Orchid News – June 2012

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7 June Murray Shergold – Ansellia africana

16 June Walk to see some native orchids

19 July Peter King – growing Cymbidiums.

June Meeting

Murray Shergold from Easy Orchids in Woodburn will be our guest speaker at the June meeting.  He will be talking about Ansellia africana which he says is like the Australian speciosum.  We are being given a preview of the talk he will be giving at the Australian Orchid Conference being held in Perth in September.

Murray and Jean will bring some plants and supplies to sell, but if you want to buy something from their catalogue, available at http://www.easyorchids.com, you should call them on 6682 2635 to order.  They will bring orders with them and hence you will save on postage.


As was mentioned in the meeting last meeting, Steve Clemesha will be leading a bush walk to see some native terrestrial orchids in the Bongil Bongil national Park on 16th June.  It will be an easy 2 or 3 hour walk (depending how quickly we walk) on flat ground.

We will meet at 10 am where the Repton/Mylestom Road turns left off the Pacific Highway.

July Meeting

A reminder that our July meeting will be on 19th July because of school holidays which means that our meeting room will not be available on our usual meeting date of 5th July.

Peter King will be talking about growing Cymbidiums here in Coffs Harbour.

Autumn Show

A big thank you to Ivy Wheeler as Show Marshall and Bill Bright as assistant Show Marshall for all their efforts to organise and run our Autumn Show at the end of April.

Thanks too to all those who helped by supervising, by selling plants or raffle tickets, by bringing plants for sale or by bringing plants for our display.

Bronwen and Bruce at the raffle table

Bronwen and Bruce at the raffle table

The number of plants on display was down on last year – many people found that the weather caused some plants to flower earlier than usual, and some to flower later, and this was also seen at other Shows in neighbouring societies.

Congratulations again to Norm and Kay Mitchell for their Grand Champion Dendrochilum cobbianum.  They also won a Grand Champion with this plant a few years ago.

Grand Champion                  N&K Mitchell

Reserve Champion              I Wheeler

Champion Specimen           N&K Mitchell                       

Section A – Cymbidium

2.     Miniature and intermediate

  • 1st            L. Small
  • 2nd           S. Williams

Champion Cymbidium        L. Small

Section B – Laeliinae

1. 100mm and over

  • 1st            B&J Lennon
  • 2nd           B&J Lennon

2. 60 mm to 100mm

  • 1st           G. Clarke
  • 2nd           B&J Lennon

3. Under 60 mm

  • 1st            B&J Lennon

4. Cluster hybrid

  • nil

5. Novelty

  • 1st            B&J Lennon
  • 2nd           D. Turner

Champion Laeliinae          B&J Lennon

Section C – Phalaenopsis

1. Exhibition – white or pink

  • 1st            E. Pearce

2. Any other colour over 60 mm

  • 1st            G. Clarke
  • 2nd           G. Clarke

3. Any other colour under 60 mm

  • nil

 Champion Phalaenopsis G. Clarke 

Section D – Vandaceous

1. Over 60 mm

  • 1st            E. Pearce

2. Under 60 mm

  • 1st            I. Wheeler
  • 2nd           I. Wheeler

Champion Vandaceous    I. Wheeler

Section E – Paphiopedilum

1. Standard

  • 1st            P&P King
  • 2nd           E. Pearce

2. Maudiae type

  • 1st            P&P King

3. Hybrid multifloral

  • nil

4. Phragmipedium

  • 1st            I. Wheeler

Champion Paphiopedilum              P&P King

A nice Laelia alliance orchid

A nice Laelia alliance orchid

Section F – Dendrobium (not native)

1. Hard cane over 50 mm

  • 1st            E&D Collins
  • 2nd           E&D Collins

2. Hard cane under 50 mm

  • 1st            J. Sidebottom

3. Spatulate

  • 1st            B&J Lennon
  • 2nd           E&D Collins

4. Any Other Dendrobium (not native)

  • 1st            E&D Collins
  • 2nd           E&D Collins

Champion Dendrobium   E&D Collins

Section G – Oncidiinae alliance

1. Starry Brassia Shaped Hybrid

  • 1st        N&K Mitchell
  • 2nd        N&K Mitchell

2. Rounder Odontoglossum shaped hybrid under 50

  • 1st        R&B Cooper
  • 2nd        L. Small

3. Rounder Odontoglossum shaped hybrid over 50

  • 1st        L. Small
  • 2nd        L. Small

4. Equitant

  • 1st        I. Wheeler

Champion Oncidium Alliance            R&B Cooper

Section H – Australian Native (Hybrid)

