19th World Orchid
Conference and Tamiami International Orchid Festival
News # 34
Impressions from a compulsive orchidist (orchidmaniac?)
Carlos Antonio Akselrud de Gouveia
On January the 23rd, 2008, we woke excited and anxious. I and Jorge Abreu,
mates of madness, were tired after a day trip - 12 hours with a stop in
Panama - as soon as arrived in Florida, we went straight to Motes nursery.
In the following day, we woke up early and took the road to Fort Pierce
- 130 miles away- to pry into Odom's Orchids. On the way back, a stop
at Home Depot to buy things and we arrived dead in the hotel. We planned
the follow days, many things to do and little time, we checked the displays
to see and, finally, we dropped off to sleep, tired but excited.
Bad and fast breakfast, we jumped into car and there we were. The mess
was big, no one knew exactly where was the show, where was the conference
strictly speaking. Finally, we got the show entrance with a pressed crowd.
First impact: The WOC's display presentation, with many flowers, flamingos
and macaws, ALIVE! I read in the Internet that there domesticated and
since they were young, they used to live on the grass, without leaving
it, and for that reason, they were docile, walking without showing any
worry. It was quite 'kitsch', but authentic. It looked like Miami.
The lines were enormous, three volunteers, all in the third age, received
the payment in different windows: one for money, one for check and one
for credit card.
Speed was not an attribute of the diligent collaborators.
Admission ticket paid (expensive, US$ 20), pushed again to get in.
And then, the spectacle!
Many displays among many boxes of selling. All of them filled with flowers.
No matter how many shows we have already seen, the impact for the first
time is hallucinating. Only later, we turn on the analyzer, the beginning
is pure ecstasy. I won't detail the show because Delfina and Sérgio
stayed there more and saw the opening and registered pictures in a more
organized way than me, I keep some comments to do in the end of the article.
After a Wednesday promenading ourselves up and down around the nurseries
- Banjong, Soroa e Fuchs, with Maurício Verboonen and Nilton, we
finished our day invading another show, Tamiami International Show.
Yes, two concomitant shows!!!
That is, who thinks that stubbornness and spite is something from rustic
people coming from the third world, in the austral Florida the vanity
and commercial conflict also produce their paradoxes.
Tamiami, obviously, was less magnificent but identically beautiful and
exciting and much less formal.
Many exhibitors were in WOC and Tamiami.
There the admission ticket was cheaper (US$ 7) and the vendors' displays
were more generous.
For the show, WOC, for buying Tamiami and, for us, many ground to walk
The next day, Tamiami, there the madness was to find quickly what to buy.
Contrary of the other shows, le audience goes to buy with small handcart
(Do you remember Tubby Tompkins' hand cart?) and if you hesitate, it is
over. However buying at the first sight also gives displeasures, better
and cheaper plants could be at the next display... What an insanity!
Buzz,buzz, buzz, aside shoves, seeing again many people and be introduced
to many people. Find and buy plants which you always dreamed and find
and buy plants that you have never dreamed they exist. However also disappointment
because not every vendor brings novelties, some are limited to the basic
and you were not looking for this that you went there.
Then it is time to go back to the WOC, on Saturday to see again, to take
pictures and to talk a lot. Time to criticize.
Tamiami, on Sunday, close the orchid adventure.
Now it is time to pack and to prepare the plants, much more than we should
buy. And dream with the next that no one knows when could be attended.
Bellow the comments and histories about the Shows:
- Krull & Smith's
display was the great highlight. Good taste, boldness, wonderful plants,
quality and an incredible quantity. The tree of Phalaenopsis
and the river of Phragmipedium made any jaw to drop.
It is not the champion. Yankee petty politics.
- Remarkable the
small displays by Andy's and Hoosier. The first with its amazing miniatures
and the other with terrestrial plants. Orquídeas del Valle
da Colombia also showed Masdevallias glass globes hanged that were
- In general, the
exhibitors dare a little, good plants but bureaucratic. In Rio, there
was more creativity.
- There were also
bad prominence. There was a display with two tree stumps surmounted
by Dendrobium nobile. Awful. During my administration
in OrchidaRio (our local orchid society), I would sent the guy back...
- In Tamiami, Martin
Motes showed a multitude of colors of his Vanda and relatives. There
was a group of Vanda tesselata var. boxalli to let every
one mad about, all of high quality. Who wanted to see Vandas should
go there, nothing in the WOC could be compared.
- In spite of the
verbiage, there were plants coming from wood in abundance, in both
shows. Everything with CITES.
- Singapore presented
a beautiful arrangement of cut flowers, anticipating the spectacle
in the next WOC happening there.
South Africa that run and won for being the seat of the 2014, had
also a display full of Disas. For the first time, I have seen
those very difficult plants alive and in colors. What colors!!!
- It is a pity
that Brazil (specially Rio) had a little attendance. Florália
in the WOC, Bela Vista in Tamiami and Ecoorquídeas in both
shows were an exception and I think that they didn't regret. Wenzel
was else there with his American branch, Amazonia Orchids.
- Visitors from
Rio de Janeiro, I also saw just few, besides me and Jorge, Maurício
Verboonen, Delfina, Sérgio Araujo, our President, Maria do
Rosário and no one else.
It was a lost opportunity, Miami is nearby, has a lot of nurseries,
speak English and Spanish, the climate is favorable, it will not be
easy to visit a WOC so soon.
- Behind the scene:
it was a common sense that the American marketing is strongly decreasing.
The fact is that many nurseries among the ones we have visited were
quite poor and one of them was unrecognizable, empty. I won't mention
the name in order to avoid susceptibility.
- It was said,
in a whisper that Bob Fuchs had sold his property, nurseries, house
and etc, transferring everything soon after the WOC. If confirmed,
it will be a thump the departure of the powerful leader of SFOS.
- When we did the
WOC, in 1996, the exigencies were enormous and the criticism was fierce.
The great controller, 'The AOS', when host a Conference, shows
- Staring by
the lines - in Rio, there were 5 ticket windows, which got any kind
of payment, with hired professionals, much more efficient than volunteers.
- The food court
was a chaos, without any alternative with insufficient room. People
paid for the food (more enormous lines) and went to eat in the areas
of open lectures where there were chairs.
- The high price
disheartened coming back. On Sunday, the vendors would die of melancholia
if wouldn't have each other to talk. In Tamiami, the presence was
big looking for offers and fire sale.
- Toninho from
Bela Vista, on Sunday, took his time walking and chatting, without
- I remembered
Álvaro Pessoa who had his plants 'donated' by an anonymous
at the end of the WOC-96. When Ecoorquídeas went to dismount
the display, found a frightful scene: Every thing was taken, plants,
awards, the identification plate even the maidenhair used for the
Getting in touch with organization, they received a 'we are very
sorry' and goodbye. Can you imagine if it happens in Rio, with
an American nursery?
- It was nice
while it lasted, now it is time to mount the plants and cheer the