July 2015: Newsletter 370

Annual Judging Seminar & OCNZ AGM, June 3-6

What a relief to have fine weather for our visitors to Tauranga over Queen’s Birthday weekend, only turning to rain on the Monday as members headed for home or the Open Garden visits.

Thank you all for the amazing support, assistance and supply of beautiful orchids to extend the judges’ display. Throughout the weekend the Committee received such favourable comments about the venue, the caterers, and the organisation, that we were extremely proud of our efforts to run a great event and promote Tauranga and our Orchid Society.

A very special word of thanks to Natalie and Brian for the huge effort they put into the organisation and day-to-day running of the event. They were there whenever the doors were open, from midday Friday until 7pm on Sunday. Natalie’s input has been invaluable from the first request to host the event last June, to liaising with the NZ Orchid Council, handling the registrations, meeting and greeting registrants and finally farewelling them.

Also thanks to Mary and her helpers for the magnificent floral decoration in the foyer and the lovely posies on the tables for the Saturday dinner. There were some very happy ladies leaving the dinner that night clutching these beautiful posies.

Many thanks also to our hardworking Committee for their input and assistance during our preparation and the running of the weekend. The registrants’ goodie bags held a nice array of Tauranga memorabilia, historic artwork from Bruce Irwin and some nice munchies. Thanks to Conrad we had great support from Daltons who supplied us with a wide range of their products for the raffles and lucky prizes at the dinner. (It would be nice if club members supported Daltons and let them know you are from the Orchid Society.)

The weekend’s events ran very smoothly, with the Judging Seminar held from Saturday morning to Sunday lunch time. When we were setting out the orchids on Friday we had to continually add more tables as the plants flooded in for the display. They were amazing and in many ways it was sad that we were not having a show to allow everyone to see these fabulous orchids.

The dinner on Saturday evening was a resounding success, with 80 attending and fitting the dining area perfectly. The attendees from all around New Zealand were able to mingle with friends they hadn’t seen since last year and sit together to eat and chat. The dinner was served, as it would be at home, with all the dishes delivered to each table for self-service. The meal was delicious and compliments for the caterers were endless.

After speeches and presentations, TOS had the opportunity to celebrate its 35th birthday, with Ron Maunder, our first president, cutting the cake and explaining how the club began. The evening ended with coffee and birthday cake for everyone.

Thanks also to Sandra for photographing the presentation side of the evening. Her photos of the Awarded members receiving their certificates were much appreciated and have been emailed around the country.

Sunday afternoon saw the formal side of the weekend with the OCNZ electing its new committee and smoothly running through the reports and remits. By 3pm the meeting was over and as we relaxed with afternoon tea the orchids were being collected and the hall cleared up. The new Council Committee held its first meeting while Natalie, Brian and I were finally able to sit and relax, feeling extremely pleased with a very successful event.

I finally have to thank the manager of Classic Cuisine and her staff, whose co-operation and expertise could not be faulted. Having the event in such a spacious, attractive setting with the dinner at the same venue produced a perfect conference for everyone.

– Barry Curtis

June Evening Meeting

Members present: 26.

Conrad Coenen, Diane Hintz and Barry Curtis presented “Orchid Growing Tips & Assistance”.

Diane and Conrad began by showing how to take rooted cuttings from a crowded Vanda plant. Vandas and Phalaenopsis are monopodial ( the plant grows from a continually upward growing stem, with no pseudobulbs to divide or split). As the plant lengthens, new roots grow from the leaf axils and when there are 3, the stem can be cut below the lowest one to produce a new plant. The roots are carefully tucked in a new pot and No 4 bark carefully added. A stake is placed on each side of the stem to give support while the roots develop in the bark.

All cut areas of the plant should be covered with Flowers of Sulphur or cinnamon to prevent infection entering the wound. The old plant would usually be discarded, but if it is still young and has green leaves, it might produce a new stem just below the cut-off point.

Conrad showed how some orchid plants (Aussie Dendrobiums and Phalaenopsis) can develop a young plant at the top of a growth or flower stalk. These are called kiekies (the Hawaiian word for ‘baby’) and when they have developed enough roots they can be broken off carefully and potted up to form a new plant.

The Phalaenopsis kiekie is better left on the mother plant, while sphagnum moss is packed around the roots and wrapped in Glad-wrap. When the plant has grown enough roots it may be cut off the mother plant and potted on its own.

