Orchid News – April 2011

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  • 3 Apr Workshop
  • 7 Apr Orchid Tray Company – orchid growing products
  • 29, 30 Apr, 1 May – Autumn Show at Botanic Gardens
  • 5 May Neutrog – Chemicals
  • 2 Jun Ivy – Taiwan Orchid Show
  • 16 July 40th Anniversary Luncheon

April Meeting

Our guest speaker for the meeting on 7 April will be George Birss from the Orchid Tray Company.  George will be demonstrating a range of orchid growing accessories – pots, labels, marking pens, thermometers, ph meters, etc – and will talk about how to use them to help us grow better orchids.

As mentioned in the last newsletter they have a catalogue on their website at www.orchidtrays.com.au and George is offering 10% off any items ordered.  I encourage people to order to make sure he has the items you want.

George can be contacted on 0409 521869 or by e-mail at gbirss@bigpond.net.au


Our Autumn Show will be held at the Botanic Gardens in the last weekend of April as usual.  Setting up will be done on the evening of Thursday 28th April – plants will also be received early on the morning of 29th – with judging from 8.30 on Friday and the show will be open to the public by about 10 o’clock.

We will be drawing up a roster for people to assist with the Show.  Please help with this.

And we encourage everyone to enter some plants in the show. Let’s make sure we have a good display.

A reminder that we have a sales bench where people can sell any excess plants they have.


A reminder that the next workshop at Gordon’s – 26 Pullen Street, Woolgoolga – will be held on 3 April at 10 am (tea/coffee at 9.30). Please bring your own mix and pot (150x100mm)

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In the last 12 months we have had 1537 visits from 64 countries to our website.  Apart from Australia the country which has produced the most visits is USA, followed by the UK, Canada, Luxembourg and Russia.

On our website have photos and results of recent shows, newsletters, forms and a brief history of the society.

Judging School

There has been a clarification that the judging school in Port Macquarie – reported in previous newsletter – is for intending judges AND those who would like to learn more about orchids.


A reminder that members are requested to bring along something to share for supper.  We have not had enough food at the last couple of meetings.

What is an Orchid?

When asking this question one can get very complicated and technical but I will endeavour to simplify it a bit.

I would like to begin with a bit of History: Orchids have been talked about at least as far back as 2,500 years ago in Confucius’ times in China.  Modern Orchid growing started in the late 1700’s with the first hybrids coming on the scene in the 1850’s.

Wealthy English landowners would have people searching for Orchid varieties all over the world and have them shipped back to England.  Because understanding of the how’s and why’s of keeping these plants healthy were lacking many did not survive the trips home and many that did make it died in the Orchid houses because climatic conditions provided were unsuitable – often too hot and dry.

From these grand Orchid houses, nurseries for propagating would have been established with many Orchids deriving their names from them.

My father paid £100 for an orchid back bulb in the 1950’s so it wasn’t a hobby for the faint hearted.

As growing became more established the price was reduced but it was still an expensive hobby to have. Cloning was a big breakthrough since this made many more good quality orchids available at a reasonable price. Interestingly Paphiopedilums aren’t able to be cloned.

Orchids are found in a wide variety of habitats from tropics to snow, and grow on every continent except Antarctica.

TAXONOMY – the science of classification, e.g. dividing living things into plants and animals.

This can be a very complicated study. I am simplifying this and focussing on the orchid family, or orchidacea. (see later in this newsletter)

Orchids are broken down to groups such as Oncidium, Dendrobiums, Cymbidiums, Bulbophyllum and Vanda. Some of these orchids are being renamed due to DNA studies.

Orchids can be recognised because they all have 5 petals and a lip, or more correctly 2 petals, 3 sepals and a lip.


Species orchids can be considered as orchids that are found growing in nature. E.g. Dendrobium kingianum can be found growing in the bush on the mid north coast.  Hybrids are generally man made crosses of different species e.g. Dendrobium Gracious Falcon is a cross of Dendrobium gracilicaule with Dendrobium falcorostum.  Hybrids can be crossed with each other, and we can sometimes cross plants from different genera. E.g. Miltassia is a cross of a Miltonia with a Brassia.

Orchid Societies like OSNSW give awards for special plants.

Propagation:  How do you get new Orchids? The main methods used are:

  • Division – where big plants are broken up into several smaller plants
  • There is also pollination that was demonstrated by Danny Bell and Steve Clemesha last year.
  • Cloning also demonstrated by Danny Bell last year.

Cloning can sometimes produce a less vigorous plant.  Most Orchids can be cloned except for Slippers.  What will the situation be in a hundred years time? There is every likelihood that there will be many more varieties and colours.

Black and Blue are not natural colours to Orchids and these may very well be next on the agenda.

As we continually increase our understanding of genetic codes it may well cause even more renaming of Orchids and things we may not be able to do now with growing etc may become very possible for the future.

A good reference for this information is the Brisbane Orchid Society.

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Agenda for April 2011 Meeting

Welcome, Apologies, Visitors.

Minutes of February meeting

Business Arising

Committee Report – see newsletter

Inwards Correspondence

  • Neutrog
  • Geebung Gazette and feedback forms.
  • City of Lismore Orchid Society Autumn show schedule.
  • MacLean District Orchid Society Autumn show schedule.
  • BCU bank statement.
  • Newsletter from OSNSW

Outwards Correspondence

Finance Report – see newsletter

Sponsors Spot – Mangrove Jacks.

Table talk.

General Business

Guest speaker.  – George Birss from Orchidtray Company.

Raffle, popular vote.

Minutes for March 2010 Meeting

Apologies – Leone Strauss, Ron and Judy, Norm and Kay Pauline, Ivy, Bob Southwell, Pat King.

Minutes Feb Meeting – Mvd Brian, Scd Steve (Some people didn’t receive the email version of the news letter.  This was re-sent.)

Business Arising –

  • 40th Birthday discussion with ideas and decisions made at the committee meeting put to the members.  Date decided would be the 16 July 2011 as a midday function.
  • Orchid Tray Company – a reminder that they will be taking online and phone orders to bring with them when they are our guest speakers.
  • A reminder to bring a plate along to supper.
  • Letting new members know that if they see Don Turner he will arrange for a nametag to be made up for them.

Committee report – as printed in newsletter.

Correspondence In

  • BCU statement
  • Tinonee catalogue
  • Alstonville OS – schedule for Autumn Show
  • Westpac Rescue Helicopter.
  • Orchids Australia magazine

Correspondence out

  1. Get well to Murray Shergold

Finance report – Bruce referred to report printed in newsletter.  Mvd Bruce, Scd Glad That report be approved.

Sponsor’s spot – Ed recommended Ludo’s Old Wares.  Ludo is a good supporter of our society.

Table Talk.  The judges for the night were Ken, John and Selisa.  Ken gave a table talk.

General Business

  • Peter Baker showed us the results of a home flasking exercise.
  • Next learners class will be on the 3rd  April – Please bring your own mix and Pot (150x100mm)
  • Gordon drew our attention to a fungus that is affecting plants.  Doug Binns assured us that this fungus is species specific and doesn’t affect orchids.  We were reminded of the importance of good hygiene with our plants.

Raffle, F87 Pam, F31 Don Turner, F84 Barbara Hunt

Committee Report

The March Committee meeting was held at Ed’s on 9th March.  Carole Davis was welcomed to the committee.  Matters discussed were

  • Sponsorships
  • 40th Anniversary Lunch
  • Autumn Show
  • Hessian for tables for Shows
  • Working bee to paint boxes
  • Supper arrangements at meetings

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PO BOX 801, Coffs Harbour NSW 2450

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

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