1. Dendrobium

  • 1st            P&P King
  • 2nd           P. Baker

2. Any other

  • nil

Champion Australian Native             P&P King

Section I – AOV hybrid

1. Any Other Variety Hybrid under 50 mm

  • nil

1A  Bulbophyllum

  • 1st            I. Wheeler
  • 2nd           I. Wheeler

2. Any other variety hybrid over 50 mm

  • 1st          E&D Collins
  • 2nd          N&K Mitchell

Champion AOV                                    I. Wheeler

Section J – Species

1. Cymbidium

  • No entry

2. Laeliinae

  • 1st            J. Sidebottom

3. Paphiopedilum

  • 1st            I. Wheeler

4. Phalaenopsis

  • 1st           I. Wheeler

5. Vandaceous

  • 1st            I. Wheeler
  • 2nd           B&J Lennon

6. Dendrobium – not native

  • 1st            P. Baker

7. AOV not native

  • 1st            N&K Mitchell
  • 2nd           N&K Mitchell

8. Australian native dendrobium

  • 1st            R&B Cooper
  • 2nd           R&B Cooper

9.    Native Species, not Dendrobium

  • 1st            B. Bright

10. Oncidium Alliance

  • 1st            I. Wheeler
  • 2nd           E&D Collins

Champion Species               N&K Mitchell

Section K – First Flowered Seedling

  • 1st            R&B Cooper
  • 2nd           B&J Lennon

Committee Report

The committee meet as usual at Mangrove Jacks on the Tuesday after our general meeting.  Main item was a review of the show.  Even though we had unsettled weather we were very happy with the show. Main issue discussed was ways to improve operation of roster.

Also some thought of providing coffee/tea, and/or a sausage sizzle at the next show. Any thoughts?

Coffs Harbour Agricultural Show

Thanks to everyone who helped with our display or with supervising our display at the Coffs Harbour Show.  We had a nice display of a wide range of orchids and there were many interested visitors.


We were pleased to have Sandy Anderson as our guest speaker today.  Sandy is a former president of our society and he ran an orchid business specialising in softcane dendrobiums before he retired..

Today he wanted to give us the best methods he has found to ensure we get healthy plants and beautiful blooms.

Soft canes are usually found in the lower Himalayas..  They have a monsoonal season there, which waters the plants well for a period of time, but during the dry season it is to be noted that fogs and heavy dews contribute to the watering during their resting period.  This lets us know that we must still water when our winter period begins.

He has found that during the growth season that Campbell’s yellow mixed with Epsom salts and builder’s lime does wonders for promoting healthy growth and flowers.

Quantities for this mix into a watering can 3/4 full of water:

  • Campbell’s Yellow   3g per litre of water
  • Epsom salts               1 level teaspoon Epsom Salts
  • Builders Lime           this is made up by putting a good handful of lime into a 2 litre bottle of water, shake well.  The lime will separate leaving a cloudy liquid. Pour 1 litre of this liquid into the watering can, mix, then fill the watering can with plain water.

N.B. it is well to note that you have to add these ingredients separately or an adverse chemical re-action will occur.  This mixture is great to use on all orchids.

The reason for not fertilizing during the winter months is that the canes have already absorbed enough nutrients, as the plant is now dormant it will not absorb any more.

Softcane dendrobiums at a recent show

Softcane dendrobiums at a recent show

The winter months which as a guide, usually begins on St Patrick’s Day for this orchid, is the time to stop fertilizing till Melbourne Cup Day (August).  Other areas may slightly differ e.g. colder regions may have a later finish and later start time.  Until temperatures reach approximately 14° flower production will not be initiated.  Do not be tempted to fertilise earlier when new canes are appearing as this will only promote leaf growth and not flowers.

Start fertilizing once a week then as Xmas approaches twice a week tapering off again after flowering has finished and ceasing in May.  Do not forget to also spray the leaves with the solution.

As the new fertiliser is applied the old will drain out of the pot.  Proof of this will be a white crust around the base of the pot.

Forest Oak bark 2/3 and Perlite1/3 well mixed is an excellent medium in which to grow these orchids, Forest Oak bark is hard to come by these days and a substitute bark may have to be used.  This mix only anchors the plant it doesn’t feed it in any way. There is usually a two-year break between changing pots.

To propagate a cane can be cut into segments (nodes) during the winter months and set into the potting mix then transferred into new pots when growth gets under way.  Removing leaves from canes in winter ensures new growth goes into flower production the leaves with be more easily removed at this time without damaging the plant.  Dispose of all leaves carefully especially any that have any fungus.

