The evening was given over to a PowerPoint presentation by Chris Barker of the Darlington O.S. entitled ‘Victorian Orchidmania’, courtesy of the British Orchid Council.
He began by showing how orchid growing in Victorian times was the delight of the rich, with the Duke of Devonshire having the world’s largest collection at Chatsworth House, housed in a glasshouse designed by Joseph Paxton who later designed the Crystal Palace. The price of plants was eye-watering with some fetching the equivalent of £2000 in today’s money.
Orchid books were equally expensive and we saw works produced by John Bateman and the 4 volume ‘Reichenbachia’ published by Frederick Sanders at his St Albans nursery.
The famous orchid nurseries of Sanders and of Veitch featured along with the explorers who collected around the world for them We were brought up to date with Mansell & Hatcher’s nursery at Rawdon near Leeds which finally closed in 2009.
A somewhat smaller table show was won by the Vanda hybrid shown by Jean Gregory.