Hello Orchid Growers April 2020
We hope you are all safe and well. The last month in particular has been very trying for us all. Let us hope we continue to see a positive end in sight. May Orchid Growers Group is cancelled due to the continuing Coronavirus restrictions. The nursery continues to be open on this day and by appointment any other days within Coronavirus protocols.
With reduced nursery trade and social distancing requirements we have had some extra time from customers, family and friends. It has been the opportunity to clean up some accumulated mess from past decades. Over the years I have hoarded many old orchid catalogues, pictures and memorabilia. We found a device to be able to transfer old Kodachrome 64 colour transparencies (you younger orchid growers will have to Google what these are!) into digital images.
The Taiwan International Orchid Show and World Orchid Conference that was to be held in March this year is a topic of current interest. In this newsletter we have some images and stories of orchids in Taiwan 30 years to the month ago. I have been fortunate to travel to Taiwan periodically over many decades and observed many developments over this time.
The beginning of the Taiwan International Orchid Shows
The beginning of the large orchid shows in Taiwan started in the late 80’s / early 90’s. In April 1990 the beginning of the large shows was the Taipei Orchid Show held in marquees in the Botanic Gardens. My friend Khong, from Malaysia had been having large commercial dealings in Taiwan for quite a number of years and insisted that I go with him to see the show and other developments. Because of his dealings and contacts, I had unrestricted access to the entire proceedings. Shown are some pictures of this show from setting up, commercial and society displays, class winners and commercial sales area.
Dinner with the Show Chairman and Committee
After the show set up was well underway and under control, later that night we were invited to have dinner with the show chairman and committee. It was at a very plush and formal restaurant and the entertaining drink was Chivas Regal (no other options). We were seated at a large round table with myself at the right of the elderly Chairman, my friend at my right followed by around 10 other committee members and organizers. The first dish appeared and was presented in front of the Chairman. It was a platter of meat strips in a dark marinade and chopsticks were the only utensils on offer. The Chairman slid the platter in front of me and said “Eat, good Taiwan food” – this was the first English any had said to me. All Chinese talk stopped and all eyes were upon me. I whispered to Khong “What is it” and he said “Beef”. I reached for a small piece with my chopsticks and ate it and replied “good” (even though it was the worst beef that I had ever tasted). He indicated that I pass the platter to Khong and he also ate some. The platter continued around the table with conversation returning in Chinese. Later that night in a Chivas Regal haze I said to Khong “Hold on, you are Thai Buddhist and don’t eat beef – what was it!”. He replied – “Dog, but that’s OK”. It is at that point that I threw up dinner and the Chivas Regal!
The beginning of the Phalaenopsis Pot Plant Industry
Taiwan once had a large sugar industry state owned by the Taiwan Sugar Corporation. World production and prices led to its unviability and the state-owned corporation looked to using its facilities and resources with other commodities – one of these was Phalaenopsis orchids. In April 1990 we also visited a sugar research station in Central Taiwan whose glasshouses were converted into Phalaenopsis production. We observed some of the earliest production and flowering of Phalaenopsis by Taisuco. Shown are some pictures of this facility. Look at the Phalaenopsis production in Taiwan today that followed.
Orchid nurseries in Taiwan 30 years ago
In April 1990 there were many orchid nurseries in Taiwan (as is today). They varied greatly in size, promotion and production. I am just showing pictures of a couple to illustrate. Green Orchids produced a fancy colour catalogue which gave the impression of a big and grand operation. In reality, when actually visiting the operation, the catalogue was the most impressive thing. Taida Orchids, on the other hand, is probably one of the grandest orchid nurseries I have ever visited. Many of the nurseries from this time are no longer in existence. One that its probably the most well known here in Australia due to sales stands at many orchid fairs is Ching Hua Orchids. Shown are some pictures of their old nursery in April 1990.
We hope you have enjoyed some of these old pictures and stories. I have had some very memorable experiences in Taiwan. If I have survived Taiwan back then, we all can survive Coronavirus now!
Thank you for your support
Ross & Liz