About Us


The Maroochydore Orchid Society is a small, friendly group of enthusiastic orchid growers who have a wide range of knowledge about the culture and requirements of orchids, especially in the Sunshine Coast area. The experienced members are happy to share their knowledge and offer advice to all new members of the society.

At the meetings there is usually a guest speaker to speak on relevant topics relating to orchids. The members, who bring along plants in flower, share a supper and take part in a popular vote. The judges then give a commentary on the plants which have been displayed.

During the year, bus trips are organized to other orchid shows around South-East Queensland. Sometimes, members open their bush houses so that new members can visit to see the conditions under which experienced growers grow their orchids.

The society holds several shows each year where the member’s orchids are on display for the enjoyment of the public

  1. There is usually a one-day show in March to display the late summer flowering orchids. 
  2. The Mother’s Day show is held just before Mother’s Day in May. 
  3. The annual show at the beginning of August is the highlight of the orchid growing year. At this show there are potting demonstrations, plant sales and sales of all orchid growing supplies. The 8 other orchid societies in the Sunshine Coast area are invited to show their plants as well. As well as competing for prizes, it is a social get together where many lasting friendships have been made.

Our society would like as many people to attend and appreciate our local orchid growers show there pride and joy.  Potting demonstrations are being held during our one day show also you are able to purchase refreshments with lovely home made goodies.  We do have plant sales during the show which hours are from 8.30am to 4.30pm including a raffle of three prizes consisting of one of our members orchid.We are having a one day show on 19th March 2016 being held at the Bli Bli, Uniting Church Hall, Lefros Road, Bli Bli.  Anyone requiring information regarding the one day show please contact Kathy Howatson on 07 54484450.


The members of the Maroochydore Orchid Society are an enthusiastic group of people who are proud of their orchids. Many members take on the challenge of growing rare orchids from all around the world that are seldom seen in shows. These orchids include many species, primary hybrids and hybrids

The members attend a monthly cultural meeting where the general business of the society is discussed, shows are organised and orchid growing information is given out to new members. At these meetings, an orchid judge will discuss the various flowering orchid plants that have been brought along and put on display. Also, during the year, guest speakers are invited to the meetings to speak on various orchid topics. A supper is shared by all members and this gives everyone time to discuss the plants that have been brought along, share orchid information and news.

During the year, the members exhibit their orchids to the public at shows. This is done in 2 ways.

Firstly, the Maroochydore Orchid Society Inc. has their own shows where it is only the members who display their orchids. These shows are the one-day show on a Saturday in March and the Mother’s Day show in May, which is usually the Thursday and Friday before Mother’s Day. At these shows members sell plants, demonstrate how to repot orchids, have raffles and give advice to those who are keen to know more

Secondly, the Maroochydore Orchid Society Inc. participates in shows organised by other societies in the Sub Tropical Orchid Council of Queensland local area. These societies are Bribie Island, Pumicestone, Caboolture, Glasshouse, Sunshine Coast (Caloundra), Nambour, Noosa, Gympie, Childers, Hervey Bay and Bundaberg. These shows require members to set up the orchids and the judge’s to judge all the orchids the night before the show opens to the public. At some of the shows, the members put up a display where the orchids are presented with foliage to enhance their beauty.

At other shows the plants are benched which means they are put onto a table in categories according to their genera.

The Maroochydore Orchid Society Inc. has its Annual show at the beginning of August. It is usually held on a Friday and a Saturday. The other societies are invited to bench their orchids.

As one can see from the above information, our members travel many kilometres to show off their pride and joy. In the Maroochydore Orchid Society, we also have orchid judges who travel some kilometres to help in judging at the mentioned Society’s Annual Shows.

Getting Ready for Shows

Before we show any of our plants to the general public, there is quite a workload that goes on behind the scenes. Firstly, the cleaning of dirty pots, wiping off stains on leaves, make sure plants look in top condition, no dry sheaths or bulbs with discoloration or dirty marks, no plants loose in pots, no chewed or black marks on flowers and no pests. All this work is so that the plant is presented in best possible condition. If any of the above on shown plants is put on show bench very unlikely to receive a ribbon of any colour.

When we have our one-day, Mothers’ Day and Annual show the majority of our member put in their best flowering plants for the public to see and they enjoy putting in the effort to present their plants in the best possible light.

Plant Sales and Giving Advice

We do also have plant sales table where many questions are asked to the people behind the sales table this is where our member shine when answering the questions of orchid plants.

