If your January is feeling a bit gray, you can find some tropical splendor this weekend at the Gulf Coast Orchid Society Show and Sale.
The show will be at the Gautier Convention Center, 2012 Library Lane, Friday through Sunday. Hours are noon to 6 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Children’s activities will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday, and a free basic orchid culture class will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday.
Admission is free, but several growers will be offering plants for sale. Growers create vignettes to display their flowers to best advantage. The show is an opportunity to show off their blooms to the flower lovers as well as be judged. Judges look for uniformity and floral perfection.
In addition to admiring these beautiful blossoms, spectators can talk with growers to learn more about orchids and the Gulf Coast Orchid Society.
That’s how Cynthia Oetker of Gulfport became an avid orchid grower.
“I moved to the Coast in 2008, and I started after I attended my first Gulf Coast Orchid Society show,” she said. “I saw how beautiful they are and everyone was telling me how easy they are to grow.”
She now has about 500 orchid plants, many of which were “gifts from fellow members. That’s what’s so great about the group. Everybody shares. I have a small greenhouse, but the great thing is, you can choose a variety that you can grow on a windowsill or patio. There are so many choices.”
Gulf Coast Orchid Society members are as young as 13, and several members are men.