Barry briefly discussed Cymbidium potting-on and division and demonstrated with two smaller plants. If the plant is young and in vigorous growth, there is nothing to be gained from dividing it. Remove it from the pot, tease out all the old bark, tidy up the roots, cutting off and discarding the old dark soft ones, and tuck them into a new pot with about 2-3cm of space to the rim. Feed in the new bark and work in among the roots with a knitting needle. When you can lift the plant up by the leaves, and it stays in the pot, you have done a good job. Place the pot in a shaded area and do not water for a week to allow broken roots to heal. Then begin light watering.

Dividing cymbidiums that have become root and pot bound is a more complicated procedure, and is easier to understand when watching. The basic concept is that the plant should be broken into clumps that contain 3 growing bulbs with leaves and 2 or 3 of the closest back-bulbs. The other old back-bulbs are discarded, the roots tidied up, cut areas are covered with Flowers of Sulphur and the plant potted, as discussed before.

There was a great amount of sharing of ideas, from the floor and among the speakers, to help people understand the reasons and outcomes. A very worthwhile evening that could easily be carried out again with different orchids.

Top Tip for Newbies: Orchids find it difficult to make full use of organic fertilisers in winter so switch to inorganic fertilisers which can be taken up by the plant straight away. A fertiliser lower in nitrogen (the N of N-P-K) is perfect as nitrogen is something they don’t need at this time of the year. Organic fertilisers are things like blood and bone, seaweed/fish liquid, sheep pellets – anything that is largely as it comes from nature. Inorganic fertilisers are generally those with a trade name, such as Phostrogen or BioGro, and come in crystallised form. They will also contain a mixture of trace elements which aid plant health. Remember to mix all fertilisers at a lower strength – half or even a quarter – for orchids. Find out as much as you can about the orchids you have – some won’t need fertiliser at all over the winter, while others will be fed, but less frequently.

Extract from Orchids for Dummies.

Culture Notes for July

Cattleyas: Try to keep plants above 7°C but open vents on sunny days to keep changing the air. Close vents mid-afternoon. Ease off the watering, keeping bark damp and that’s all.

Paphiopedilums: Reduce watering during these colder months and eliminate any overhead watering. As flower stems appear, slide in a fine skewer behind it and lightly attach the stem as it rises, to keep the slipper in an upright position. The flower will be presented neatly.

Hardcane Dendrobiums: In their natural habitat these orchids grow the new canes during the hot, wet months and flower during the slightly cooler drier months when they rely mainly on dew, at night or early morning. At this time of our year, water only in the mornings and then sparingly.0

Cymbidiums: There should be considerable activity during these winter months. Plants should be kept reasonably moist at all times, even during cool temperatures. If they are allowed to dry out the blooms will suffer. Stake those flower spikes to prepare for good display. Do not tie tightly, as the spike can be distorted. Check regularly. As the stem extends, the sheaths along the stem may be removed. This allows the stem to colour up, removes captured water and a place for insects to hide. Keep up your slug baiting.

From Orchids Month By Month by Hancock & Smith.

Popular Vote May

Ute Rank: Zygo. River Murray 1st
Lc. Sierra Skies ‘Leone’

Trevor & Pam Signal: Slc. unknown 2nd.

Sandra Simpson: Maxillaria picta 3rd.

Display Plants May

(* = Note correct &/or new name [?] = Not identified)

Barry Curtis: Lc Liptonii x C.Circle of Fire (= C.City Life); Paph. Krishna; Paph. insigne; Paph. unknown; Cym. Minuet ‘Green Queen’; Max. Calcutta [?]; Onc. bracteatum.

Brian & Natalie Simmonds: Lc. Molly Tyler x Slc. Skagway ‘Winter Fires’; Oda. Stirbic x Onc. forbesii; Onc. Onustum.

Isabel Clotworthy: Angreacum germinyanum; Masd. Hoosier Angel.

Trevor & Pam Signal: Odm. Anna-Claire; L. longipes x C. harrisoniae.

Ute Rank: Ceratostylus rubra; Lc. C G Roebling ‘Blue Indigo’ HCC/OCNZ (= C. gaskelliana x L. purpurata – a cross made originally in 1915 – reg. 1916).

*Popular Vote and Display Plants for June in the August newsletter.