Rlc. George King 'Serendipity' AM/AOS

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NEslipper

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The cattleya parade continues with an original division of Rlc. George King 'Serendipity' AM/AOS (Rlc. Buttercup x C. Bob Betts) registered by G.A. King in 1970. Here is a link to it blooming earlier this year: LINK. William Livingston got the 82 point AM on this in 1975. How this only got an AM and not an FCC is beyond me. I grow in less-than-ideal conditions on a windowsill and it easily carries 3 massive, incredibly flat flowers with nearly overlapping petals, wide lateral sepals, and upright dorsals (sometimes). The color is nearly impossible to capture accurately, it is at once an odd gray-pink and a vibrant peach-apricot, and it looks like it's been dipped in diamond dust. This is one of those plants that everyone should grow, it grows vigorously and just loves to bloom - in a range of less-than-ideal conditions. It also has a wonderful rose-like fragrance that fills a room. One thing I find interesting is that this plant has been cloned on a massive scale for big box stores, and there is definitely a difference in the flower quality of original divisions and early/limited F1 cloning runs (I think Waldor had some recently) versus the massively scaled clones. The final photo is of 3 of my currently blooming cattleyas, all grown on the same south-facing windowsill. Left-right is Rlc. George King 'Serendipity' AM/AOS, C. Helen P. Dane AM/AOS, and C. Earl 'Imperialis' FCC/AOS. Both Rlc. George King and C. Earl have the famous C. Bow Bells as a grandparent, which I think nicely illustrates the impact C. Bow Bells had on cattleya breeding, and not just for the breeding of better whites, but other colors as well.
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FCC’s are very rarely granted! Upgrades from HCC to AM is not that common either. I am driving back home at the moment and can not research these awards right now but as a judge I can tell you that a lot has to break just right to capture an FCC.
Who can say why it wasn’t granted. It could be color, size, tiny flaws in form, unevenness in petals or sepals. Just how did the plant present itself on any given day.
Upgrades are never automatic.
But if my plant got an AM I would be very happy!!
Just as an added note, substance can play a minor roll in an award score. But these things are never quite that simple.
 
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Great blooms! Good for you!! I grow this (‘Serendipity’, also an orig. div. purchased 8/21, blooming now) under lights in an everything controlled grow room and never have had but one flower each time. It has bloomed 10/6/21; 6/19/22; and now. Each time with 1 flower. Flower is spectacular as you mention, so maybe more flowers will come next time as it only has 4 pseudobulbs.
 
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David B

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Judges are usually very reluctant to actually say what they think as plant owners are invested and do not like there prized plants flaws being pointed out. The bar on quality cats is always rising. Today the two whites would not even be looked at. The George King likely would but it does have obvious downpointing elements. The large distal lip cleft and the petal width are not outstanding. The grex has as it's two lead percentage contributors mossiae and dowiana so it is exceptional when that is considered. I have co received three cattleya awards this year, all AM,s between 80/82 points and these plants are all absolutely exceptional, so anyone receiving a cattleya AM with a good score should be very happy. My interest is piqued so I may acquire a George King and see what I can do with it. One of my favorite whites is still trianae 'Aranka Germanske'. which is also a tough as nails good grower. From DR. Ee, the BB division has now become two large BS plants within 4 years. My pic below.
 

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I beg to differ. We judges do say what we feel about a plant. Our code of conduct if you will demands that we be tasteful and be aware of what we say because we must be kind and diplomatic. I personally know of 2 judges who were dismissed for poor conduct.
Yes, it is correct to assume that the award standards are always trending upwards, going for better and better plants. We as judges try very hard to keep any emotions or prejudices out of our evaluations and scoring.
Every single AOS judging allows for the public at large to sit in and listen, we here in Michigan just ask that you check in and inform the Judging Chair that you would like to sit in. I strongly encourage every single person here to do so, you will be amazed at just how thoroughly we go over a plant!
Here in the Great Lakes Center we have a Grand Rapids show and ones in Akron, Cleveland, Lansing, Ann Arbor, Madison Heights and central Ohio this January to early April. They can all be found on the AOS web page at www.AOS.org
 

David B

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I beg to differ. We judges do say what we feel about a plant. Our code of conduct if you will demands that we be tasteful and be aware of what we say because we must be kind and diplomatic. I personally know of 2 judges who were dismissed for poor conduct.
Yes, it is correct to assume that the award standards are always trending upwards, going for better and better plants. We as judges try very hard to keep any emotions or prejudices out of our evaluations and scoring.
Every single AOS judging allows for the public at large to sit in and listen, we here in Michigan just ask that you check in and inform the Judging Chair that you would like to sit in. I strongly encourage every single person here to do so, you will be amazed at just how thoroughly we go over a plant!
Here in the Great Lakes Center we have a Grand Rapids show and ones in Akron, Cleveland, Lansing, Ann Arbor, Madison Heights and central Ohio this January to early April. They can all be found on the AOS web page at www.AO
Exactly, my point, as long as we are tasteful, diplomatic, and explain nicely that is fine. Wish that the truth could always be told nicely. Allow me to introduce myself to we as judges. David Bryan, AOS accredited judge since 2005, Toronto Judging Centre , entered judging system 1999.
 