Species Orchids 

Some of our members specialise in species orchids which come from many parts of the world. This includes Australian natives. At our monthly meetings there is always strong competition amongst the members in the species section. One of the problems, though, is the difficulty in the pronunciation of the names of the species. Nothing like a bit of banter to keep member on their toes. Australian natives are very popular with our growers with plenty of them to choose from like Denbrobium, Sarcochilus, Cymbidium, Spiranthes, Phalaeopsis, Calanthes, Corybas and Pterostylis .

Species plant means that it is found in the wild, from forests, dry areas of the world and including grass lands or open savannah places, some even growing close to water or streams, fog areas that are windy and cool from all parts of the world.

Primary hybrids are the result of crossing or hybridising two species.

Hybrids are the result of crossing or hybridising two orchids. They could be species or hybrids. The purpose of hybridising is to improve the plant, flower or a special attribute. Some hybridisers seek to improve a colour eg. re large flower, showy flowers or spectacular flowers.

Grower Prof]les- John Salway .  and Ruth

I have always had an interest in the garden, this came from my Mum who took pride in her garden and nourished it with plenty of cow manure from our dairy farm on Bli Bli Road. It was on our tenth Wedding Anniversary that Ruth was shopping at the Kmart Shopping Centre (now the Sunshine Plaza) when she noticed an orchid display by the Maroochydore Orchid Society, thinking an orchid would make a special gift tirade enquires and was encouraged to buy a Cattleya orchid with the assistance of Ron Haylock. I still have that orchid in my collection. At the time, my sister ’s neighbour in Warana was Matt Janjak. Matt had a large orchid house in his front yard, and won many prizes. I would go over to his place to check out what was in flower.  Matt would not tell inc any orchids unless I joined a club and learnt how to grow them properly.   Matt was an orchid judge and a member of the Maroochydore Orchid Society.

 I joined the Maroochydore club. I had known Eric Ernst since I was a teenage, so paid him a visit and was overwhelmed by his collection. Eric was a long term member of the Nambour club, so I also joined the Nanibour club with the view! to learning as such as I could. In the Maroochydore Club, I was taken under the wing of Vic Potter, Ron Haydock and Jim Nolan and I ant so appreciative of the knowledge they passed onto me to ensure I didn’t I make too many mistakes and that I brought hybrids made front show quality parents.

 My first bush house was 4ft x 6ft. When we relocated to E›pin Road a new 8itit x 5mt bush house was built, soon a tunnel house was added, this has since been replaced by a second 8nit x 5mt bush house. Ruth will tell you I have installed two ceiling fans in the bush house, yet we have no fans or air conditioning in our own home. I started growing Cattleya and Vandaceous alliance and Hard Cane Dens. genera and have over the years had a few orchids of each of the common genera. Australian native hybrids were once high on my shopping list, until I heated the bush house which didn’t provide suitable growing conditions these have been replaced by Den. biggibum and hard cane Dens.

I was lucky enough to do a prorogation course, one weekend run by Al Rolley where I learned the ins and outs of flasking orchids.  I made a flasking cabinet from a fish tank, I would take over the kitchen and boil up bottles and agar in a pressure cooker. In the flasking cabinet, plenty of bleach would be sprayed around to provide a sterile environment and the seed placed in the agar in bottles. It was very time consuming, a bit ofa backyard operation – but it worked and I was rewarded when the seedlings flowered.  I now have my seed pods flanked in Brisbane.

When the opportunity came to do the judges course’s, I hesitantly started, not ever planning on sitting the exam. Ruth H DHld set example exam papers in the morning and I would complete after work off before she caiiie home. One year as a student judge, 2 years as an associate judge I was appointed an AOC judge in 1996.

I have received many ribbons over the years, including Best Species and two times awarded Reserve Champion for my orchids, however my first Grand Champion was in May this year at the Gympie Show.

With the demise of the local sugar industry this has given me time to make over our gardens, which is focusing on water friendly broms.

At the time I jointed the club, the then club Treasurer Ray Grandcourt was planning an extended overseas trip and Ruth acted as assistant Treasurer in his absence. At the AGM Ruth was elected Treasurer and remained in that position until the AGM in December, 2007. Ruth has at.so held the positions of club Secretary and newsletter editor and Secretary/Treasurer of the Suncoast Orchidfest hosted by Maroochydore an J Caloundra in 1988.

If asked what are the highlight from my orchid hobby — it would have to be the trips to Thailand to see thé hfgh quality and quantity of orchids grown with ease in open parklands, in the streetscape and hotelfoyers, seeing my crosses fiowering for the first time, the many society bus trips, achieving a grand champion flower, having plants awarded and all the many friettds I have made.

By the courtesy of

John Salway