In 1984, G.J.Nieuwenhoven was the editor of the NOSSA Journal. In February of that year he wrote the following:
Welcome back to NOSSA.
After the holiday break we are all looking forward to the next meeting to talk about our favourite plants and renew friendships.
Several members have reported an early start to the terrestrial season with Pterostylis species, a couple of Diuris species popping up already. For some of the eastern states Pterostylis of the cauline group this is normal, especially if you keep the pots cool during the summer (a cellar is ideal but underneath a shaded bench in the shadehouse will do nicely). Very light watering should take place when the first shoots appear but do not overdo the watering or place pots in the sun for we are sure to get some more hot weather yet and this could cook your plants before you know it.
The Diuris are really out of season but it was probably the rain in late December and early January that started them off, anyway, these too should be kept slightly damp if they are up.
If you have not finished repotting by now it would be best to leave it until next year as the new shoots which are already beginning to grow from the tubers are very easily broken off while sifting them from the soil.
Apart from that all you can do is wait for the rains to come in March and then start searching for plants to appear – and keep those fingers out of the pots or you may damage one of your best plants looking for the new growths.
This is also the time to start taking notes when plants first appear, etc.:
- when they flower and how many flowers from a given number of tubers;
- what kind of soil; what conditions (i.e. shaded or not, damp or dry).
- Anything that may assist in years to come to help you understand and grow our orchids better and, more importantly, multiply them.
- A card index system would be a good way to store information, otherwise an exercise book will do.
The timing of the article tallies with the advice that was recently given at the end of February – start watering the terrestrials now if you haven’t already begun. Hopefully by the flowering time you will have a lovely display of terrestrials such as the Thelymitra, Arachnorchis and Caladenia featured below.