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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, March 13, 2010

Find flowers, food and fun at Kunia Orchid Show


By Heidi Bornhorst
Special to The Advertiser

56TH ANNUAL KUNIA ORCHID SHOW

Leilehua High School gymnasium

9 a.m.-5 p.m. March 19-20 and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. March 21

623-8586

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When we moved up to Wahiawā in 1991, we became friends with Dede Reiplinger Sutherland and her husband, James Sutherland. Dede invited us to go to a fabulous and funky orchid show in Kunia.

"We love the orchids but we go for the food," exclaimed Dede. "Come and we'll do lunch; buy dinner for later and maybe a few orchids will follow us home, too."

Like a good new neighbor I accepted her invitation and still continue to try to go every year.

There are lots of orchid shows, all fabulous, but Kunia is one of the oldest and most diverse and fun.

For a while it looked like the show would not go on. They could no longer use the Kunia buildings. But like orchids, which can appear almost dead and then send up a gorgeous blossom, these folks are resilient and resourceful. They moved the orchid show up to Wahiawā and hold it at Leilehua High School. These orchids help support our public school.

Amy Teves, a longtime Wahiawā Botanical Garden volunteer and plant expert, contacted me to let me know that:

• Five orchid societies will set up orchid displays.

• A special addition to the show is a 64-square-foot miniature Japanese village designed by Kunia Orchid Society's own Albert Nishigaya and his wife Janet.

• Other new exhibits include a bonsai display by the Rainbow Bonsai Club, and a desert rose by "Desert Rose Queen" Perla Alvarez, also a member of the Kunia Orchid Society.

• Plant doctor Edwin Oka, who judges orchid shows, will be on hand to answer horticultural questions. He can also offer orchid history, like the tidbit my "Wahiawā Aunty" Grace Dixon learned from him: In the olden days, teak logs from the Philippines were packed with soil and orchid plants, and after the lunas saw these plants in the immigrant field workers' gardens, they started to grow orchids.

• There will be more than 20 vendors selling orchids, especially the fragrant old-fashioned honohono that are in season, as well as bonsai, desert rose, cactus and succulents. You can also buy just about everything you would need to take care of your orchids from pots to fertilizer.

• The Kunia Store will be selling orchid supplies, homemade baked goods and jams, fruit and seedlings.

• Pacific Agriculture representatives will be there with expert tool advice, fertilizer and other chemicals for purchase. They are big supporters of local farmers and nursery growers.

Support Leilehua High School clubs and athletic programs by stopping by their booths outside the gym to buy food, including 'ono rotisserie chicken.

Other goodies and fresh produce will be available, too.

The Kunia Orchid Society started when a few Del Monte workers got together at the old Kunia gym to share their love of anthuriums. The group evolved into an orchid club.

At the society's lowest point, it had 15 core members. The club has more than 100 members now and meets at Mililani District Park at 7 p.m. on the first Tuesday of the month.