Christmas barbecue

Thirty-two intrepid members, spouses and friends attended our annual Christmas barbecue lunch on December 1 – a day of windswept, non-stop rain. Never mind! We were snug and dry in the Gallery at Te Puna Quarry Park and had a lovely Secret Santa swap of gifts, a slap-up potluck lunch and some good conversation.

Our first meeting for 2019 will be on Tuesday, February 19 at 7pm. We have a new venue for the annual plant auction as the Wesley Church hall will still be undergoing strengthening to meet earthquake regulations. Please bring your plants (and cash to buy some more to take home) to St Enoch’s Church Hall in 16th Ave (between Fraser St and Cameron Rd) where there is plenty of parking, both offstreet and on. All these details will go into our first newsletter next year.

In the meantime, please enjoy these photos of the Christmas lunch (all photos by Sandra Simpson unless stated).

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Dan Bond (left) and Roger Allen.

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Emma Searle (left) and Evelyn Wills.

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John Edwards (left) and Laurie Dawbin have a serious chat.

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Audrey Hewson (left) and Mary Parkinson.

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Jean Richardson (left) and Diane Hintz.

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Ute Rank (left) and Liam Rowden Llosa, our newest and youngest member, are impressed by whatever Craig Parsons is showing them on his phone.

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President Conrad Coenen (far left), secretary Sandra Simpson and vice-president Barry Curtis. Photo: Jude Coenen

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The amazing potluck lunch – with dessert to follow!

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Member success: Dendrobium nobile

By Craig Parsons

This Dendrobium nobile, unfortunately unnamed, was transferred from a pot to a 30cm basket about 2002. It was hung in a whitey wood (mahoe) tree under a Norfolk Island pine in 2003.

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The orchid in 2005, hanging in the bottom part of our section in Forrester Dr. Photo: Craig Parsons

We moved from Forrester Dr to Bayvista Close, also in Welcome Bay, in 2007 and brought the orchid with us.

We had a Queensland frangipani tree growing in the southwest corner of the section and removed the top of the tree at about 3-4m and stapled the basket to the tree at 2m. It was covered by some foliage and not exposed to the prevailing southwest wind. A Japanese weeping maple was planted 1.5m from the tree.


This photo from 2011 shows about 150+ flowers. Photo: Craig Parsons

The frangipani tree was cut down to above the basket as it had grown around the wire and the tree was threatening to push the retaining wall out so the basket is now attached to a tree stump.

The maple has subsequently grown to cover the front of the orchid. The shelter hedges at the back and side also grew but were kept at 2m high.

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Photo: Craig Parsons

This year the orchid has produced 350+ flowers. The photo above is taken from inside the maple tree, and shows only a small number of the flowers. The plant is 1.5m wide and 1m deep.

The plant is infrequently watered by me so mostly it’s watered by rain and if I remember I’ll throw some food on and occasionally foliar feed it when I’m doing the others.

We used to throw our banana skins on it, but now I use a high-potassium fertiliser I got from Bill Liddy [of Napier]. Sorry to say that now the plant is out of sight it mostly gets forgotten about.


The Dendrobium nobile orchid is native to the highlands of Southeast Asia and the Himalayas. The plants are semi-deciduous, meaning they lose some of their leaves during their growing or flowering periods. They produce a profusion of blooms right along the canes in the winter or early spring and can remain in flower for up to two months. Don’t remove old canes as the plants can, and will, reflower along these.


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OCNZ Awards 2017

Congratulations to Tauranga Orchid Society members who received Orchid Council of New Zealand Awards in 2017 (information from the 2018 Yearbook).

Award of Merit (AM), 80 or more points

Helen McDonald: Cattleya Cariad’s Mini-Quinee ‘Angel Kiss’ (C. (Mini Purple x intermedia)); Cattleya guttata ‘Beryl’s Beauty’; Cattleya jongheana ‘Taikura’ (also CCC, see below).

Brian Enticott: Paphiopedilum Gary Romagna ‘Palm Beach’ (Paph (rothschildianum x Saint Swithin))

Highly Commended Certificate (HCC), 75 or more points

Helen McDonald: Cattleya cernua ‘Taikura’.

Certificate of Cultural Excellence (CCE), 90 or more points

Helen McDonald: Cattleya lundii ‘Taikura’.

Certificate of Cultural Commendation (CCC), 80 or more points

Helen McDonald: Cattleya jongheana ‘Taikura’.

Diane Hintz: Mediocalcar decoratum.

Patricia Hutchins: Peristeranthus hillii ‘Memoria David Hutchins’.

For results from past years, click on the OCNZ Awards tab at the top of the page.

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Orchid names: Dendrobium Pukekura

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Dendrobium Pukekura. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Dendrobium Pukekura was discovered in the mid-1960s among a collection donated to Pukekura Park in New Plymouth by Fred Parker.

The plant had been given to Mr Parker by a Japanese doctor, who was known to have used Den. moniliforme as a parent. It is generally accepted that the other parent was Den. regium. Others have suggested that it could be Den. nobile making this hybrid a synonym of Den. Cassiope, or Den. Cassiope making this plant Den. Inverleith. The flowers are a delicate pink, it is very vigorous and easy to flower, and is widely grown in New Zealand and Australia as Den. Pukekura. It has also been used as a parent of other unregistered hybrids.

  • Information supplied by George Fuller, curator of Pukekura Park, 1965–1990 as a footnote to the RHS quarterly supplement to the International Register of Orchid  Hybrids (Sander’s List), January-March 2011.

