By RYOKO OHNISHI
The only orchid hobbyist group founded by Japanese Americans in the South Bay area, Gardena Cymbidium Club (GCC) held their 23rd annual Cymbidium Orchid Show at the Nakaoka Memorial Community Center last weekend. During the Chinese New Year celebration, approximately 500 people enjoyed viewing the Cymbidium, Cattleyas and various orchids. Potting demonstrations were also held by the members in both English and Japanese during the show, and more than 50 people learned the basic care for the orchids.
The show is annually held in cooperation with the City of Gardena’s Recreation Division. The community appreciates not only the free admissions and displays but also the sale of the plants for the public. Over 300 hybridized Cymbidium plants, grown primarily by club members, were on exhibit.
An international graded association of the Cymbidium Society of America’s Silver prize was awarded to Kay Okamoto. Okamoto grew the 8-year-old Cymbidium from a seed. “I pollinated two different types of Cymbidium and got this hybrid of my own. We do not know how the flower looks until it blooms. It is a bet and as if a dream. I am very happy to receive the award since every year, the bar is getting higher.” Okamoto also received three other GCC awards.
The recipient of the GCC Grand Champion of Show Michiai Kawano Award, Jose Avila said, “Kawano sensei taught me how to make the bulb strong. He was a great teacher.” A Kagoshima native, Kawano passed away in May 2008.
The GCC was originally formed in 1985 by a group of Cymbidium enthusiasts including Sam Kajikawa and the late Michiaki Kawano to perpetuate the cultivation and presentation of Cymbidium orchids. The Club meets on the third Tuesday of each month at the Nakaoka Center from 7 to 9 p.m. Meetings consist of lectures on the care of plants (in Japanese and English), plant raffles, and orchid exhibits. The annual membership fee is $8.00 and members receive various benefits. For more information about club activities, contact James Umemoto at (310) 326-3730.
GCC’s open class winners were: Grand Champion of Show Michiaki Kawano Award, Jose Avila; Best Standard Cymbidium Sam Kajikawa Award, Kay Okamoto; Best miniature/Novelty Cymbidium, Ken Fukuhara; Best Pendulous Cymbidium, Edith Murata; Best 1st Bloom from Seedling, Kay Okamoto; Best Cultural Cymbidium, Don Onishi.
The orchid show in the South Bay will be March 6-7 at Torrance Cultural Arts Center (Admission $5.00) organized by South Bay Orchid Society.