Orchid Show highlights rare plants, local growers

Flower power

By Nicole Reino and Kathy Day

Staff Writers

About 5,000 flower lovers turned out for the San Diego County Orchid Society’s 63rd annual Orchid Show and Plant Sale from March 13 to 15 at the Scottish Rite Center.

The event, themed “Around the World with Orchids,” featured rare orchid displays and free orchid cultivation classes as well as orchid plant sales. The San Diego State University Library Special Collections Department exhibited rare books and periodicals from the Reginald S. Davis Orchid Collection.

Many of the books dated back to the 1800s.

Betty Kelepecz, co-chairwoman of the show, said they had a striking number of amateur growers this year.

“My theory is that it brings great joy and happiness to see flowers,” she said, adding that showing flowers also brings joy to those who grow them.

A panel of experts from the certified American Orchid Society and Cymbidium Society of America judged hobbyist, amateur and commercial growers, many of which live in La Jolla and North County.

Harry and Andy Phillips of Andy’s Orchids - and the Phillips family that owns Adelaide’s in La Jolla - won the top prize for the Most Outstanding Exhibit. Their display featured a wide mixture of species in an eye-catching arrangement.

Harry gave credit to his brother for putting “our dad’s artistic abilities” to good use.

“He arranges live plants like Dad arranged cut flowers,” he said.

Pam Peters of Carmel Valley, who co-chaired the event, won several ribbons.

The orchids remained on display throughout the weekend for the public’s viewing.

The San Diego County Orchid Society promotes interest in orchids and their cultivation and supports the conservation of orchids in the wild. For more information about the organization, visit