In an online history of the park Mr Fuller writes: George Fuller’s love affair with Pukekura Park began in 1964 when nurseryman Fred Parker donated his orchid collection to the Park, conditional on the employment of George to care for it! By 1966 George had progressed to become curator of Pukekura and Brooklands.

George Fuller, patron of the Orchid Council of New Zealand, died in 2015 aged 86. Read an obituary here.

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Tauranga Orchid Show Champions

Tauranga Orchid Society is thrilled to have four trophies to award this year – two more than in 2017 and three more than in 2016! A new Reserve Champion trophy has been added by the society and Lynley and John Roy have donated the Alec Roy Cup for Best Cymbidium.

And the winners are …

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A basket of an unnamed Dendrobium nobile has won the Grand Champion title for Hubert Musiers and Tania  Langen (Ninox Orchids) of Whangarei. Photo: Sandra Simpson

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John Edwards from Tauranga proved that size doesn’t matter, winning both Reserve Champion and the Natalie Simmonds Trophy for Best Specimen plant with his Restrepia guttulata. Photo: Sandra Simpson

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Diane Hintz, a member of both the BOP and Tauranga orchid societies, won the Alec Roy Cup for Best Cymbidium with a basket of Cymbidium Hungarian Doll ‘NH’ x devonianum ‘Tuakau’. Photo: Sandra Simpson

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A better look at the flowers of Best Cymbidium. Photo: Sandra Simpson

The show has its last day tomorrow (Sunday), open from 10am-4pm at Tauranga Racecourse, $3 entry (children under 12 free). Come and see what the buzz is all about!

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Tauranga Orchid Show 2018

Great buzz on the show’s first day – don’t forget to come and see it ‘live’ tomorrow and Sunday, 10am-4pm. Here are a few photos to whet your appetite …

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The Asia stand. Photo: Sandra Simpson

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Koalas galore on the Australia stand. Photo: Sandra Simpson

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Lots of bright colour on the Latin America stand. Photo; Sandra Simpson

It’s a good time of year to see beautiful Cymbidiums.

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Cymbidium devonianum x Night Jasmine ‘Kannika’, bred and grown by Andy Price of Hinemoa Orchids. Photo: Sandra Simpson

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This Cymbidium Fuss ‘Fantasy’ grown by Elizabeth Bailey was on the Asia stand of the Tauranga Orchid Society. Photo: Sandra Simpson

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Cymbidium Mont Nitron Trinity, grown by Kevin Davey of the BOP Orchid Society. Photo: Sandra Simpson

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Getting plants ready to show

As the 2018 Tauranga Orchid Show draws nearer, newer members may be wondering how to prepare their plants for the show. Here is some sterling advice gleaned from experience:

  • If you haven’t already put in flower stakes to show off your spikes to best advantage, do it now, carefully. Once in, cut the stakes off level with the flowers. Use a small, neat tie to secure the spike to the stake, preferably in green or a neutral colour. Keep the top tie loose so that if the spike is still growing it has the chance to do so without being trapped and distorted. Try to keep your plant facing the same direction as this will stop flowers twisting on the stem. If individual flowers on a stem are facing the wrong way, gradually turn and tie, to lock them correctly before they naturally ‘set’ in position.
  • Gently tear away sheaths from around the spike on cymbidiums. This will release any trapped water and reduce the risk of spike rot. It also allow the spike to grow stronger and firmer with even colouring.
  • Check your pots for ‘passengers’ – snails/slugs, ants, etc. Sprinkle slug bait on top of the bark; and/or sprinkle ant sand on top (it works quickly). Sprinkle slug bait on the floor of your shadehouse to capture any lurking there.
  • Ants are a sign there are pests on the plant – they ‘farm’ scale and aphids for the honeydew they produce. Scale comes in many shapes, sizes, colours and forms. Some are like grease spots on leaves, others have a round armoured shell. There are several approaches to removing scale and aphids:
    • With your fingers, or for the grooves in hard-cane Dendrobiums gently scrape with a satay stick or similar
    • Wipe leaves, pseudobulbs and canes with diluted ‘all seasons oil’ (Conqueror oil, Neem oil), which will also shine the leaves. Oil works by smothering scale so make sure all problem areas are treated (ie, look under the leaves). Do not do this on plants in bright sunlight. To read more about pests and how to control them, refer to this newsletter.
  • If all you’re after is a leaf shine, use a soft cloth dipped in milk (you may need to do it more than once for best results).
  • Remove untidy or marked leaves, or ‘sharpen’ them using sterilized scissors (cut the leaf into a point, resembling the end of a natural leaf). Use pliers to remove any old husks and flower stalks from larger plants like Cymbidiums. Twist and pull, or cut out (with sterile tools) any shrivelled, leafless canes from hard-cane Dendrobiums (do not remove leafless canes from soft-cane Dendrobiums as these will reflower).
  • If the surface bark on a pot is looking old, remove a layer and replace it with new bark. This will do wonders for the look of the plant.
  • You may have an orchid in a bag that has slumped sideways. No need to repot it – simply put it in a larger pot and top up with fresh bark. (Afterwards though, do repot it.)
  • Clean up your plant’s label or better still, write a new one, and wash pots or bags. Place the label facing forward at the front of the pot.
  • Write your name on a sticky label (piece of duct tape) and put at the back of the pot or underneath it. A great help when dismantling the show. Unfortunately, we sometimes end up with uncollected plants as the show is packed up and having your name on your plant will help us return it.

Please deliver plants to the Racecourse hall from 2pm on Thursday, September 27. We’re so looking forward to seeing your wonderful plants at the show!

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