors and they do love it under the shade of trees especially with all the humidity in summer. During the winter we keep them in portable greenhouses essentially a frame with zippered plastic covering. We place a large pan of water on the bottom and have fans creating a draft because we read that the orchid don't like stagnant air. Seems like a lot of trouble but worth seeing the exotic blooms. ;)

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