At the Dresden Orchid Show we were inside most of the time: putting in the exhibit, two evenings judging and one night till eleven, ("Champagne and Orchids") which was OK by me. There was a sharp March wind blowing outside and rushing off from 80 degrees Miami, I'd forgotten my coat.
But the welcome was so warm, the top DOGs, (Dresden Orchid Guild folk) beaming with delight and thanking us, we had actually come, the first Americans! Though it was not just the American-ness they loved but, in Dr. Motes' inimitable phrase: "New directions in Vanda breeding".
And sure enough, there was always intense interest in our exhibit. No exaggeration. I kept trotting off to check. We won three silver medals, three bronze and sold out of all our plants,
our new miniature vandas. I will take some credit, as my marketing ploy was to write on the side of a Motes Tote, "Vandas for your window sill!" I got the German for windowsill from kind passersby. Apparently we could have paid for a translator, but as in most places, most people spoke English and for those who didn't my schoolgirl German was surprisingly suitable. We always seem to be hammering away at home with short simple rules for our vandas: "light!" "water!" "air!" "dry!" "Make firm in pot!" Which sounds impressively determined in German.
We also had fun with our Spanish moss which was a great hit. No, I didn't know the word for moss either and no one else seemed to but for those who couldn't tear themselves away we would give a handful, saying "A present from America!" Which I liked doing as I was proud I could remember the German word for Present. Note: Karina, our resident linguist, has just informed me that it really was good I knew the word for present and didn't sling the word "gift" into the conversation. Gift in German means poison.
The Dresden Orchid Show is the biggest in Europe. "Look at the map!" we were told. Indeed, Dresden, East Germany, not so far from Paris and the rest but with the Cold War melted, is host to all that pent up energy from the east. There was a big shiny coach from The Czech Republic humming away outside the hall that first morning and our miniatures were going off with Hungarians and Poles. Russians were there the first day but we didn't notice. Well off Russians hunting for flowers after a long winter were not a natural fit, though we could certainly argue for one of our sturdy miniatures on a Russian window sill.
If arguments were necessary, we had such a wonderful number of young Germans and maybe other nationalities, keeping us company, because it didn't matter where anyone came from, they were ecstatic we were there and were ecstatic about our vandas and with the internet world breaking down any remaining borders, just seemed immediately Motes vanda family, knowing all about us, or at least as much as Bart and Karina would permit. So let's hear it for Zane, Sandra, Caroline, Katya, Heinki and the rest, and not forgetting Marae and her mum.