Orchid News – April 2010

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  • 22 Apr General meeting – Talk by Railways.
  • 29 Apr 2 May Autumn Show at Botanic Gardens
  • 6 May Murray Shergold – talk on Oncidiinae Alliance
  • 1 June Denis Sinclair on Sarcochilus


Most of our 2009 sponsors have agreed to sponsor us again in 2010. Their generous support is very much appreciated. It allows us to provide a range of services for our members, such as a newsletter, guest speakers, prizes, etc and still keep our annual subscriptions low.

What we ask is that you support our sponsors where this is appropriate.

April Meeting

Please note that our April meeting will be on 22nd April. This is because the Botanic Gardens Hall was not available on 1st April because of another booking for Easter and the school holidays. Please mark this in your calendar.

Growing Competition

Our guest speaker for the meeting on 6th May will be Murray Shergold from Easy Orchids. He will be speaking on the Oncidiinae Alliance e.g. Beallara, Miltassia, Odontocidium, Degarmoana, Colmanara, etc.

And he will be judging the growing competition for the plants that he gave us after his deflasking demonstration last year. How is your plant going? Please bring it along, even if it doesn’t seem to have done much. Murray will talk about the plants and give some suggestions. The plant was Miltassia Charles M Finch.

Autumn Show

Preparations are well underway for our Show at the Botanic Gardens at the end of April. How are your plants going? Even if you don’t have any plants that you think will win a prize please bring them along so that we have a good display of plants for the public.

Please note that plants for the display need to be brought to the gardens between 6 p.m. and 7.30 p.m. on Thursday 29th April, or between 7.30 a.m. and 8.30 a.m. on Friday 30th April. There is a copy of the show schedule on our website. The secretary has a few spare copies.

Ivy is looking for people to help out with the various jobs which make the show a success. Anyone with items for our raffle should see Bruce Hall. Please note we are after QUALITY plants.

Preparing plants for a show

At our March meeting Steve Clemesha spoke about preparing plants for a show. Using orchids from the members on the night, Steve covered topics on cleaning up the orchid plants in removing all dead and decaying matter from the plant. A number of aspects on staking plants for presentation were also given. Suggested that staking should occur while plant is still in bud, normally stake to lowest branch if a branched spray and don’t have stake above highest flower.

Consideration was given to the flowers, any marks, and the number of open buds per spray, damaged flowers and the like.

The treatment of diseased plants, along with the treatment of pests was also talked about. Carefully check plants for disease – please don’t bring diseased plants to show. Scale and mealy bug can be removed with white oil. Leaves can be cleaned with white oil or milk.

Steve’s talk generated a number of questions in relation to labeling, whether the plant is a species or hybrid. Duties of the show marshal.

Growing Softcane Dendrobiums

Part Three. Following from March Coffs Orchid News, this is taken from a chapter by Sandy Anderson – one of our life members in the booklet “Orchid Culture by leading North Coast Growers”

 An example of a soft cane Dendrobium

An example of a soft cane Dendrobium


Size of pots, type of potting material and water frequency are all inter related. In brief, the smaller the pot and the more open the mix, the more often watering will be needed. However, don’t use larger pots or finer mixes than necessary. We grow our single flowering cane plants in 100mm (4”) pots and a mix of 2/3 Casuarina bark ( ¼” to ½” grade and1/3rd perlite and water well in the late afternoon daily during summer. On hot days (over 30 degrees C) we give a 4 to 5 minute watering once or twice during the day, mainly to increase the humidity.

Repotting is done as soon after flowing as possible and before the roots on the new leads can be damaged. If any organic material is used in the mix such as bark etc. 2 years will be about its limit.

When dividing or trimming old growths at re potting time we leave 3 years growth on the plants. These old canes act as a reservoir for food for new growth.


These orchids are subject to attack by pests that growers know only too well and are treated with insecticides appropriate to the pest. The exception to that is leaf spotting. This is caused by a fungus and we control it completely with a fungicide spraying every week. We are still using Captan, but when our supply runs out we will try Dithane 45 which was recommended to us by the Agricultural Department


Soft canes Dens need a cooling off to initiate flower buds. Yamamoto says a month of nights at about 10 deg is needed, but we believe 13 deg is cool enough. If plants are placed in a good position where good light reaches the full length of the flowering cane at bud initiation time, you will find that they develop over a greater length. If crowded together at that time flowering will be confined to only the top sections.


