Most people think of orchids as delicate flowers that have to be carefully nourished indoors or in a greenhouse. That’s true for many varieties, but some orchids grow under Arctic snow, and have to spend time in a baggie in the refrigerator during hot days.
That’s according to Barry Barlow, president and long-time member of the San Joaquin Orchid Society, who spoke at the Lodi Garden Club’s October meeting. Other varieties are found in the desert, he said.
He also spoke of growing small orchids in little clusters of mix wedged into grapevines or in abalone shells, reminding that some orchids grow on trees with no soil at all. The flower fit right in with the Hawaiian luau atmosphere of the luncheon event, a fundraiser for a Blue Star Memorial to be installed at Cherokee Memorial Park Cemetery.
While orchids will grow in almost any kind of soil or planting mix, Barlow recommended for general use large chunks of redwood bark, washed before using. He gave the nod to either plastic or clay pots. The plants need a weekly feeding of all-purpose fertilizer, with the recommended dosage cut in half and dissolved in water. Fish emulsion once a month is good, too.
He recommended breaking the pot away from the plant when repotting, and said that tightly bound roots may be cut with a gardening saw. Second bloomings should be cut off, as the plant needs the nourishment instead.
The meeting also included drawings for homemade quilts, orchids, and floral and gift baskets.
A Nov. 26 bus trip to Morris Nursery in Riverbank and Duarte Poinsettia Farm has only a few seats left. Call Martha or Richard Griffith for reservations at 209-334-5988. The cost for the trip is $35.