ShareThis Page
Spring is in the air with Orchid Society of Western Pennsylvania show |
More Lifestyles

Spring is in the air with Orchid Society of Western Pennsylvania show

Mary Pickels
The Orchid Society of Western Pennsylvania will hold its annual show March 16-17.

As the days lengthen and green shoots push up from the earth, the Orchid Society of Western Pennsylvania welcomes the approaching spring with its annual show on March 16-17.

For the first time, the show will be held at The Artsmiths of Pittsburgh in Mt. Lebanon.

Fans of orchids should not let intimidation keep them from trying their hand at the beautiful, exotic-looking flowers, says Sheila Nathanson, society officer and show co-chairwoman.

“Anyone can learn. It’s a huge family of plants. I think at last count there are about 30,000 types of orchids. Some are not for beginners. Some totally are,” she says.

The ones typically sold in a grocery or “big box” store are house plants, Nathanson says. “If you can grow an African violet or something similar in your house, you can grow a phalaenopsis, a common orchid,” she says.

“If you take decent care of them, they last indefinitely,” Nathanson adds.

This year’s theme is “The Art of Orchids,” both a nod to the gallery venue and a show display of orchids organizers describe as of “breathtaking beauty, variety and quantity.”

In addition to seeing crafted displays of live blooming orchids, visitors can speak with society members and expert orchid growers, who can provide growing information.

Hourly raffles of orchid plants and orchid-related items will be held.

Orchid growers will enjoy the sales area, where orchids from a wide range of eastern U.S. vendors can be purchased.

The popular “Repotting Table” returns, with growers bringing their own orchids for expert repotting by society members.

Advice is free, and the average price for repotting a 6-inch or smaller pot is $5. Larger or complicated repotting is priced on a case-by-case basis.

“That’s a very good deal. You can watch and learn. One of our vendors sells orchid supplies, the type of bark (orchids) grow in. You don’t plant them in potting soil,” Nathanson says.

Different types of orchids require more frequent repotting.

“If the pots are filled with roots, or the bark is mushy, they definitely need to be repotted,” Nathanson says.

She advises those who purchase orchids at the show to keep their tags. An online search of the flower’s name can give advice on a particular orchid’s care.

Photographers are invited to access the show one hour early on Sunday, from 9-10 a.m.

“You are free to wander around and take pictures for an hour and you are almost by yourself. There are some beautiful plants you are never going to see anywhere else,” Nathanson says.

Admission is free, donations accepted at the door, organizers say.

Free classes

Nathanson is among the organizations members instructing educational sessions, held both days, unless otherwise noted.

“It’s very basic information, very basic how-tos,” she says.

• 11 a.m., “Expanding Your Growing Area: Orchids Under Lights,” Timothy Choltco, Harbinger Orchids and Orchid Society

• Noon, “Slipper Serendipity: Growing Paphiopedilum and Phragmipedium Orchids,” Demetria Marsh, Orchid Society

• 1 p.m., “Orchid Care 101: Ask the Expert,” Nancy Kline, Orchid Society

• 2 p.m., “Cattleya Karma: Beginner’s Guide to Growing Cattleya Orchids, ” Sheila Nathanson, Orchid Society

• 3 p.m., Saturday only, “Orchid Diversity: A Cross Section of the Orchid Family,” Timothy Choltco and Orchid Society.

Mary Pickels is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary at 724-836-5401, [email protected] or via Twitter .

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.