Dresdner Ostern 2018

Dresdner Ostern 2018

by Francis Quesada-Pallarés

The Dresden Ostern show is held in March each year, and encompasses a bit more than just orchids, but these are an essential backbone to the show. It is now classed as the best orchid show in Europe.

Dresden is the capital of Saxony in the former East Germany, and lies about halfway between Berlin and Prague. The architecture is generally baroque, and obviously very old. Sadly this fairly industrial city was heavily bomber during WW2. Most of the restoration work has taken place since the reunification, and continues these days helped along by tourism and the many events that take place in the area. It is a clean area, and the river Elbe is suitable to swim in.

One of the notable baroque buildings is the Frauenkirche (church of Our Lady). This was started in 1726 and badly damaged in WW2. It was reconstructed in 2005. Half of the masonry is still original using rubble from the original.

One of the most notable sights is at the rear of the Royal Palace is a huge mural made up of 25,000 Meissen porcelain tiles. This 102m long mural (9.5m high) is known as the procession of Princes, and depicts 35 rulers of the House of Wettin since 1127 with Dukes, Kings, Princes & other Noblemen.

As well as an old industrial city Dresden is a centre of culture, and none represent this more than the famous old opera house – the Semperoper. Originally built in 1841 it was badly damaged in WW2, and then rebuilt in 1978. The Zwinger Palace is the last building shown, although there are many other notable ones. This Palace is now a world important museum with 2 important collections. These are ‘the old master’s collection’ and the Meissen porcelain collection.

Onto the show which is held in 2 huge halls. One is all orchids, and the other is shared with all sorts of things such as food, and as diverse as Alpacas. Although the halls are huge the lighting is fairly poor, and this makes photography fairly difficult without going to a great deal of trouble. The show is organised by the DOG.

A lot of Lycastes were on show, both species and hybrids and on sale from Popow at reasonable prices. Karge had huge Vandas arranged around a TukTuk. This was supplemented by a long wardian case with cold growing species. The displays varied from minimalist to overcrowded, and are probably best summarised with a list of the best plants seen.

Den. cuthbertsonii was shown with a full range of colours. Phal wilsonii is a small flowered plant that is rare, and cool growing, and notably easy to kill. C. intermedia, tall, elegant with white flowers and a purple tip. Another intermedia, this time var suavewas a pink tinged cream with a purple lip. Epidendrum medusae is very interesting as it is quite a squat plant with large purple flowers that are very frilly.

Various Pleione hybrids are in flower at this time of year, and it is good to see them all together. Cyp. formosanum ‘Big Leaf’ was a huge plant. Cat. Coccinea is small but intensely coloured. Lepanthes caprimulgus is a tiny twig orchid with a cup shaped flower. Masd. ignea is a common tall species within the genus and has brightly coloured flowers.

Lepanthes quadricornis is another twig orchid with a deep purple flower in a horseshoe shape. Erycina pusilla is a miniature yellow Oncidium about the size of moss. Phal lobbii is a small flowered species that can grow by division as well as keikis. This can result in a large plant of various parts and a mass of flowers. Maxillaria pumila ‘Felix’ is a smallish pin cushion type of species, and had more than 100 discreet maroon flowers.

In the slippers Paph micranthum and vietnamense were both very good. Paph. bellatulum has good shape and spots. A large tray of delanatii was shown with all of the varieties including f. alba and f. vinicolor. Sideria japonica is quite a rare plant, and is a large growing species with small pale flowers. Coel. pandurata is another large plant with long spikes og green and black flowers. Coel. pulchella is a smaller species with white flowers with a purple blotch on the lip. Bulb. longissimum can form large and tight clusters with many umbels of starry flowers 5-6” long. Bulb. phalaenopsis is a huge plant with 2 spikes of red and yellow flowers. The drooping leaves make it hard to stage, and this was badly presented.

on his second day of the visit a trip was made to the Botanical gardens which are still being restored, although the orchid house is complete. This is still being repopulated, but had a few things in flower such as the lovely pale pink Bifrenaria tyrianthina.

Several members of SDOS went to the EOC in Dresden almost 10 years ago now, and this was a lovely pictorial reminder of the city and its surrounds. I too found pictures hard to take at that event. it seems that this show is now becoming a good one to visit as part of a shortish weekend break. Whether we will be able to travel there and bring plants back in future years is still to be determined.

I have found a shortish video of the 2018 show on YouTube for anyone wanting to see more, and this is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCFL20K_c6g

The next show will be 28-31st March 2019. Thank you Francis.