NEslipper

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Great blooms! Good for you!! I grow this (‘Serendipity’, also an orig. div. purchased 8/21, blooming now) under lights in an everything controlled grow room and never have had but one flower each time. It has bloomed 10/6/21; 6/19/22; and now. Each time with 1 flower. Flower is spectacular as you mention, so maybe more flowers will come next time as it only has 4 pseudobulbs.
Fingers crossed, this has bloomed before with 2 flowers on 5 bulbs, and now 3, so maybe the plant just needs to build up some more reserves. I’ve also been trying to push my light levels as much as possible, lots of yellow tones in my leaves, and I have burned a couple leaves on more sensitive catts here and there, but generally I’ve observed much better blooming overall this year. Would love to see yours that’s currently in bloom!
 

NEslipper

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Wonderful photos Terry!
I have George King and Bob Betts in bud at the moment so I’m a bit behind you,
David
Not Terry, but his plants posted here are beautifully grown so I will take that as a tremendous compliment!
 

NEslipper

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Exactly, my point, as long as we are tasteful, diplomatic, and explain nicely that is fine. Wish that the truth could always be told nicely. Allow me to introduce myself to we as judges. David Bryan, AOS accredited judge since 2005, Toronto Judging Centre , entered judging system 1999.
Thanks for the interesting discussion David and big923! I certainly didn’t mean to imply that this flowering of the plant is worthy of an FCC, merely that I think the components are there to make for a truly spectacular flowering when grown optimally. Even a search of some previous bloomings of this plant from others on this forum show how much better it can do. While the plant may not be considered for an FCC by today’s standards, it was awarded 47 years ago, and 82 points just seems low to me, especially considering standards are still evolving. The trianaei is beautiful, but I won’t ask you to wade in on the species status of 'Aranka Germanske', regardless it is well-flowered and beautifully grown, congrats!
 

David B

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Thanks for the interesting discussion David and big923! I certainly didn’t mean to imply that this flowering of the plant is worthy of an FCC, merely that I think the components are there to make for a truly spectacular flowering when grown optimally. Even a search of some previous bloomings of this plant from others on this forum show how much better it can do. While the plant may not be considered for an FCC by today’s standards, it was awarded 47 years ago, and 82 points just seems low to me, especially considering standards are still evolving. The trianaei is beautiful, but I won’t ask you to wade in on the species status of 'Aranka Germanske', regardless it is well-flowered and beautifully grown, congrats!
Thank you, I am here to learn, I intend to learn till it's all over, but as I said , your post piqued my interest in acquiring a George King. My interest is to grow plants to the best of my ability so that they can be entered in Orchid Shows. I am not interested in the ribbons, but in contributing quality plants for display to the public and enhance the displays themselves. The color tones and form of the George King, grown and flowered well could contribute greatly to any display. And for you and others, here is another plant Cattleya Goldernell 'Southern Cross" AM/AOS from Carter and Holmes. It is of the same tones as GK. The plant is an excellent grower and the flowers last 5/6 weeks, but hint, it took me 3 years to learn that it needs to be summered outside or it will not flower well
 

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That’s a wonderful colour David!
sorry for the mistake NEslipper.
I‘ll start the ball rolling about Aranaka. I love to hear background on these plants. Steve Christofferson had an division for sale recently. He said that it was originally a wild collected plant. I’ve heard that as it’s such a reluctant breeder and the shape is so stunning, it could be triploid.
 
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Well the judging process seems confusing to a good number of people, that’s for sure. The only thing I can say further is that an 80-83 point AM for a plant is way more common then an 86-89 point AM! It is just the way the scoring system works. For flower quality awards the general points fall into three major components, Form, Color and floriferousness.
Form is the most harsh if that is the right word and color is the easiest to sway people to score higher. Color is kind of an impact score. Wow!!! Color really grabs the eye. But we have to be careful not to let color overwhelm us. You could end up awarding really colorful flowers of poor form or shape.

You have to consider that this is a minimum of 6 years in training. 6 years!!! And a person looking in from the outside is libel to create a much different score or opinion then a score generated after the training. But we make a good effort to give a plant a fair shake so to speak. We try to take emotion out of the process. And all of this training, traveling and judging is without $$$$$ compensation. None whatsoever.
Remember too that the AOS system is based upon the English system. One huge difference, NO HCC’s in the English system.
 

DrLeslieEe

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Wonderful discussion.

As a newly minted accredited AOS judge I can attest to the trials and tribulations of these experienced judges here.

Emotions can sway scores high but form and other attributes like floriferousness/substance/size are equally pointed to moderate that subjective assessment to become more objective.

The final score is usually more true to the overall quality of the bloom.
 
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