Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Orchid exhibiting is like karate. I've never done karate, but I've seen The Karate Kid a few times and I remember Mr. Miyagi scoffing at the idea that Daniel could learn martial arts from a book. I have no idea how to win at flower shows but I'm pretty sure this book isn't going to help. It's not a very good book, to be perfectly honest with you and, following Mr. Miyagi, orchid showing seems to be one of those things that you can only learn by doing.

That said, the new issue of Orchids magazine has a number of articles about AOS awards and judging that are worth reading. These articles discuss the history of the AOS judging system, how it compares to other judging systems, and the considerations judges take into account when making their decisions. As one of the articles points out, previously awarded clones -- except in the rare instance when it improves substantially on the original -- aren't going to be selected by the judges for AOS consideration. It all starts with the collection.

Orchid shows also seem to be a lot like little league baseball. I've never played baseball, but I saw Hardball once or twice and I remember Keanu Reeves praising the disadvantaged inner-city youth for showing up. Half of the battle is having the orchids show up. I've learned that plants in which you have little faith might be big winners. The judges might see something you don't. In fact, they're very likely to see something you don't because they've spent nearly ten years of their life training to be an orchid judge. Beyond that, your flower might be the only one in its class. It's all about showing up.

Perhaps the comparisons to karate or baseball are stretching things too far. It seems to me that growing good looking orchids is the fundamental key to successfully exhibiting them. Growing what you love is its own reward, but I want more ribbons and glory. I need to focus my collection for that to happen. I need to make sure the flowers show up to the orchid shows. And I need to learn that special crane kick from Mr. Miyagi.