Aggregate Freaks: The Orchid Show*

The 2010 Chicago Suburban Orchid Show was amazing to behold. Here's a slew of photographs. Click on the red links to see attributions.

This sexy-ass orchid is named Vuyl Melissa Brianne 'Shady Lady' (HCC/AOS) (Illowa Orchid Society). I'd take this orchid home in a heartbeat... and I don't care if she is a shady lady. She's damn fine.

If you would rate yourself as 10/10 on a scale of "I'm the kind of person who loves plethoras," you may enjoy this Tolumnia variegata (Wisconsin Orchid Society).

If you intend to use your orchid to communicate with Mars (Chuck Ingram - Paphiopedilum Esquirolei).

My personal favorite orchid: Paph. micranthum 'Pink Cloud'

A big prizewinner... the kind of tropical-looking orchid that will help you Forget Sarah Marshall. (Calanthe Granville 'Cranberry' x Calanthe St. Iberria)

Maybe you're more of a Mini-Orchid person...

This paphiopedilum is a throwback to a style that has been out of vogue for many years. Nowadays, double-blooming paphs are the rage, and the blossoms are mainly quite petite. But this may be about to change! According to the pros at the Batavia Orchid Society, orchid growers in Britain are bringing back the giant Paphiopedilum trend. I, for one, think the results are phenomenal. (Chuck Ingram again)

This show was hosted by the Batavia Orchid Society. For a full list of exhibitors, please visit their website.

*Of course by "freaks" I mean the plants (these orchids are all crazy-ass mutants) but lord knows that orchid people are a strange and wonderful clan too. As for the aggregate, this also has a double meaning. First, the attendees were diverse; second, clay granular has hit orchid gardening in a big way. Clay granular (or aggregate) is a growing medium made of balls of expanded neutral clay. The benefits of using clay granular include its porosity, longevity, drainage capabilities, and more. Orchid growers seem to be using aggregate more and more as an addition to their soil mixes; some people grow in pure aggregate. Of course, this is not a new practice; growing plants in only aggregate materials is known as hydroculture. It's a type of hydroponic gardening that is excellent for growing houseplants. If you're thinking of trying your hand at houseplant hydroculture, definitely visit the website Water Roots. And good luck!


  1. That 'Shady Lady' looks fantastic, and I'm not sure I've seen a Tolumnia I haven't liked. Not sure how I feel about the larger rounder Paphs but I don't think I like them very much.

  2. I think I love the bigger paphs, even if they are weird! Someone at the show told me that the big round ones like that are known as "bullfrogs." They are a little fat and froggy, aren't they?

  3. Amazing pics. Is there a way I could share your pictures in my blog? Thanks