Orchid News – December 2009

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Christmas Greetings

This will be the last newsletter for 2009, so I would like to wish everyone a Happy Christmas and may 2010 be good for us and our orchids.


  • 3 Dec CHOS General Meeting – Awards
  • 5 Dec Christmas picnic at Botanic Gardens.
  • 27 Jan Committee meeting
  • 4 Feb First meeting for 2010.
  • 10 Feb Committee meeting.
  • 13 Feb Visit to Dark Star Orchids.

2009/10 Office Bearers

The AGM has elected these people for 2009/10

  • President: Don Turner
  • Vice President: Steve Clemesha
  • Secretary: Ed Pearce
  • Treasurer: Bruce Hall
  • Committee: Glad Fleming
  • Committee: Gary Suter
  • Committee: Sue Williams

And the following have been appointed to these tasks

  • Show Marshall: Ivy Wheeler
  • Asst Show Marshall: Bill Bright
  • Editor: Ed Pearce
  • Asst Editor: Bob Griffin
  • Publicity: Bruce Hall
  • Membership: Bruce Hall
  • Librarian: Joy Kelly, Pauline George
  • Public Officer: Steve Clemesha
  • Catering: Sue Williams, Barb Pearce
  • Raffle Plants: Betty Pittaway
  • Raffle Sales: Clem Murray
  • Sales Table: Glad Fleming
  • Monthly Comp Points: Steve Newman
  • Photography: John Higgins

Pauline and Betty were thanked for their service to the members. They have been on committee for several years and decided to step down.

Growing Competition

How is your Miltassia going? This plant was given to us by Murray Shergold when he visited and gave a deflasking demonstration earlier this year. He will be back to visit us in 2010 and will be giving some prizes for the best grown plants. Even if your plant is not doing well please persevere with it so you can bring it along when Murray returns. We can sometimes learn more from our problems than we can from successes.

Bus trip

Thanks to Ivy for organising such an enjoyable bus trip. It was good to get people from the Nambucca, Bellingen, Coffs Harbour and Woolgoolga societies together for the trip and for us to be able to share our love of orchids.

 Some happy bus trippers!

Some happy bus trippers!

We visited Burnbank, Robertson, Aranbeem and Brighton orchid nurseries, and a huge bromeliad nursery. We bought lots and lots and lots of plants. Bus driver Tony had to work hard to fit everything in, even with the trailer he towed.

 Sue with some purchases

Sue with some purchases

We also visited two private orchid collections belonging to members of the Redcliffe O.S. They were impressive. I appreciated being able to talk with the growers about how they were growing their orchids, and why.

We had excellent accommodation at the La Vida Apartments, and good meals at the nearby RSL and Belvedere café. A couple of people also had good wins on the pokies at the RSL.


It was a most enjoyable trip with lots of laughter. And who locked Norm Mitchell in a shade house? (Why did we let him out?)

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Christmas picnic

We will be having our Christmas picnic at the Botanic Gardens on Saturday 5th December from 12 o’clock. Cold meat and salad will be provided, members are asked to bring their own drinks, a chair, a small plate to share and a Christmas gift to value of $5.

We will need to know how many are attending by the next meeting, so if you will not be at the December meeting, but you would like to come to the picnic, please let someone from the committee know.

Gordon Clarke’s Talk

Gordon talking about his Phalaenopses at our meeting – photo John Higgins

Gordon talking about his Phalaenopses at our meeting – photo John Higgins

At our November meeting Gordon Clarke spoke enthusiastically about the advantages of growing Phalaenopses – fairly easy to grow, quick to flower and long lasting flowers. They are quite resilient, and there is plenty of variety in colour, size and appeal.

They will cope with short periods of heat and cold – not frost – and have little disease if grown well. Gordon displayed a range of plants in flower, and also spoke of the miniature varieties that are appearing now.

“Phallies” are strong growing with surface roots and he recommends Campbell’s yellow fertiliser – half strength every 2 weeks. Since they don’t have bulbs or canes as a reservoir of food the mix must be kept moist and they need fertiliser. Gordon stressed the need for Potassium in the fertiliser.

He uses a mix with bark, peat, styrene, perlite and gravel. The only pest he finds is mealy bug which he treats with Fortune 500. They can be re-potted any time in the growing season – October to April, and this may be done several times. New roots indicate the need to re-pot.

They need good air movement, and they need protection from the sun. Gordon advises buying young plants, since they have a life span of 8 to 10 years.

A hint for encouraging spiking is to thoroughly flush pots, then water with Magnesium Sulphate – 1 teaspoon per litre for 2 weeks – then flush thoroughly and back to regular fertiliser.

“Phallies” can grow inside near an open window, and flowers should last 6 to 8 weeks.

 One of Gordon’s Phalaenopses – photo John Higgins

One of Gordon’s Phalaenopses – photo John Higgins

In summary, Gordon’s do’s and don’ts for successful growing of Phalaenopses are


  • Feed frequently at half strength
  • Keep cool in summer and warm in winter
  • Keep well shaded with good air flow
  • Mist leaves often in summer


  • Expose to direct sunlight
  • Use high nitrogen fertiliser
  • Over water – damp, but not saturated
  • Let mix dry out
  • Leave water in crown of plant.

Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be our Christmas awards meeting on 3rd December at the Botanic Gardens. We will have a shortened business section, with membership awards and the monthly competition prizes.

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One of the benefits of the bus trip was that it gave us a chance to talk and share ideas with members of other societies.

Here are our 4 presidents – Brian, Ken, Don and Howard. Thanks to Dulcie for this photo.

Here are our 4 presidents – Brian, Ken, Don and Howard. Thanks to Dulcie for this photo.


If you have photos that you think might be used in the newsletter, please e-mail them to me. If I use photos I will acknowledge the source of these. Thanks to Harold Keane for the photo on the cover of this newsletter.

Visit to Dark Star Orchid Nursery 2010

It is planned to visit Hans Schaible’s Dark Star Orchid Nursery in Bowraville on Saturday 13th Feb. There is limited car parking at the nursery and we can only take about 12 people. We will take bookings at our February meeting, and if there are more than this who would like to go we will organise a second trip.

Orchidwiz Program

After further consideration, the committee has agreed to accept the offer of an orchid research program from Orchidwiz for us to use to raise funds for the society.

This program was provided to the judging panels across NSW.

There will be more information soon but you might like to find out more about the program by going to http://www.orchidwiz.com. This excellent program gives up to date information about most species and hybrids.

We plan to sell raffle tickets for this program.

Agenda for December general meeting

    1. Travel agent – trip to NZ in March 2010.
    2. BCU Statements.
    3. Letter from Harold Keane re show photos
    4. Port Macquarie dates
    5. A/c from Independent
    6. OSNSW Newsletter
    1. Thanks to Betty, Pauline.
    2. Thanks to Gordon Clarke.
    3. Thanks to Ivy.
    4. Get well for Pam Baillie
    5. Thanks to Harold.
    6. Get well card for Eric

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PO BOX 801, Coffs Harbour NSW 2450

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Ed Pearce (President)

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