February 2017: Newsletter 387

Happy New Year!

Report on Christmas Barbecue, December 7

What a great idea to use the facilities at the Quarry Park. It has been lovely to have the Xmas BBQ at members’ homes in the past, and enjoy their wonderful gardens and hospitality, but it did involve a great deal of work and worry for them about inclement weather. Many thanks for your efforts over the years but I think we have found a perfect solution with the Gallery at the Quarry.

We had a very happy crowd of 33, bringing along an incredible feast for us to share. The first course was tasty enough, but the dessert table was groaning in strawberry dishes, delicious chocolate and other delights. You all surpassed yourselves with your culinary efforts.

Our ‘secret Santa’ presents produced some imaginative and interesting delights for the recipients, and Alec had the last word, with his usual quirky surprise presents for Conrad, Barry & Sandra.

We were very sad to find that Natalie was not feeling well enough to attend, but I am so pleased to tell you that even though her doctor’s news had not been good, Natalie is feeling very well now and enjoyed a trip to the New Plymouth Orchid Show last weekend. All our best wishes for the future, Natalie.

Many thanks to all those who were able to attend, it was a great way to end a very busy season. Thanks also to the Committee and others who helped set up, and work in the kitchen. The facilities at the Gallery make the whole event a pleasure to run. I must also thank Sandra for the lovely photos she put on our website.

– Barry Curtis

November Evening Meeting

Present: 30 members.

Our sale of plants at The Lakes hub for the Garden & ArtFest raised just on $900.

Our speaker for November was Chris Whitby, who will be moving to Napier and setting up his nursery this year. His wife is already teaching as principal at a small school out of town. He will be very happy to be able to have a decent-sized greenhouse and looks forward to being able to grow his plants in larger-sized pots.

His talk for the night was on growing Paphiopedilums and he noted that both Paphs and Phallies can be grown in low-light conditions inside homes, using LED lights. There is a move overseas, particularly in New York, to grow these in Wardian Cabinets under the LEDs and controlled growing conditions. (Ed.’s note. You are way ahead of the mob, John E!)

When growing Paphs it must be remembered that they much prefer higher humidity, 70%-80% if possible. As Chris says, “If my glasses steam up when I walk into the orchid house, conditions are right”. Don’t overwater your plants, but the ground below them, or have a ‘misting system’ on a timer switch. Never sit them in pots or trays of water or the roots will rot. But they don’t like growing on any form of slab as the roots need moisture around them to keep the roots’ hairy surfaces damp.

Repotting, 1. Chris aims to repot EVERY year. He uses soaked No 2 bark and perlite for his small pots and No 3 bark and perlite when he reaches the third pot size.

2. The pot size is based on the size of the root mass. Never ‘over-pot’. Always fit the roots into the smallest pot available as this allows the roots to ‘use the water’ instead of sitting in it.

3. Chris prefers deep, narrow pots over shallow, wide pots.

Fertiliser: Chris uses an 18-18-18 fertiliser mix and waters his plants at ¼ strength every 2-3 days in summer and a week to 10 days in winter. Note, he never uses ‘slow release’ on Paphs as it burns the roots.

He stresses the importance of using calcium nitrate every month, but not to mix it with your normal fertiliser.  Epsom Salts (magnesium sulphate) is just as important and could be alternated with the calcium nitrate, however, calcium nitrate CANNOT be mixed with Epsom Salts but it CAN be mixed with magnesium nitrate at a ratio of 2 parts calc nitrate to 1 part mag nitrate and used together.

(Editor’s note: Questions will be asked, and those who fail…….will be given a very large cymbidium.)

Temperatures: ‘Plain green’ leafed complexes handle cooler conditions, but can perform better with heat. ‘Mottled’ leafed Maudiae varieties prefer warmer conditions. Brachypetalums, need very warm conditions, repotted 6 monthly, free of salts and drier.

Pests & disease: Major problems come from mealy bugs and scale. Paphs do not like oil sprays, commonly used on most orchids for these pests. Chris likes to use a killing contact spray and repeat within 10 days to stop reinfestation.

Trends in breeding: Reducing the size of the plant and the flower. Producing ‘blood-red’ flowers (Maudiae x Charlesworthii).

Costs for Paphiopedilums have continued to rise as only one firm has only just successfully cloned and produced tissue culture. Seedling flasks can cost from $700 for complex Paphs of 20 plantlets and in Japan flasks can reach $1000. Chris has begun sending his seed pods overseas for culture as there is a lack of breeding facilities in New Zealand.

Many thanks for sharing your wealth of knowledge Chris. We thoroughly enjoyed your talk and wish you all the best in finding a new home and setting up your new shade house and business in Napier.

November, Popular Vote:

Brian Enticott’s Pleurothallis grobyi was the winner.

Diane Hintz Epi. Pacific Geyser x Pacific Sunset 2nd

Barry Curtis Zygo. Redvale 3rd

Display Plants:
(* = Note correct &/or new name) ([ ] = Not identified)

Barry Curtis: Phal. Hsinying Earthquake x Phal. equestris; Phal. Flight of Birds x Super Stupid; Phal. Unnamed; Masd. Unnamed (John Noble Collection); Miltoniopsis Bremen x Paida Jean; Miltoniopsis Lawless Surprise; Paph. curtisii; Epi. Pacific Glow; Oda. Unnamed; Sarcochilus – 7 assorted.

Conrad Coenen: Lycaste Leo; Lyc.aromatica; Den. victoriae-reginae; Ansellia africana; Den.farmerii v. aureoflavum.

Brian & Natalie Simmonds: C. Aussie Sunrise ‘Cosine Fire’; Den. victoriae-reginae x Kuniko (= Mayumi)*; Angraecum germinyanum.

Barbara Nalder: Masd. Peppermint Rock; Sarco. Star Struck x2; Sarco. George Colthrup;
Sarco. Pink Unknown x2; Sarco. Yvette; Sarco. roseus x hartmannii ‘Charles Dew’ ; Sarco. Issy’s Rainbow.

Mary Parkinson: Chysis bractescens; Epi. Secret Valley ‘Desert Sky’ x Pacific Eclipse

Diane Hintz: Sarco. Dove x2; Sarco. Fantastic; Cym. Sweet Devon x pumilum; Cym. Pat Kajikawa; C. Highland Blush; Epi. Pacific Contrast x Pacific Sunset ‘Water Melon Man’ Paph. delenatii f. vinicolor.

Sandra Simpson: Sarco. hartmannii; Sarco. Cherie x Star Struck; Sarco. Toowoomba Magic; Pleurothallis amparoana; Maxillaria variabilis; Phal. Unnamed; Den. Lutin Blanc; Cymbidium, browny-yellow, name unknown; Odm. Margarete Holm*.

Ute Rank: Masd. no name (ex John Noble Collection); Masd. coccinea ‘Waterloo’; Masd. ? x burfordiense; Sarco. Pixie Pearls; Sarco. no Name – grown from flask.

Brian Enticott: Masd. Tuakau Candy.