Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Much-Anticipated Orchid Day!

Orchid Day with Marie! Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, the orchid display is changed. Over 200 orchids are rotated in and out of the spots in the display. The first thing to do in the morning is to visit each orchid greenhouse (cool, warm, moderate temperature), and find the best blooming orchids. We take them to a work area and tidy them up, stake them, and give them labels. The most awesome thing about working with orchids (besides the fact that they are absolutely stunning) is the organizational system. There are over 9,000 plants that are all labeled and accessioned! To keep track of each of them and maintain the collection is amazing. If a plant needs repotting, an accession label, to be divided, or cared for, this work is done when it's taken back to the potting shed off the display. This way, the orchids rotate through somewhat regularly (on about a yearly basis). I learned how to repot orchids (space, medium, water, tissue cleanup/removal), and about the different mixes. General mix includes ~2/3 medium douglas fir bar, 1/3 charcoal, and fine bark to fill in the spaces. This is rinsed thouroughly and drained, so that the orchids don't have to be watered-in after potting (avoid infection). I learned about many different orchids (stanopeas, miltonias, dendrobiums, disas, gongoras, etc), and where new growth will occur (on a monopodial or sympodial grower), and how the cultivars are notated. Marie is quite the enthusiast (and president of the Orchid Society around here).

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