A porous floor covering that can be kept wet. Sawdust or wood chips are good or some sort of plant growing on the floor will improve humidity. The closer your soft canes are grown to the floor the better. Hanging plants to the roof provides the lowest humidity.

Polystyrene boxes turned upside down, with holes cut in them to the pot size with a sharp knife are good to hold plants upright and trap moisture in the root area -a definite plus.

It will also help if plants are grown fairly close together for the hot growing season but space wider in autumn for better flowering.

Flowers are long lasting but this can be extended by keeping the plants cool and the flowers dry when watering.


  1. Fertilize and water freely all summer.
  2. Stop fertilizing not later than mid March
  3. Water all year if conditions are dry.
  4. Grow under plenty of light and air movement
  5. Sit back and enjoy the results


Orchidwiz Raffle

The society has now received the Orchidwiz program. It is an encyclopaedia of orchids and has most species and hybrids, together with photos and awards. If you are interested in learning more about the program there is a demonstration at the website – www.orchidwiz.com The program comes with instructions about loading it onto your computer, and there is a help desk available if you have any problems.

We are planning to raffle this to raise funds for the society. Members of the committee have raffle tickets. The program can be purchased for $(US) 259 and there are annual updates available. We are selling raffle tickets for $5.

Even if you don’t have a computer you might like to buy a ticket. If you win the prize you might like to give it to a friend, or to the society.

Orchidwiz is the world’s most complete and accurate orchid research software. Updated through December 2009 with the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) Sander’s hybrid registrations and through September 2009 with the American Orchid Society’s (AOS) awards. This is the most current data available. The price includes the ability to install the program on two computers, plus 60 days of technical support. The default installation is a DVD. If you would prefer to install from CD-ROM please email support@orchidwiz.com after the purchase.

  • Easy to use
  • Accurate
  • Comprehensive
  • Up-To-Date
  • Inventory and track your own orchids in the Orchidwiz Journal
  • Add your own photographs into the Journal.
  • Almost 40,000 colour photographs of orchids.
  • Genealogy charts for more than 127,000 hybrids.
  • Information on more than 29,000 species.
  • 67,000 “other names” to search by, including prior genus assignments, species varieties, synonyms and common misspellings. These names provide a cross reference and are linked to the main and accepted names via look-up tables.
  • Award data from the American Orchid Society, Cymbidium Society of America, Australian Orchid Council, and the Orchid Council of New Zealand, a total of more than 73,000 awards.
  • Over 79,000 hybrids with at least one parent image; 27,000 hybrids with both.
  • More than 146,000 references to orchid photos contained in 2,300 publications.
  • 2,347 genera, of which 920 natural and 1,427 hybrids.
  • 16 distinct breeding groups provided for ease of search and analysis.
  • Complete data from 2,649 Charles Baker cultivation sheets displayed in graphical form.
  • Photographic references for almost 16,000 species.
  • Geographical distributions of over 26,000 species.
  • Month-by-month flowering times for more than 5,300 species.
  • Common names for 4,500 species.
  • Comprehensive culture recommendations for all hybrids (based on species composition) and for thousands of species.
  • Light intensity recommendations for 4,100 species.
  • Night temperature recommendations for 3,900 species.
  • Source of author and publication for over 26,000 species.
  • Over 1,000 noted fragrant species.
  • Almost 5,700 noted epiphytic species.
  • Almost 400 noted lithophytic species.
  • Almost 900 noted terrestrial species.
  • Relative sizes of over 2,600 species (i.e., miniature, small, medium).
  • More than 1,200 species which bloom for a long time or are frequent bloomers.
  • Information on 5,500 hybridizers, including names and, most often, addresses.
  • Over 37,000 orchids with one or more progeny listed.
  • Look-up references to over 31,000 photographs in Awards Quarterly and Register of Awards.
  • Species classified by 5 subfamilies, 21 tribes and 77 sub tribes.
  • Look-up orchids by new taxonomic names or by older more familiar Sander’s names.

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Launch of our Website

The Coffs Harbour Orchid Society has launched its web-site to promote orchid growing in the Coffs Coast region. The website was designed by local developer Paul Wicker.

