Friday, 20 February 2009

Orchid Society to mark 50 years in the sun

Bournemouth Orchid Society is set to celebrate 50 years in bloom with a large show at the Carrington House Hotel.

The event is set to attract traders from across the globe and show secretary Michael Powell said: "we've got ten or eleven traders who will be selling everything from baby orchid plants through to orchid Jewellery.

They are expecting over 1,500 visitors over the weekend and Mr Powell added: "We're hoping a lot of people will come along who are not fanatical growers, people who just like seeing them in the shops and would like to know a bit more about it."

With over 22,000 types of Orchid species worldwide the variety of flowers is something that clearly appeals to society members and to Mr Powell: "there are orchids that don't grow bigger than your finger nail and there are some that grow to over a tonne, if you see a daisy then they all look alike."

Friendly competition is also a central part of the society's activities and this weekend there will be four trophies up for grabs.

Categories include Best Amateur-Grown Plant, Best Professionally-Grown Plant, Best Floral Arrangement and the Best Plant exhibited by a Bournemouth member.

Mr Powell said: "all the plants on display will be judged whether they're from traders or from amateurs there will be trophies, rosettes awarded for first and second place and there is a special trophy for Bournemouth members."

The Orchid society was established in Bournemouth and Poole in 1949 by seven or eight professional orchid traders and two founding members who will be honoured guests at this weekend's event.

Former Chairman, Graham Smith said: "It's something that for some reason grabbed me by the throat… it's the variety I think, the incredible shapes and colours and the challenge of growing them."

Mr Smith who has been a member of the society for 35 years passion for orchids was confirmed while on a visit to Sri Lanka.

Mr Smith said: "I had to go out to the West Indies for a month, Jamaica in fact and I spent my spare time up in the mountains looking for orchids.

"That reinforced things so I joined the society."

The 50th Anniversary show is being hosted by the Carrington House Hotel which boasts the largest banqueting suite in Bournemouth: The Ambassador suite.

The Banqueting and Conference Manager Catherine Barker said: "we're directly under the Pavilion and the BIC and have the largest hall within a hotel in Bournemouth."

With a capacity of up to 800 guests at any time the facility should have ample room for the hundreds of flowers that will be on display.

Orchid secretary Ken Griffiths said: "It's a big society as orchid societies go; we have currently about 120 members and have shows biannually in Bournemouth."

Members of the society have taken their flowers to events all over the world during the years.
Mr Griffiths said: "We have been abroad on several occasions; to Dijon four years ago and to Miami last year for the world Orchid congress."

He added: "I've always been interested in plants, when I was a kid I used to grow cactus plants and sort of evolved into orchids… It's kind of like a disease, it's addictive!"

The Bournemouth Orchid Society's 50th Anniversary show runs from Friday 22 until Sunday 24 of February at the Carrington House Hotel.

For more information on the Orchid society visit and to contact Carrington House Hotel call 01202 369940 or visit

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