Orchid grower Ron Campbell, of Goonellabah, with some of the magnificent plants on show at this year’s Alstonville Orchid Society autumn show at the Alstonville Plaza shopping centre.
Orchid grower Ron Campbell, of Goonellabah, with some of the magnificent plants on show at this year’s Alstonville Orchid Society autumn show at the Alstonville Plaza shopping centre. David Nielsen

Alstonville orchid show on

AFTER years of hybridising and mericloning, the Northern Rivers’ best orchid growers face off at Alstonville from today.

Just so we’re clear, the hybridising and mericloning happens to the orchid flowers, not the growers.

The Alstonville Orchid Society is hosting its annual autumn show over the next few days. Hundreds of entries areexpected as the region’s best growers seek the elusive app-roval of the show’s notoriously tough judges.

In an effort to impress the judges, most of the flowers on display will have been the result of either painstaking hybridising or mericloning.

Hybridising involves pollinating one orchid with the pollen of another orchid genera, while mericloning is effectively an artificial clone of anorchid.

Despite the work involved for the show’s contestants, there is no guarantee howmany awards will be given out at the Alstonville Plaza in coming days.

“It is up to the judges to give out the awards,” former show judge and now member of the Alstonville Orchid Society Ron Campbell said.

“It is something we never really know, it all depends on the quality of the flowers.”

Judges will be looking for something different from each orchid – everything from colour to stem, depending on what kind they are.

“There are big differences from one genera to another,” Mr Campbell said.

He said it was the sheervariety of the roughly 20 different genera of orchids that made them an obsession for this year’s contestants.

“It’s like a bee-keeper – you get that attracted to them,” Mr Campbell said.

And while the professionals spend years experimenting in the quest for the perfect orc-hid, Mr Campbell said orchids could be a feature of anyone’s backyard.

“They are not too hard to grow,” he said. “We have a pretty ideal climate for growing orchids.

“And a lot of people will be at the show to give advice and answer people’s questions.”

The show will run from 8am to 9pm between today and Friday, and 8am to midday on Saturday.



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