The site is found at http://www.CoffsOrchidSociety.org.au . It has copies of monthly newsletters, contact details for the society, details of sponsors, photos, and information about shows, some general growing information and the program for meetings in 2010.

Members with suggestions about the website should contact the secretary.

 Secretary Ed Pearce with website developer Paul Wicker

Secretary Ed Pearce with website developer Paul Wicker

Bellingen AGM

Please note that the Bellingen Orchid Society AGM is being held at 10 am on Monday 19th April at the Uniting Church Hall in Bellingen. All welcome.

Agenda for April 2010 Meeting

    1. BCU Statements.
    2. Casino O.S. – Executive and Show dates
    3. BCU Cheque book
    4. Port Macquarie O.S. – Mothers Day Show
    5. Sympathy thank you – Collins
    6. Lismore O.S – Autumn Show
    7. Nambucca O.S. – Show 5-8 May
    1. Best wishes to Don
    2. Sympathy to Dot and Eric
    3. Thanks to sponsors
    4. Insurance to OSNSW
    1. Organising for Autumn Show.
    1. Ivy will speak briefly about the growth rates of orchids.
    2. Speaker from Railcorp will talk about the range of services available.

Minutes for March 2010 Meeting

Acting President S. Clemesha welcomed 25 plus members to the meeting. There were no recorded visitors at the meeting, the following members were recorded as apologies Joy Kelly, Ed Pearce. Don Turner, Bernie Hoffman, Sue Williams, Diane Blake, Wayne Anderson.

  • MINUTES. Moved Norm, Second Glad that minutes as printed in the newsletter be approved.
  • BUSINESS ARISING. There was no business arising.
  • COMMITTEE REPORT. No discussion held on this item at the meeting.
  • FINANCE. Bruce referred the meeting to the report in the N/Letter, with the F/ Report approved by the meeting.Bruce introduced the Orchidwiz program to members including the committee’s intention to conduct a raffle of the program at $5.00 a ticket, outlining some of the attributes of the program, before inviting members to purchase a ticket in a raffle.
  • CORRESPONDENCE. All correspondence in and outwards to be held over until the next meeting, with the exception of a letter tabled from the Woolgoolga Orchid Society advising that Society dates for their Annual Orchid Show.
  • SPONSORS SPOT. This section held over until the next members meeting.
    1. Meeting advised that Smokey Cape Orchids will hold its open day on the 28 of this month.
    2. Pat and Peter King were welcomed into the Society by Steve with a small presentation made and a brief account of their recent move from to Coffs from Sydney along with establishing their orchid collection here in the warmer climate.
    3. Barb Pearce advised the meeting of the coming Seniors Week and a series of activities to take place. There is also provision for an orchid display as per last year. Members were canvassed for plants for a display; however at this stage more work/plants will be required.
  • GUEST SPEAKER. Steve Clemesha addressed the meeting in presenting flowing plants for showing in particular for judging.
  • Table talk given by E. Collins.
  • Popular Vote won by E. Collins with a large and well grown Den. Bigibbum.
  • Raffle won by B. Mayled (drew her own ticket), B. Bright, P. Baker, P.Wallace.

Meeting closed for supper at 8.20 p.m.

2010 Program

We have been inviting speakers for our meetings in 2010, and the speakers organised so far are:

  • 4 Feb Ray Clements on growing natives
  • 4 Mar Steve Clemesha on preparation for Shows
  • 22 April Railways on services available
  • 6 May Murray Shergold on Oncidiinae alliance
  • 3 June Dennis Sinclair on Sarcochilus
  • 1 Jul TBC
  • 5 Aug Ron Alexander on hybridising natives
  • 2 Sep Bernie Hoffman – pollination
  • 14 Oct Danny Bell on flasking
  • 4 Nov AGM. Ivy Wheeler – slipper orchids
  • 2 Dec Christmas meeting and annual awards.

Committee Report

The committee had its March meeting at Ivy’s on 10 March. Committee discussed the March general meeting – agreed that we would not sell bromeliads on the sales bench, but decided to consider further question of selling orchids for members not present at meeting.

Good to see we had access to kitchen this time.

Discussed arrangements for Autumn Show – things are going well. Let’s hope for good weather again.

We agreed not have an April meeting.

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PO BOX 801, Coffs Harbour NSW 2450

Ph: 02 6650 9578 | 0418 519908
Ed Pearce (President)

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