Another Chelsea over

The visitors have been and gone, the medals awarded and the display dismantled. Such is the ephemeral nature of the Chelsea Flower Show but part of what makes it so magical.

Two members' plants received Certificates of Cultural Commendation from the RHS Orchid Committee. Michael McIllmurray's Maxillaria shepheardii 'Chelsea' boasted around 300 flowers and David Martin's Cymbidium Sweet Devon 'Sweet' carried eighteen pendent spikes.

Michael McIllmurray's Maxillaria shepheardii 'Chelsea' CCC/RHS

David Martin's Cymbidium Sweet Devon 'Sweet' CCC/RHS

The OSGB enjoyed a successful show and is delighted to welcome all those new members who joined during the week and hopes to see them at the Introductory Seminar on 4th August (contact Sam Hurley to book your place, tel: 07900 250247 or e-mail:

Many thanks to all the members who kindly lent their plants for the display and to everyone involved in collecting plants, building and dismantling the display, manning the stand and organising things behind the scenes.

Silver-Gilt medal for the OSGB

The OSGB display received a Silver-Gilt medal from the RHS early on Tuesday morning. The exhibit scored top marks for the scale of endeavour and the quality and variety of the plants on display. Congratulations to Henry Oakeley and the entire team who were responsible for its creation.

To see Her Majesty The Queen's visit to the OSGB display, visit BBC iPlayer and view from 53 minutes into Episode 4.

HM The Queen visits the OSGB exhibit

Dr Henry Oakeley, President of the OSGB, welcomed HM The Queen to the Society's display this afternoon at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

He presented Dr Chris Nonis, High Commissioner for Sri Lanka; Valerie Pugh, OSGB Displays Manager; and Liz Johnson of McBean's Orchids to Her Majesty and discussed the Society's exhibit.

On behalf of the Society and the Sri Lankan High Commission, a posy and plant of Oncidium alexandrae 'Diamond Jubilee', grown by McBean's Orchids, were presented to Her Majesty. 

Other visitors to the exhibit today included HRH Princess Alexandra and Angela Ripon.

Ready for Chelsea

The Society's display is completed and ready for a visit by HM The Queen during the show's preview on Monday.

Most of the plants on display have been grown and lent by members of the Society and once again, members have volunteered their time and expertise to create a vibrant and joyful showcase for the orchids.

Orchids from around the world are featured in colourful groupings, designed to complement each other and the overall display. On display are plants such as a one and a half metre tall Phragmipedium Les Dirouilles; the ever-popular scarlet Masdevallia veitchiana; Maxillaria shepheardii with around 300 flowers; Anguloa uniflora in a pot the size of a dustbin and of course, striking Phalaenopsis hybrids - instantly recognisable to all and a splendid way to begin a love affair with the orchid family..

Orchid exhibit fit for The Queen

The Orchid Society of Great Britain exhibit sponsored by Sri Lanka Tourism is now under construction and is topped by a regal coronet of orchids to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. The Mura Gala (temple guard stones) have already been incorporated into the design, ready for Her Majesty the Queen’s visit on Monday.
The central feature of the exhibit is flanked by a pair of Mura Gala, replicas of the 2,400 year old guard stones from the Ruwanweli Seya Stupa of Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka, symbols of prosperity and protection. They are surrounded by orchids, as is appropriate for a country where modern eco-tourism goes hand in hand with exploring its ancient past.

HM The Queen to visit OSGB Chelsea exhibit

A historic orchid is to be presented to Her Majesty The Queen at Chelsea Flower Show by His Excellency Dr Chris Nonis, High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to the United Kingdom.

Oncidium alexandrae ‘Diamond Jubilee’ will be presented to the Queen at the Orchid Society of Great Britain exhibit at Chelsea Flower Show on May 21.

Oncidium alexandrae – originally known as Odontoglossum crispum var. alexandrae and Odontoglossum alexandrae - was discovered in the 1860s by Karl Hartweg from the Royal Horticultural Society and the Belgian orchid grower, Jean Linden, exploring together in the cloud forests of Colombia.

It was named in 1864 in honour of HM Queen Alexandra, great-grandmother to HM Queen Elizabeth II, on the occasion of her wedding to King Edward VII the previous year. It was used (using the name Odontoglossum crispum) in the Golden Jubilee procession of Queen Victoria of 1887 and it is thought it was also used at her Diamond Jubilee of 1897.

Flowers of Oncidium alexandrae were in HM The Queen’s wedding bouquet, supplied by McBean’s Orchids who have continued 150 years of selective breeding started by the orchid nursery of Charlesworth & Co. to produce this cultivar, ‘Diamond Jubilee’.

Varieties of Oncidium alexandrae (under its previous name of Odontoglossum crispum) have been the most sought after of all orchids. Baron Schroeder paid 1,150 guineas (£1,207.50) for a plant at the Protheroe and Morris auction in London in 1906, and a Mr Pitt paid £1,500. The tradition of excellence continues - McBean’s exhibited Oncidium alexandrae at the World Orchid Conference in Singapore in 2011 where it was judged as the Best Orchid in the World in its class, and received the World Orchid Conference Gold Medal. The plant to be presented to Her Majesty is a magnificent cultivar of this historic species.

His Excellency, Dr Chris Nonis, the High Commissioner for Sri Lanka has recently been named ‘Diplomat of the Year’ for Asia at the Annual Diplomat Awards Ceremony in London.

Klaas Schoone Memorial Award

Nominate your favourite for the first Klaas Schoone Memorial Award.

The Schoone family, Floricultura and the Advisory Board invite the international orchid sector to nominate persons, new varieties, marketing concepts, business strategies and innovations in crop technology for the Klaas Schoone Memorial Award 2013. This distinguished award, which will be presented for the first time next year, is a posthumous tribute to Klaas Schoone, an extraordinary orchid grower who was a highly respected pioneer in the commercial assortment of orchids, their cultivation and crop technology during his short life. 

The biennial KSM Award will accept applications from everyone and for everything involved in the orchid sector. The Award is international in scope and consists of a certificate and cash prize of €10,000. It is intended for plant breeders, propagators, growers, new varieties, and for a group of people who have developed a business plan or marketing strategy as well as researchers who are doing pioneering work in such fields as the use of fertilisers and sustainable cultivation.
Candidates can apply until 29 September 2012 via the VKC’s (Permanent Judging Committee) website where it is possible to download application forms in both Dutch and English.