My first Grand Champion
The world wide web offers a chance to share achievements and learn more about the orchids we love. Every exhibitor wants to win something - a ribbon, a trophy, recognition or self-satisfaction.
We fuss with a good plant, trying to find the correct location to bring it in to a luxuriant bloom - at just the right time. I must confess, I do spend more time with my orchids then is necessary.
My husband gets a little jealous of all the attention they receive. Of one thing I am certain... faith will never die...as long as coloured catalogues are printed.
How I Grow My Orchids
I started growing orchids in 1997, after we retired to Buderim. I had to do lots of research, when I was editor of the club's newsletter and found this to be a good learning experience. I find my growing area is restricted by the small backyard and the shade from the palms.
Construction: Shade-House 17ft x 8 ft
A section, at the end of the building, has frosted fibreglass sheeting on the walls and roof. This small area has been reserved for eighty Phalaenopsis plants.
Some orchids are placed on suitable trees in the garden.
True story - My mother, an orchid breeder, went to the agriculture agent, in our farming community, to get some systemic poison to use in her glasshouse. After requiring that she sign a sheaf of documents, the agent asked the proposed use, at length.
"Are you absolutely sure this will not be used on edible plants?".
My mother placed her hands on his desk, leaned forward, and with a determined stare, replied
"Sir!... If anyone eats my orchids, they will not live long enough for the poison to take effect. [ Taken from an old Readers' Digest]
You want to repot but can't get the plant out of the old container???. Well... just soak the whole pot in water for a while. The roots will come away with a bit of care ...if not...merely soak again until they do.
When top cutting plants, cutting off diseased leaves, etc, and you need to seal the cut...try egg white. Beat the egg white a little, brush it generously over the cut. In a short time it dries and seals the area and provides a strong lasting protection.
Furthermore, it is a natural product, which adds protein to the plant to help heal the wound. It is also cheap!.
I came across some unusual methods of fertilizing orchids. One grower fed his orchids flat beer. Another, thought he had the best Dendrobiums because he placed kangaroo droppings on top of the bark. I was also given a recipe for a cocktail of liquid fish.
I don't think I could stand the perfume of these "good ideas".
Rhynchostylis - gigantea, retusa and coelestis, all require the same growing conditions. In my bush-house they do quite well. Early December when the temperatures are consistently high, and very bright sunlight, the plants are hung at bench level. They tend to send out a vigorous root system.
About the end of April they will be rehung in their original position, up high in the shade house. Here they can enjoy the winter air.
They prefer a basket container, with a little bark and charcoal. Half strength organic fertilizer once every two weeks. I also use a vanda bloom-booster prior and up until blooming.
Orchid Display Themes
Here are some suggestions for themes for orchid displays:
1. "Orchid Romance" Heart shaped name tags - Orchids arranged around a
large cupid statue.
2. "Swing Into Spring" Arrangement around a garden swing.
3. "Tea House of the Orchid Moon" Japanese setting.
4. "Orchids & Old Lace" Orchids around an old lace style metal table and
5. "Orchid Symphony" Orchids around some musical instruments.
6. "Orchid Carrousel" Display of orchids in a circle.
7. "Orchids In Royal Splendour" Purple background with the focus on a large
crown positioned above a very nice orchid.
8. "Pretty as a Picture" Orchids displayed within a giant picture frame.
9. "Tropical Nights" Tropical Setting.
10. " Mystical Powers"
11. " Orchids In The Moonlight" A background of moon and stars.