Orchids from all over the world will arrive in Pistoia next weekend for the ORCHidea market exhibition, proposed by MATI 1909. A meeting point for enthusiasts and the curious. We asked the organizers to tell us about the origins of the event, its peculiarities and also some anecdotes and curiosities. Andrea Gagnarli, a salesman of MATI 1909 passionate about orchids and creator of the market exhibition, tells us about them.
How was ORCHidea born and how has it grown over the years?
ORCHidea was born in 2015 when I proposed to the owners of Mati 1909 to organize a small market exhibition dedicated to Orchids. We started with about 4 or 5 exhibitors with whom I had a good relationship as a regular customer.
The first two / three editions took place in the company warehouse, then with the growing interest of the public in the ORCHidea we came to have 9/10 exhibitors and to occupy almost the entire Mati Center (over 2000 square meters of exhibition space!).
The most beautiful milestone was during the last edition: despite Covid we have welcomed 4253 people! The seventh edition, that of next Saturday and Sunday, is promoted in collaboration with AIO-Italian Association of Orchidology, A.M.A.O. Southern Association of Orchid Amateurs and SFO Società Felsinea di Orchidofilia and has obtained the patronage of the Municipality of Pistoia. Thanks to MATI 1909 has always believed in the growth of this fair but also to partners such as Agriivivai, Torrigiani Agri & Garden, Studio Associato Cesaf, AgriBios - Società cooperativa Agricola and SaSe Idraulica srl who have supported it for years.
Which audience is it aimed at?
Instinctively one has to answer "to an audience of Orchid enthusiasts" but this is not exactly the case: ORCHidea is aimed at anyone who is curious to know the world of Orchids and tropical plants in general, as well as all plant lovers. Not only orchids, in fact, but rare plants, indoor and outdoor plants.
Furthermore, in recent editions, we have expanded the list of exhibitors by creating an agri-food pavilion: a place where you can find the best of made in Tuscany gastronomy and Tuscan wines.
Also this year, as during the last edition, it will be possible to taste and buy the wines of 9 wine producers of "L'Urlo del vino", a network of wines and vinsanti from Upper Tuscany, and cured meats, cheeses and products at km0 of Woodshed and Magni and Verdiani Tradition and Salami.
Visitors will also have the opportunity to have the agronomists and planners of Giardini Mati 1909 available for advice on their garden or terrace.
How many varieties of orchids are on display?
It is difficult to keep track. Last year we reached about 2000. I think this year we will well exceed this number because we have 12 exhibitors, many more than last year.
Which countries do the exhibitors come from?
This year we will have exhibitors from Italy, Germany, Ecuador and Colombia.
We also hope to have exhibitors from Asia with us in the next editions.
Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 regulations in force in Asia, they find it difficult to participate in foreign market exhibitions.
What is meant by rare plants?
Well, if we refer to orchids, by rare orchids we mean the species and hybrids that are not massively propagated, obtaining tens of thousands of specimens a year and therefore do not reach the shops and are only found at exhibitions such as ORCHidea.
What is the most characteristic and expensive rare plant on display?
There will also be the Samurai orchids or the Vanda falcata (Neofinetia falcata), some clones that have particular mutations can reach figures of 4 zeros.
What is the most unique orchid variety?
It is really difficult to answer this question, the ORCHIDACEAE family groups over 3000 species and an indefinite quantity of hybrids that is constantly increasing. The genus Dimorphorchis always has monoecious species but with unisexual flowers, both male and female on the same stem.
In addition to the meeting with the exhibitors, are there also training moments to learn how to take care of the plants?
Yup! This year the courses and seminars dedicated to Orchids are back, together with the events of Mati 1909.
For example, Saturday 8 at 10 there will be “Growing tropical and subtropical orchids as semi-acoustic plants”, where I myself will talk about how to make your orchids beautiful without going crazy or having to pay constant attention to them.
Another very interesting event is always Saturday 8 to 11 "Introduction to fertilization and biostimulants for orchids", in this case Daniel Klein (President of the Felsinea Association of Orchidophilia) will talk about how to improve the growth, roots and flowers of orchids.
To these events are added:
2 workshops for children (