City College's hall is turning tropical this weekend for the Wanganui Orchid Society show.

Growers from as far afield as New Plymouth and Feilding will be showing off their green-fingered handiwork at the society's annual show, and several commercial growers will be there selling plants, pots and fertiliser.

Wanganui Orchid Society president Kath Bourne said the orchids at the show would be judged in 12 categories and then an overall champion of the show would be announced.

She said the event often drew out new members for the society, which met once a month.


Mrs Bourne has been growing orchids for at least 20 years: "I've always admired them."

She said this year's fluctuating weather had been hard on flowering plants, but that would not detract from the show.

She said Cymbidium orchids were a good plant for novice growers, because they were able to withstand cold temperatures and could be grown outside, whereas other orchids needed to be grown in hothouses.

Among the orchid enthusiasts at this year's show will be Rosalind and Phil Thomsen of Whanganui, both members of the orchid society.

The couple grow their orchids indoors and in a greenhouse in their garden - and they will soon be expanding once they finish building their second greenhouse.

Mr Thomsen said it takes a while to prepare orchids for a show as they have to be trained to grow on their stakes.

Mrs Thomsen became interested in orchids after living in the tropics.

"I lived in Singapore and in Papua New Guinea, both of which have amazing orchids - Singapore is a real hotbed for orchids."

Both agree orchid-growing can be addictive.

"They're a little bit edgy, and some of them can be quite bizarre. Orchids never go out of fashion," Mr Thomsen said.

They said the annual show was always a fun, social occasion.

"It's nice to get together with people who have similar interests," Mr Thomsen said.

The show is on between 10am and 4pm on Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $2.