STOCKTON - Nina Simangan looks over each of her orchids.
They all have names – Mighty Sunset Jerry, Honey Tangerine, Cascadine. – and they all have traits that took time, patience and energy to highlight in preparation for the 59th annual San Joaquin Orchid Society Show and Sale at the Weberstown Mall.
Any greenthumb will tell you it’s the process that brings the pleasure, but walking away Sunday afternoon with a ribbon from the American Orchid Society declaring that her entries are among the best in the area is something that Simangan definitely wouldn’t turn down.
Neither would anybody else in the organization that strives to preserve the art of orchid tending.
With more than 100,000 plants in the species, including famous varieties like vanilla and the commonly grown Cattleya, there is virtually an endless variety for those that have made the flowering plants their passion.
Just ask society president Patti Reece – who after killing the first orchid given to her as a gift has grown a collection that spans several hundred plants in a massive greenhouse at her East Stockton home.
Each one, she says, takes tender, loving care, and just bringing out the blooms can be an achievement in its own right.
The show, she says, is a chance for enthusiasts to put their work on display and get a rating from the AOS on the plants that they’re most proud of – whether it’s something with a magnificent bloom that sprouts easily or something difficult that flowers only with the tenderest touch.
“I’m probably going to show close to 100 or so this year,” said Reece, who took two years off from her role as the president of the organization before returning earlier this year. “It’s exciting to win something by an accredited judge after the work that you put in. It’s a chance to show your collection.”
And make no mistake – the show is full of some of the most accomplished and seasoned orchid growers in San Joaquin County.
A former French Camp resident that has since migrated to Hawaii now supplies the organization with the plants that are sold every year to help raise money for the group, and people like Reece have entire greenhouses full and regimented schedules to check, water and nurture each and every one.
But that doesn’t mean that the novice can’t learn a thing or two about the hobby from those who have been at it for years.
“It’s a show for the experienced growers that want to show their plants but also for people who are curious,” Reece said. “It’s something that anybody can pick up. Getting a plant to bloom is addictive.
“But this is also a chance to get your name down in the history books of the American Orchid Society – which goes all over the world. It makes you feel like you accomplished something for all of the work that you put in.”
The 59th annual San Joaquin Orchid Society Show and Sale continues today at the Weberstown Mall from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The displays are set up just outside of the food court on the mall’s southern edge. To get there take I-5 north to the March Lane exist and turn right. Follow it down to Pacific Avenue and turn left. The mall will be on your right.
209 staff reporter