It is very tempting to cut off old canes but important not too.  They are what store the nutrients to ensure healthy new growth acting like bellows.  Even if they seem shriveled they will plump up during the fertilizing season. Sandy has had old canes remain and be productive in feeding the new growth for six years or more before removing.

There are notes and a video explaining all these necessary steps and should be available from the Coffs Orchid Society Library or see Carole Davis.

He has found that Mancozeb has been most effective as a fungus treatment.

Ensure ample light on your orchids during winter.

As an aside:

When your Cattleya’s are starting to extend over the side of the pot.  Place a bigger pot inside and fill gap with potting mix.  This gives the new roots something to dig into.  Wait until spring before repotting all of the plant into a bigger pot or if desired dividing may be also be done then.

Remember that cool nights and breezes can quickly dry out pots and a careful eye must be kept on them all year round to ensure they be kept damp.

Many thanks to Sandy for coming and availing us of his expertise.  We greatly appreciated it and found the morning very informative and beneficial.  Our thanks also to Brian and Gordon.

Easy Orchids Gift Certificates

We have some gift certificates from Easy Orchids as their sponsorship for us.  Anyone thinking of buying orchids or supplies from Easy Orchids should see Bruce Hall to buy some certificates.  This then benefits the society.

Monthly Display / Competition

A reminder that plants should be benched before 7.15 so that the yellow numbers can be placed by the plants for people to vote for popular plant.  Numbers will put out at 7.15.

Ron Cowling has the voting slips for popular vote.

He also has slips for members who are benching plants.  Please remember to put your name on the back of the slip when you are benching your plants.

A reminder too that the table talk will only highlight a few plants.  The complete set of results is published in the newsletter each month.

Norm Mitchell’s Coelogyne fimbiata which won Champion Specimen at the Show.

Norm Mitchell’s Coelogyne fimbiata which won Champion Specimen at the Show.

Agenda for June Meeting

Welcome, Apologies, Visitors, New members.

Minutes of May meeting – as printed in newsletter

Business Arising

Committee Report – refer to newsletter.

Inwards Correspondence

Outwards Correspondence

Sponsor’s spot

Finance Report – as printed in newsletter

Table talk

General business

  1. Nature walk on 16th June
  2. Autumn Show

Guest Speaker – Murray Shergold

Raffle, popular vote.

Minutes for May Meeting

Welcome to all members and visitors, 37 in all, on a very dismal night.

Apologies: Ivy Wheeler, Norm and Kay Mitchell, Carol Axford, Barbara Pearce, Ed Pearce, Peter Baker, Dianne Blake.

New Member:  Jean Wong  welcomed by Steve and given her plant.

Welcome: to visitors Helen Morrow, Ken Burnett and Wayne Becker

Minutes of April Meeting:   as per newsletter

Moved: Glenys Smith, Seconded: Sue Williams

Business Arising:  nil

Committee report: nil

Moved: Don Turner, Seconded: Judy Cowling

Correspondence in:

  • BCU Rollover of term deposit
  • Bill Xerox
  • Aranbeen Orchids

Correspondence out:

  • Sympathy card
  • Thanks to Orchid Tray
  • Thanks to new sponsor Coffs Harbour Produce.

Financial Report:

Moved: Bruce, Seconded: Ron

Preliminary Show expenses $3400 with an income of just over $3000 bit down on previous years due to the weather.

Coffs Harbour produce is our new sponsor and they have a good range of equipment. Bruce has asked them to put together a list of appropriate supplies and hopefully that will be ready soon.

Table Talk:

Bruce and Gary discussed a range presented although not many due to the terrible weather .

General Business:

  • Coffs Harbour Show is on 12th 13th May and we need people to supervise the display and we need orchids for the display. Please Help.
  • Workshop at Gordon Clarke’s Sunday 20th May.
  • 21st May at 10 am President of NSW Orchid Society Irene Bodell will be in Bellingen. If you can go please do. Uniting Church Bellingen.

Guest Speaker:  Steve Clemesha

Gave a very interesting talk on native orchids (epiphytes and ground orchids) especially those specific to this area.  Mentioned a walk in Bongil Bongil later in June. More info at next meeting.

Raffle Winners:  Paul, Bronwen and Don.

Popular Vote: Doug Binns.

Meeting Closed:  8:20

Thanks for attending. Next Meeting  7th June 2012.

A nice hardcane dendrobium at our show

A nice hardcane dendrobium at our show

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