February 6, 2014
SUBJECT: COLLEGE OF THE OZARKS ORCHIDS RECEIVE TOP HONORS
By Jerry McDonald
During the winter months when the mercury drops, College of the Ozarks greenhouses are the host to a “hot” indoor plant, the orchid. Students at Hard Work U care for the renowned McDade Orchid collection and take some of its prized orchids to competitions each year. The orchids taken this year received the highest designation given by the American Orchid Society (AOS) at the Orchid Society of Greater St. Louis’ Annual Show on February 1, held at the Missouri Botanical Garden.
Plants were recognized as superior quality and given national AOS awards in the categories of American Orchid Society Show Trophy, Top Exhibit of Plants and Best in Class Misc. Genera.
Greenhouse Supervisor Nathan Bell submitted 30 plants in 15 categories this year. "The great diversity of size, color and shape within orchids are just a few of the many reasons why it is a privilege to grow them,” said Bell. “Exhibiting our collection allows others to enjoy their beauty and to learn more about the College's mission."
Ribbon judging is based on a comparison of orchids present for the show, and the AOS judging utilizes nationwide comparison. “There are several items that judges look for when evaluating plants: form, color, number of flowers present, position flowers are arranged on the stem, petal firmness and overall presentation,” explained Bell.
C of O will participate in the upcoming Greater Kansas City Orchid Show, Fayetteville Orchid Show, Arkansas Botanical Gardens Show, Springfield Orchid Society Annual Orchid Show and Memphis Orchid Society Annual Show. The annual orchid shows entice people to venture out in the cold of winter and to enjoy the floral beauty in a warm setting.
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Picture caption: College of the Ozarks Sophomore Eleesa Gaeddert and Greenhouse Supervisor Nathan Bell tenderly care for the school’s prized orchids.