Orchid Bliss at the 76th Santa Barbara International Orchid Show

Walking through the Santa Barbara Orchid Show (Photo: Bonnie Carroll)

Now Through Sunday at Earl Warren Showgrounds

The Vendor Hall at Earl Warren Showgrounds is exploding with the color, style and grace of beautiful orchid creations representing the work of professional and student designers on display as far as the eye can see at the Orchids – Floral Gems of Nature 76th Santa Barbara International Orchid Show running from March 8-10, 9 to 5 p.m.

Everywhere you look are unique and exotic displays representing a bevy of exquisite orchid creations competing for grand prizes and recognition. Displays are judged by size, artistry and flower quality with categories for commercial nurseries, foreign growers, orchid societies, amateur growers, and educational displays; the best being awarded trophies in recognition of their efforts.

Cynthia Woo & Hetty Shurtleff – Las Floralias SB Floral Design Club (Photo by Bonnie Carroll)

28,000 species of the orchid family can be found among these competitors with the American Orchid Society judges evaluating flower quality, presenting certificates to superior flowers. Awards include the first-Class Certificate, the Award of Merit, and the Highly Commended Certificate. The American Orchid Society facilitates judging at shows all over the country and the horticultural award system is internationally renowned and respected.

Orchid gems grown along the California trail include Cal-Orchid, Inc., Santa Barbara Orchid Estate, Gallup & Stribling Orchis, Westerlay Orchids, Ambriz Kingdom of Plants, and Orchids Royale. Participating orchid societies for 2024 include Asian Cymbidium Society of America, Conejo Orchid Society, Malibu Orchid Society, Orchid Society of Santa Barbara, San Fernando Valley Orchid Society, Ventura County Orchid Society and Vietnamese Orchid Society. Experts are providing lessons and demonstrations in Master Gardening, Kokedama techniques, methods for proper potting and repotting of orchids and more.

Cynthia Woo Orchid Presentation (Photo: Bonnie Carroll)

I enjoyed speaking with Hetty Shurtleff, a long-time floral designer and teacher at Las Floralias, a Santa Barbara Floral Design Club, along with one of her competing students Cynthia Woo. Shurtless has a true passion for unique floral design and her work on display is a testament to this, which include some stunning contemporary orchid designs created especially for the 76th Sata Barbara orchid show competition.

Don’t miss a stop at the Westerlay Orchids photo field of flowers to commemorate your visit to this year’s show and enjoy talking with the competing designers to learn their artistic secrets, of which there are so many.  Orchids are for sale to visitors and if you are hungry food and beverages are available at the Root Kitchen Catering.

Photo by Bonnie Caroll

For demonstration times, directions and additional information visit: www.sborchidshow.com.

Bonnie Carroll

Written by Bonnie Carroll

Writer, publisher, editor over 30 years, Bonnie Carroll is the present Publisher, Editor-in-Chief of Bonnie Carroll's Life Bites News founded 2005. She is also a contributor to a bevy of magazine and newspapers California and international since 1983.

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