4 July 2012

June meeting, "Knowing your Orchids".

Lawrence Hobbs and his assistant, Sandra, from Hobbs Orchids Ltd.  Crawley Downs, West Sussex, came laden down with plants, potting compost and various sundries to show the club how to care for orchids. Some club members had bought their sickly plants to find out the causes of the problems. 
Lawrence gave a very informative talk on the various types of orchids available and how to care for them. He demonstrated how to re-pot them several times. The nursery make up their own potting medium, using new bark, preferably pine, mixed with charcoal and large size Pearlite. Originally, Osmunder fibre used to be used, but that is nearly extinct now. In America they re-cycle old tyre shreddings!  There is no food in the potting mix, it is only used to support the plant, therefore plant food needs to be added on a regular basis.  Care has to be taken with watering, Lawrence advises soaking in rainwater until the bubbles stop coming, then draining well. This only needs doing about two weekly.
During the interval, plants, potting medium, pots and special feeds could be purchased.

A lovely selection of orchids.

A common pest that affects orchids is the woolly Aphid. Lawrence advised on treatment for this. The affected plant must be isolated, as it will spread if left near other plants.

Peter, Sandra and Lawrence.

At the end of the evening there was a question session which was interesting, and cleared up many misconceptions about orchids.

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