If you attended the old Wichita Garden Show, you remember the tables of colorful orchids that the Kansas Orchid Society used to have for sale at Century II.
The sale will return in a new forum this year, at the fall orchid show next weekend at Botanica. At past shows, vendors from other places used to come in and sell orchids. But now, “we’re going to have our own sales, with lots of different things that you won’t find available in the box stores, where people go a lot of times,” the society’s president, Karlene Sanborn, said. Proceeds from the sale will support the orchid society, which supports Botanica and orchid-conservation efforts.
“We go out and buy all the plants from some of the best growers in the United States,” said Sanborn, who herself owns Prairie Orchids in El Dorado.
“We’ll have phalaenopsis, paphiopedilums – the slipper orchids, angraecum – those particular plants originate in Africa, and one of them is called the Darwin orchid, pollinated by the large moths that fly around at night. We also will have onsidiums, and cattleyas that will be coming in from California. A lot of them will be mini cattleyas that will be wonderful to grow on your windowsill.”
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Johnson’s Garden Center will be selling potting supplies, and an 85-year-old member of the society who is from Austria, Marlen McIntosh, will have items that she’s woven of wool or linen for sale.
You won’t have to spend any money to be enthralled, though. The show will feature orchids that will be judged by American Orchid Society judges.
“They'll see between 200 and 300 blooming orchids that will be exhibited by the members and anyone else who shows up who wants to exhibit,” Sanborn said. From the winners will be chosen a separate group that will receive American Orchid Society awards.
The show and sale will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 31 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 1 at Botanica. Admission to the show is free.
“Members are all knowledgeable and can answer questions and will have printed material. They’re always glad to talk about orchids.”
Sanborn has advice for anyone buying an orchid: Make sure you know the genus and the species. “Those things are important, because if you go and buy something and it just says ‘cattleya’ on it and nothing else, you’re not sure what you’re getting. They come from different parts of South America and growing conditions from the Andes to the ocean, with different rainfall and humidity, and our growers can discuss those elements of growing.
“Also it has to do with exhibiting orchids. If you have the full name and you know what its history and parentage is, you could win an AOS award if it makes all the criteria.”