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American Orchid Society show draws 2,000 visitors to Minnesota venue

BLOOMINGTON, MN — The Orchid Society of Minnesota hosted the Spring 2014 American Orchid Society Members Meeting & Show April 30-May 4, here, in conjunction with meetings of the Mid-America Orchid Congress, the Slipper Orchid Alliance, International Phalaenopsis Alliance, Pleurothallid Alliance and the Angraecoid Alliance. The event moves around the country and the last time it was hosted here was 2005.

Under the slogan, “Orchids: A Growing Obsession,” the national event with international exhibitors, attendees and vendors covered over 4,500 square feet of orchid exhibits and featured 17 commercial vendors selling plants and products to the general public. With a crowd of about 2,000 visitors, some of the orchid vendors completely sold out their show inventory.

SILVER-VASE-VANDAMike Plesha, from the Orchid Society of Minnesota, displays a Vanda orchid in a clear acrylic cylinder from Silver Vase in Homestead, FL.“We were really pleased with the turnout,” Linda Sizer, president of the Orchid Society of Minnesota, told The Produce News. “Orchids are accessible to everybody — these plants are available in most supermarkets now and are an introduction for some people who maybe don’t think they are into growing flowering plants.”

One new product at the show was the Vanda orchid in a clear acrylic cylinder from Silver Vase in Homestead, FL. (“Next wave of emerging orchid varieties,” Floral Marketing in The Produce News, Feb. 10-24, 2014, page 45).

“It’s interesting because the clear acrylic cylinder looks like glass,” Sizer said. “The general public wants to grow the Vanda orchid but if it’s not sitting inside a container, it is difficult to keep alive because it needs humidity, so this is a nice way to do it.”

The top American Orchid Society award is the coveted First Class Certificate, the highest flower quality award for an orchid species or hybrid scoring 90 points or more on a 100-point scale, Sizer said. “The FCC award went to Jason Fischer of Orchids Limited in Plymouth, MN, for his Phragmipedium, Scarlett O’Hara, ‘Tall Dark and Handsome.’ “

The newly elected American Orchid Society officers who will serve two-year terms are Frank Smith from Krull-Smith Landscapes in Apopka, FL, president; Mario Ferrusi from Marsh Hollow Orchids in Fenwick, ON, vice president; Harry Gallis from Charlotte, NC, vice president; Susan Wedegaertner from Modesto, CA, treasurer; Nancy Mountford, co-owner of Orchids Dominicana in the Dominican Republic, assistant treasurer; Jean Hollebone from Ottawa, ON, secretary; and also Sandra Tillisch-Svoboda from Santa Barbara, CA, past-president.

The next American Orchid Society meeting and show will be held Oct. 29-Nov. 2, 2014 at the Sheraton Orlando North in Orlando, FL.