OF THE 18th WORLD ORCHID CONFERENCE IN DIJON
was born in New York City. Six years ago, he moved from New York
City to Quito, Ecuador where he paints, illustrates, writes and
is a part time-gardener for more than 6.000 orchids.
His writing has been published, he has lectured and exhibited
nationally and internationally and has received many awards for
After thirteen years of painting Oncidium, he designed and published
the first edition of "The Pictorial Encyclopedia of Oncidium"
and after another seven years, published the second revised edition
with more than 850 same-size paintings of plants and flowers.
During the 18th WOC, he presents a lecture about "The Oncidium
alliance with an emphasis on Caucaea" and exhibited
paintings from his book.
was cold in France! Ten below zero Celsius is really cold! Arriving
to freezing weather in Paris three days before the show/conference opened
on March 11, and having been informed of the unusually cold weather
in Europe, we brought overcoats and warm clothes. Had the event opened
a week later, the weather, mostly sunny and crisp, would have been far
nicer. Orchids were shipped from all over the world and were always
in danger of being left on a loading dock in the sub-zero weather. Fortunately,
this was not one of the problems that cropped up for exhibitors.
The orchid exhibition was combined with another plant and flower show,
Florissimo, which adjoined the enormous hall for orchid displays.
The orchid show was a magnificent display of many, many genera and hybrids.
The winning display, presented by Lecoufle, was outstanding with the
centerpiece of their exhibit an oil painting of orchids produced in
the last century by Philippe LeCoufle’s grandmother. The painting
was surrounded by myriad flowering hybrids and species. Most elegant
was the amazing, colorful presentation of tropical orchids from Singapore
with vandas and other plants silhouetted against a black column that
stood out brilliantly; the entire exhibit was surrounded by a wreath
of hundreds upon hundred of dendrobiums, oncidiums and other orchids.
The huge exhibit from The Netherlands presented an incredible, colorful
palette of flowers lent by the excellent growers of that country. From
Denmark came some of the largest and well-grown specimen plants. Germany
had their share of award winning orchids too, with superb displays that
won the most awards and was voted best in show. The Jardin du Luxembourg
presented some remarkable, huge orchids. And many, many other countries
were represented with potted and mounted orchids, outstanding specimens
all, as well as beautiful cut flowers. There is only one word to describe
the show: Staggering! At least 200,000 visitors came to the huge hall.
The judging was broken down into many categories, perhaps too many.
For instance, oncidium, miltonia and odontoglossum were split into three
overlapping groups that created problems for the judges, especially
when it came to mixed hybrids. Perhaps one larger group judging Oncidium
(combining the experts in the three groups) would have simplified matters.
And enhanced the learning process.
The informative conference was quite varied and delved deeply. There
was much to learn from the many speakers although little of the content
was controversial. Illustrative material was presented on CDs with Powerpoint,
an innovation by the show management, avoiding slides getting stuck
and preventing the awkward wait when changing reels. In general, the
show was quite well managed with Vinciane and Marc Dumont present and
available at all times to solve problems that arose with grace. Evening
events, as expected, were all superb… as only the French can do
Some of the exhibitors and vendors suffered the only major problems.
They brought species and hybrids from various countries and what they
shipped were either delayed or eliminated by French customs and agricultural
officials. This meant that growers could not produce exhibits or vend.
A grower from Peru with plants and flasks was delayed until the last
day of the show for selling and could not produce an exhibit showing
the remarkable orchids from that country. The people from Madagascar
never gained entry for their plants. On the fourth day of the show,
some of the plants from Brazil finally were allowed by the authorities
to be sold. There was a major grower from Bogota, Colombia who brought
2,800 plants whose Acineta won best in show in Quito last year. His
CITES and Phytosanitary papers were somehow sent via Moscow, tying up
his plants in Paris; they never arrived in Dijon for the show! The vendors
from the Philippines were allowed to open and sell for a day, but were
then shut down permanently. And there were others who came with species
that had similar problems. It seemed to this writer that most of the
species vendors were focused on for special treatment by the French
authorities. How depressing. How unfair. I think it quite odd that most
of the six growers from around the world could not bring their species
of orchids into France for exhibit and sales, and the few that did got
them on the last day of the conference. Vive la France!
There was an art exhibit of orchid paintings. Represented were magnificent
paintings by Angela Mirro, Linda Walsh Petchnick, Carol Woodin, and
the writer, all from the United States, Sylvia Strigari of Italy and
France, and Hemlata Pradham from India. Carol Woodin’s superb
painting for the conference poster of a toucan and Lycaste was awarded
a gold medal.
Enough (for the moment) about orchids and the show… there was
the food! But then it would take up too much space to render appropriate
comment. This writer returned home with great appreciation for French
cuisine and a gain of four and a half pounds.
At the closing ceremony, there was a changing of the guard, with Joyce
Stewart giving up her berth to Pete Furness. The high point of the ceremony
was the announcement of the selection by the committee for the WOC location
to follow the Miami conference that will be held there in three years.
The three competitors were Taiwan, South Africa and Singapore; the choice
was Singapore in six years hence.
All in all, it was a most interesting trip, well worth the length of
time it took to travel to Dijon from Ecuador, and even worth suffering
through the chill of the late winter.
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