Go ga-ga over orchids at Ballina show on Mother’s Day
IF YOU’RE looking for ways to make mother’s day this weekend, take her to the Ballina and District Orchid Society’s Autumn Show.
Not only will there be a beautiful, varied display of orchids but there will be a chance to buy orchids and start growing them yourself. You might even like to join the orchid society, said club president Leon Coventry.
“The society is a friendly, informal club where members range from experienced growers to very inexperienced growers,” he said. “But our aim is to promote and encourage orchid growing no matter what your understanding of this rewarding activity is.”
Mr Coventry said that whatever your level of expertise or curiosity the emphasis was on appreciation of these beautiful blooms and increasing knowledge of their culture.
Club activities include presentations such as photography displays and talks from guest speakers, club members and local and visiting club members and judges.
The society meets on the second Saturday of the month at 1.30pm in the CWA Hall next to Ballina RSL Club.
The Autumn Show will be held in Ballina Fair Shopping Centre.
ORCHIDS are classified into three basic groups: Epiphytes, which grow on trees, Lithophytes, found on rocks, and the ground-bound Terrestrial.
“Most of the easier orchids that are grown and flowered in our area are of the Epiphyte variety and include dendrobiums, cattleyas and oncidium varieties,” Mr Coventry said.
“The basic needs of orchids are not far removed from growing vegies and flowers successfully, with some variations. Orchids need a base to grow on or in, they need water, they need feeding and need some light and plenty or air movement.
“For convenience we grow our orchids in pots or on slabs. Most orchids require an open, free-draining potting mix as they detest wet feet. There are many varieties of potting mix that can be used but specialist for orchids, not generally your local garden mixes.”
Water must flow freely through the pot and, when you are feeding orchids, Mr Coventry said fertilisers mixed with water are generally used at half recommended strength.
“Like all plants orchids need some amount of sunlight and this varies with orchid varieties. Air movement around orchids is necessary as stagnant airless environments promote fungal attack.”
Mr Coventry added that orchids were an amazing and fascinatingly-beautiful plant to grow that can be the easiest thing or that challenge you may need.