This month we welcomed Michael Radley from the Orchid Society of Great Britain who entertained us with an account of a visit to the Eric Young Orchid Foundation on the island of Jersey. The visit was only planned for a couple of hours but was so interesting it lasted for an afternoon.
The Foundation was set up by Eric Young who had become interested in orchids in his teens. His first collection was lost during World War 11 but a moved to Jersey and successful business career enabled him to build up a superb collection of orchids and to establish the Foundation. Its aim was to breed hybrids of outstanding quality, with an emphasis on Oncidium, Cypripedium, Miltoniopsis and Paphiopedilum. Using selected clones, many with a double chromosome count, ( 4n as opposed to 2n), his team of growers produced outstanding plants with large flowers and increased flower count. Many have received FCC and AM awards from the RHS.
Michael’s images not only showed us the display houses which alone would take time to fully appreciate but also ‘behind the scenes’. These included the seed sowing laboratory and the glasshouses where the seedlings are grown on to flowering size. Only when flowered can the best examples of the hybrid selected. Previously the surplus plants were destroyed but this year some were released for sale at the Malvern Orchid Show.
This month’s table show was a tie between Guarianthe bowringiana and Coelogyne tormentosa both shown by Bryan Adams.