Rounded Rectangle: Fenland Orchid Society




September Monthly Meeting.

We had Mike Armstrong here this month giving us a slide show on Cattleyas, we were the last to see this as a slide show as he is going over to digital and will be doing it all through the projector and computer.  He used to do a lot of travelling but now he is happy to stay at home and have more time for his greenhouses. He has lots of different types of Cattleyas which we were shown, mostly all bold and beautiful.

He said he has been experimenting with changes on how he grows the

orchids and is being more successful with them, especially the harder ones. Light plays a very important part in growing Cattleyas they need plenty of it along with lots of watering and they don’t need too much heat. He went on to say that the Bifoliates are the hardest to grow. There are two types of Cattleya an Unifoliates and Bifoliates, the Unifoliates has a single leaf on top of the psuedobulbs and a few blooms on the flower spike. The Bifoliates have two leaves on top of the psuedobulbs and may grow taller but has smaller flowers than the Unifoliates  

The Cattleyas do not like to be moved about, after two to three years when you start to se them grow in the spring re-pot them. You may get a sheath come up just leave it even if it looks dead as it will flower from that sheath. When Mike pots them up he puts polystyrene chips in the base, sometimes charcoal, then bark with small amount of perlite. Mike’s most favourite Cattleya is the Skinnerii the emphasis on this was enormous.

Mike’s greenhouse gets to 15-20 on a daytime temperature controls he has in place, it did go wrong so he went and brought another one all fine again.

The orchids get fed in small amounts nearly all the time he does water a lot as they do better with more water. Mike has a schroderae has a lovely fragrance has to grow his in a dustbin as it has got very large.  You need to water and feed your Cattleyas well during the summer months ands ease off during winter, they will go dormant for a while but  as soon as the plant starts to show growth water again. Also the sheath that form down the stem take them off to stop any mealy bugs or scale making their home there. Will be a hard job to get rid of them otherwise.

Cattleya Bow Bells is unique in this country so Mike said., and if any body has any he would like to know, as he wants to start a collection up of them, he is being sponsored by the young foundation at Jersey.

  Shirley Simmonds was our show table winner this month with her Cattleya Fireball Flame a beautiful plant. Mike had a look at it and told everybody  Shirley as well that to get straight flowers on the stems bind the stems with wire until they produce their flowers then carefully take off the wire, they will stay in that position, it makes a better showing of them.

It was a really good evening with a talk and a nice show of slides.  We also had a good show of members as well. Mike had also brought some sundries along with him to sell.



Leasingham Show

Roger and Robin attended the Leasingham Show with around thirty plants they had collected so they were able to make a good display table with them. The show was very good and had many people through the door.

Roger got Best Species on display also best species in show with his Coelogyne Massangeana.  Robin received award for Best Hybrid on display with his Phalaenopsis Hybrid white.  Well done Roger and Robin. They both had a very good day there. Thanks to those who gave plants for the table.



The October  meeting.

The speaker for the October meeting was Lawrence Hobbs, a long standing friend of the Society.   He commented on the current position with the Orchid world and on the closure of Orchid Nurseries and Orchid Societies within this country.   When he started his nursery business 28 years ago he said that  a Cites licence cost  £5.   This is now £74.and this expense is contributing to the problems faced by Orchid Nurseries and one reason for the recent closures.    The various name changes have helped because several species in the Vanda Alliance such as Ascocentrum and Neofinetia have now been renamed as Vanda's so they can now all come into the Country on the one licence.   Nevertheless it is now virtually impossible for a nursery to import species orchids economically.

Lawrence had been advised that some Garden Club members would be coming to the meeting and he accordingly came with re-potting equipment.    In the event no Garden Club members turned up for the meeting but nevertheless he demonstrated the re-potting of Phalaenopsis, Odontonglossums, Cypripediums, Cattleyas and Miltonias,  the  latter  of which he recommended re-potting twice a year.   Lawrence always emphasises that pots should be clean.   He generally cuts off all aerial roots and puts the remainder back in a new or clean pot usually of the same size.   Pot very firmly  using very chunky bark.   Odontoglossums and Miltonias should be potted when any new growths are a few inches high.

Lawrence recommends Vanda's as easy plants.   They can be grown in pots, baskets, vases or just hung up, and should be watered daily when the roots are in active growth   As usual Lawrence brought a good selection of plants for sale. It was an enjoyable meeting and in the absence of our Chairman Lawrence was duly thanked by Richard our Vice Chairman. 


Back To Newsletters

November 2014 Abridged Newsletter



Fenland Orchid Society’s Plaque