Fascinating blooms on show

Juergen Heindke from the Northern Rivers Orchid Species Society, with one of his laeilia purpurata orchids.

According to legend the orchid was given its name by Theophrastus, a student of Plato, who noted the round paired bulbs of the common orchid and promptly gave it the name orchis from the Greek word for testicle.

When the orchid became popular in England the sexual overtones of the blooms were considered too shocking for Victorian women and growing orchids was a hobby reserved for wealthy gentlemen gardeners.

This could explain the universal fascination with this most exotic of botanical species and also why its men who seem to be more fascinated by them than women. Or at least more obsessed with growing the ultimate Grand Champion.

Were all mad as far as Im concerned, said Juergen Heindke, owner of El Dorado Orchids in Uralba and a committed grower for 35 years. There are a lot of egos involved because we are all trying to grow the very best orchid.

Discover the magnetism of these blooms for yourself at the Northern Rivers Orchid Species Societys Annual Species Show, which is on from Thursday to Saturday, October 26-28, at the Lismore Shopping Square. Anyone inspired can ask the growers for advice, and Juergen says with a little loving care anyone can grow beautiful orchids.

I recommend people buy or borrow a book on the subject, he said. Thats how I learnt everything I know.

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