Sweeps of yellow and orange Clivia miniata, exotic blue Himalayan poppies, and hundreds of orchids, creating an Orchid Extravaganza, were tucked safely into Longwood’s five acres of conservatories. The Clivia Show was nestled into this refuge for horticulture.
A total of 74 plants were entered into the show, which was staged in the Exhibition Hall, around the Fern Floor and in front of the Music Room. A living orchid curtain and stately Australian tree ferns acted as a back drop. The show included categories for blooming plants, foliage plants, cut umbels, and cut florets. The entries fell into seventeen different classes within seven divisions of these categories. Ribbons were awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places within each class, as well as for best in division and honorable mentions. The best in show was won by Mike Riska for his Clivia ‘Nancy Marie’.
Visitors came from as far south as Florida and as far north as Massachusetts, with Tom Wells and John Ingram attending all the way from California. Numerous local enthusiasts braved the elements too. Many people were inspired to attend by a feature article on Clivia and Mike Riska, written by Moira Sheredin that appeared in the The News Journal. Approximately 100 people attended the lectures, which were introduced by Longwood’s director, Paul Redman, and the NACA President Tom Wells. I spoke on the work Longwood is performing with Clivia including breeding, tissue culture, and germination experiments. Mike Riska spoke on the joys of growing Clivia on the east coast. The lectures were well received and generated a long question and answer session at the conclusion of Mike’s talk. After the lecture segment, guests were invited to attend a tour of Longwood’s production and research areas. During this tour they had the rare opportunity to see Longwood’s breeding Clivias at peak bloom, with the greenhouse a riot of color and texture. This year’s Clivia Show was the warm up for the international Clivia event, which will be held at Longwood in 2011. With so much enthusiasm at this year’s event, the 2011 international event is sure to be a great success. Details about the 2011 event will be posted on both Longwood Gardens' website as well as the North American Clivia Society’s website, as the event draws nearer.