Admirers dazzled, winners modest
By NERIDA BLOK
JUNE Smith admits she has a green thumb.
But even this seventy-sevenyear-old gardening enthusiast from Alstonville, said she couldn't grow plants like those on display at the annual Far North Coast District Orchid Show.
"They are magnificent," she said.
For three days, from Friday to Sunday, large crowds attended the event held at the Ballina RSL Club.
FNC District Orchid Council president Des Perkins said members from the council's 12 different orchid societies displayed this year, from Bellingen to Tweed Heads.
With the event always falling on Mother's Day, Mr Perkins said a lot of blooms were out.
"So it's a great chance to show people the flowers and give them the opportunity to buy one for their mum," he said.
He said $700 prize money was handed out to supreme orchid entries.
Grand Champion, Reserve Champion and Champion Specimen was won by Bill Brown of Tweed Heads.
While Alstonville's Bevan Burn- ham took out Champion Seedling.
Mr Burnham, who has been growing orchids for '20 odd years', was modest in his win.
"They're fairly easy to grow if you have the right conditions," he said. "Mainly you've got to have a shade house and you have got to water them regularly, especially during the drier months."
He said the Northern Rivers was perfect for growing orchids.
"There is no extremes of temperature," he said.
"That's one of the secrets for growing them - if it's too cold or frosty it freezes the flowers."
A judge at this year's show, Bob Wilson of Alstonville, said he looked for a number of things in selecting a good orchid.
"For cattleyas, you're looking for a circular outline, broad sepals and petals and a good balanced labellum," he said.
Guided by the Australian Judging Standards, 'which changed according to genera', Mr Wilson said all the hybriding had made his job more difficult.
However the long-time orchid grower and judge said 30 years of experience did help.
"It comes naturally to you after a while. When you walk into a hall, you can usually pick out a champion," he said.