I have been a member of the Noosa District Orchid &
Foliage Society for 12 years and have just had the
honour of being awarded life membership.
From a young age, growing up in suburban Sydney,
I always had a love of plants, mainly succulents at
that stage. When I was 12, I was given some
Cymbidium orchid backbulbs which I duly planted
in jam tins and waited 5 years for them to mature
and flower. That was the year I left school.
From that point, I was Ďhookedí and my new hobby began to grow, with frequent trips to Orchid Nurseries to increase my collection. Many books were read and lectures attended to enhance my knowledge of these beautiful plants. Years later and a family in tow, I brought the cymbidiums to Queensland, ignoring advice from other orchid growers that they would not thrive in the sub-tropics. I decided to prove everyone wrong - but alas - disaster. They did not flower.
I then realised I had to grow orchids suited to the sub tropics so visited Robertsonís Nursery at Woombye with $200 in my pocket and asked John for a selection of orchids which I could successfully grow here in Noosa.
Well, I had never realised how many different types of Dendrobiums there were, let alone the Cattleya, Vanda and Oncidium alliances, so thought I had best join the local Orchid Society to gain some cultivation expertise. That was in 2003. Little by little, I gradually sorted my hard canes from my soft canes and Brassavolas from Brassias.
There is so much to be learned at Orchid Club meetings by asking questions, listening and observing. Attending our own Orchid Shows, as well as those of the other Clubs in our area has also been an excellent source of information, as well as enjoying the camaraderie of like-minded people. Being on the NDOFSí committee for many years has also given me the opportunity to learn a little more about other memberís cultivation techniques.
They say orchid growing is a disease and it certainly is - I canít stop buying more and more orchids, even some that are a challenge to grow here, e.g. Miltoniopsis.
Unlike most other Club members, I donít have a shade house, just a pergola with 50% shadecloth on the roof and roll down sides of 50% shadecloth for the summer months. Thereís certainly no trouble with ventilation, but the dendrobium beetle does present a few problems.
Nevertheless, I am totally addicted to orchid growing and would recommend it to any plant lovers who like a challenge.
I love all my orchids but would have to say my favourite is my recently acquired Rl. Digbyana.