It’s time to profile another member of the North Shore Orchid Society. Bill has had a long association with the NSOS and was a valued member of our Committee for many years. Here’s his story:
How I fell under the spell of orchids
My first encounter with orchids was when I was about 30 years old. I came across native species growing in the Australian bush when I went on fishing trips to NSW South Coast or when I visited my brother on the north coast.
The first time I went to an orchid show was out at Mona Vale Community Centre where I saw a Dendrobium speciosum ‘Charlie’ in flower. I was hooked and this made me even more committed to growing Australian native orchids.
Around this time, I was button-holed into become Secretary for the Manly-Warringah Orchid Society – a post I held for 18 years! During that time, I also joined other societies such as the Australian Native Orchid Species (ANOS) society where I developed my passion for all species orchids (rather than cultivars) and continued on with my love affair of Dendrobium speciosums.
This quickly turned into a magnificent obsession and surrounded by great mentors I learnt to grow them well. I helped serious orchid growers with potting up their collections which gave me lots of practice and useful tips. In time I even became an ANOS judge and registrar of ANOS judges in NSW.
I now have a backyard FULL of orchids – from all around the world – in and around a 40’ x 20’ bush house.
I probably spend too much time with my orchids but they don’t require that much of my attention.
As long as you give the plants good air movement, plenty of light and water (say twice a week) they pretty much look after themselves. I fertilise my orchids regularly with Peter’s Excel CalMag and a little bit of Blood and Bone and I use AusGro South Australian bark as my growing medium.
There’s nothing more rewarding for me than to see a specimen plant – large healthy and in full flower … and to know I’ve grown that!