KEW ORCHID HOUSE
I found out that there was an orchid show at Kew Botanical Gardens. ORCHIDS 2014 a plant hunters paradise opening this spring until March 9th. So we set off one damp February morning from Ely to Kings Cross and then by tube to Kew Gardens. By presenting our national rail tickets we obtained two for one entry tickets(saving£14.50). Kew was in early spring mode with swathes of snowdrops and early daffodils. The palm house was fabulous shelter from the drizzle and reminded me of rain forests I had visited.
The princess of Wales greenhouse, holding the Orchid display, is a remarkable building and one moves up from the entrance zone with the desert environments and cacti, to the far end of the enormous building there were huge mounted displays of Vanda, Oncidiums and Phalaenopsis. These perfect plants were mass mounted on arches around pillars and on verticals displays, they were impressive and colourful..
Then we went into the actual orchid display house with some fine specimens species plants on trees, banks, and in pots. There were also two huge cabinets with displays of fine species plants and some orchid information. This was a wonderful display and well worth the visit any time. As it was the orchid exhibition there were special bookable tours to see the main hidden collection of orchids in the private greenhouses. We met up in a group of only six with the friendly volunteer tour leader. We entered the main glass house in the staff only area, which is a structure of one and a half acres. The orchid collection consists of about 5000 orchid species, one of the biggest collections in the world.
There are five individuals orchid houses as part of the whole structure each of which was about 15metres by 30metres. They have different computer controlled environments such as Zone 18 Orchidaceae warm /intermediate. There are fine sprays that come on seemingly just as you uncover your camera, fans and electrically operated ceiling shutters. Biological control is used in the houses with carnivorous plants and other bio control agents to try and avoid chemicals agents. Water filled mesh covered benches held the plants in addition to ceiling rails, tripods and wall mountings.
One of the functions of the guide was seemingly to scold me for entering the body of the plant houses, as visitors are meant to stay at the entrances.
The guide was not really very informative but we were lucky to meet the nursery and orchid collection manager, Christopher Ryan at the end of the tour who answered questions about the purpose of the collection and also told us about his recent orchid hunting trip to Cambodia. He told us that he had brought back a number of plants and was trying to bring them to flower and then indentify them. We had a delicious lunch and before we knew it was time for home.
The Big C ( April’s monthly meeting)
This month was slightly different to what we have had it was all about the Big C (cancer)
David Moar was our speaker he is from the Big C which is an independent charity that raises money for cancer , helping to get equipment and give support to cancer patients. It was established in 1980 by David Moar and a fellow patient, David being beating cancer twice in his younger days along with another male patient, they became friends after having to go through chemo and radio therapy. David had testicular cancer first, after treatment got the all clear, until he was scanned and they found cancerous spots on his lung then had to have more chemo and radio therapy which drained him completely and had to have blood transfusions a few times but he was determined to beat it, which he did. Over the years they have raised more than 20million pounds. They fund life-saving and diagnostic equipment and nurses and treatments in hospitals to increase chances of survival. Practical support is given to help people and families at their most vulnerable, to bear what may feel unbearable right hear in Norfolk and Waveney. They have shops in Cromer, Sheringham, Dereham, Norwich (Magdalen Street) and (Timber Hill), Wymondham, Kings Lynn And Great Yarmouth. The Big C only exists in Norfolk. The Big C relies on the generous donations of the local community to support people that have been affected by cancer here in Norfolk and Waveney. You can always help them by volunteering with various activities from shops and centres to events and street collections or by just donating. It made a very interesting but different talk and David Moar was good to listen to.
We had refreshments and whilst that was going on one of our members that no longer comes due to health reasons, had sent some plants books labels and pots for members to buy, the monies raised was £50 which was given to The Big C. Raffle was done. Show table winner was announced , Roger Gore-Rowe was the winner with his Dendrobium Star of Riverdeene a beautiful plant, Jane Boosey with Cattleya Hybrid, and Robin Gates with Sarcochilus Fitzhart were joint second.
May 2014 abridged Newsletter