Tonight I attended the Christmas Party of the Illawarra Branch of the Australasian Native Orchid Society (ANOS). And a very pleasant function it was, indeed. It was good to catch up with Alan Stephenson, Graeme Bradburn and Barry Bush, and Chris - all of whom I have had the pleasure of meeting on outings, previously.
I had not attended any of their formal meetings, but I had gone on several field trips with their group.
We all hoped for winning raffle tickets. In my case I won a parcel which feels and weighs like a Christmas Cake. I shall hold on to it till the appropriate day.
We then had the "Lucky door prizes" - every member gets a ticket, and in due course, when our numbers were called, we were presented with an Orchid seedling. Mine is a small Dendrobium - presumably some form of D. kingianum hybrid. There is a name written on it, but I cannot recall it, at present (Well, part of the name is "salt and pepper" - which is suitable for a Schnauzer person).
After these rituals were over, we joined in a very convivial dinner.
I met Leo Cady for the first time. Leo is a living legend in the world of Orchids. We spoke about the difficulties I have in identifying some of the small Caladenias, and he dived into his bag and brought out two folders of his drawings - lovely botanical illustrations which he has drawn, from dissected specimens. He described minute differences of flower structures - the shape of the labellum, calli, etc. Then he very kindly offered to help identify any plants I am unsure about, from photographs. He is a lovely gentle guy, very keen to help a relative novice. I am sure I shall take up his offer, and will print up some photos to postcard size, for future identification.
I also met the Editor of "The Orchadian", Peter Eygelshoven, and several other members of the ANOS executive. It was good to meet these people.