The Barbados Orchid Circle was formed in 1939. Early members were Mr. Robert Parkinson, Capt. E.A. Chase, Miss. Beryl Chenery, Mr. Briggs Collins, Mr. Blair Bannister, Mrs. William Grannum, Miss. Olive da Rocha, Mr. Keith Murphy, Mr. Laurie Webster, Mr. Francis Hunte, Mrs. Iris Bailey (Bannochie), Miss. Elaine Cox, Dr. Prescod O'Neal and others.
In the early years plants and flowers were exhibited at the Barbados Agricultural and Industrial Exhibition held annually during the first week in December at Queen's Park. The first exhibits were staged in a small wooden booth. The display became so popular that by the early fifties the Agricultural Society had expanded the orchid section to three large, thirty-foot metal enclosures which were filled with many varieties of tropical orchids of every colour.
There were always large crowds around these stands, gazing at the breathtaking beauty of the displays. They created great interest and many more people began growing orchids. Several challenge cups were presented by private individuals and business firms of Bridgetown.
Shows were also held at other venues such as the Barbados Museum and under the grand stand in the Barbados Turf Club. The Circle also mounted a display at the Trade Fair held at the opening of the Deep Water Harbour, in the first location of the University of the West Indies, now known as the Shallow Draft.
Later the Circle, in association with the Barbados Horticultural Society mounted annual shows in the Steel Shed in Queen's Park, the Drill Hall at the Garrison and at the Barbados Horticultural Society Headquarters at Balls Plantation.
Displays have been exhibited at several overseas shows:
- The World Orchid Conference in Thailand 1977
- The World Orchid Conference in Miami 1984
- The Chelsea Flower Show
- The Miami Orchid Show
- The Trinidad Orchid Society Shows annually
- The Carupano Orchid Society Show - Venezuela 2002
Since 1990 the Circle has staged biennial shows at such locations as the homes of Mr. Michael Birkett, Dr. Stephen Collins, Orchid World and the Barbados Horticultural Society Headquarters.
In 1992 at the 53rd Annual General Meeting a change in name from the Barbados Orchid Circle to the Barbados Orchid Society was made.
The Society and its members import plants from several different countries:- Singapore, Thailand, and USA. Robin Parkinson recalls his granddad swapping Barbados stamps for wild orchids from Trinidad with a Mr. De Boehmler!
The Society meets at a member's home on the second Sunday of every month. In the earlier years the meetings were very formal, the ladies in cocktail dresses and the gentlemen in lounge suits - no children were allowed.