2020 started like most other years but that didn’t last for long. March is the anniversary of when the world went into lockdown. All due to Covid 19!
So like most other organisations here in Adelaide, NOSSA was immediately and suddenly impacted. All plans went out the window. Face to face activities ceased and it was some months before even a semblance of meetings resumed.
Yet despite all the difficulties and challenges, when the committee looked back over the year we were amazed at what we did achieve and so here is our list of 2020 – Covid19 could not keep us down!
NOSSA 2020 highlights instigated – Lindy McCallum, adapted from the February 2021 Journal
Delayed but not out.
Held in September (instead of March) via Zoom and face-to-face meeting.
Following a brief hiatus, the committee made use of email communications and then Zoom meetings. From June the committee used a mix of face-to-face and Zoom meetings.
- Finally the opportunity to have members present when unable to attend!
Combination Face to Face and Zoom meetings from July
- Speaker Zoomed from Sydney
- Country, interstate and overseas members are now able to join the meeting from afar
Shows and Displays
- Display at Mt Pleasant Library
- Stand at Australian Plant Society Spring Show
- New location within the RAH Showgrounds
- Good interest and good sales
- Talks recorded and upload to YouTube
- Captions added for those with hearing problems
- NOSSA and other friends group worked with Forestry SA monitoring a damaged site at Knott Hill
- We were heartened by the recovery that is happening
- Thelymitra cyanapicata
- Calochilus cupreus
- Seed collection
- Caladenia gladiolata
- Thelymitra epipactoides
- Caladenia strigosa
- New people trained in propagation techniques
- Members completed the full cycle of propagation
- Deflasking and planting out the new plants
- Two benches of shadehouse rescued Dendrobiums grown on for sale and raffles
- Diuris behrii Project from Hillgrove Copper (project is almost complete)
- 190 plants returned to Hillgrove
- Orchid identification and Wild Orchid Watch workshops
- General public
- Highschool children from Oakbank
- Orchid identification and Wild Orchid Watch workshops
- NOSSA members were able to locate and set up orchid quadrats for a Uni of NSW PHD candidate who was unable to visit South Australia because lockdown.
- After a brief hiatus, regular fieldtrips were recommenced from spring
- August Yorke Peninsula to Crosser Scrub & Edithburgh
- September Eyre Peninsula field trip went ahead with COVID 19 modifications
Wild Orchid Watch
- NOSSA supported the launch of WOW
- WOW presentation given at the August General Meeting and uploaded onto YouTube
Orchid Code of Ethics
- Covered Sensitive Site visits and ethical photography
- This had been in the pipeline for many years but finally came to fruition
- Presented at the November General meeting, videoed and uploaded onto YouTube
- Ratified at the Annual General Meeting in September
- Despite some hurdles, was produced in time for 2021
What a year—despite COVID we achieved so many things!
Email your votes for both the competition and benched plants to Marg Paech, firstname.lastname@example.org by 5 pm July 27 2020
Volunteers (pictured with ForestrySA staff) from NOSSA and other friends groups have been assisting ForestrySA with the monitoring and weeding of a slashed firebreak at Kuipto.
The firebreak has been periodically slashed for over 20 years resulting in a unique assemblage of flora adjacent to a native forest reserve. While the perennial shrubby vegetation is revocering there is limited protection for more delicate species like orchids so the site is currently closed for public access.
Pedestrian access will be allowed again after summer but horse access will be permanently restricted with the recent installation of fencing and locked gates.
Orchids pictured are a sample of the different orchid species found at the Kuipto site.
Les Nesbitt’s Culture Notes from the October 2019 Journal
The days get gradually longer, hotter and drier this month. In a dry year there may be no useful rain in October. Keep up the watering while leaves remain green. Aphids can infest flower spikes so be on guard. Break off the tops of old flower spikes to discourage these pests. Microtis species flower this month.
Complete tuber removal by the middle of the month. These pots will have to be kept watered as long as the leaves stay green, hopefully well into November, to give time for additional tubers to form. Group these pots together to make watering easier. Diuris punctata plants may not die down until December.
Some seed pods will be ready to harvest usually on a warm day. Pick them as the ribs start to change colour from green to biscuit and before they split open and release the seed. Place the pods in paper envelopes & store inside in a dry place until sowing time next autumn. The cauline autumn flowering greenhoods will go dormant so once the leaves go yellow let these pots gradually dry out completely.
Sort out which pots to repot in summer. Stand small pots in a larger pot to denote those to make a show pot for next year. This applies to colony forming species which are expected to multiply.
Steve Howard’s September Australian Epiphytes and Terrestrials Orchids Cultural Notes for Adelaide’s conditions.
Mounts daily. Generally moistening roots only.
Pots weekly. Small pots twice weekly depending on weather.
Pots can dry out faster on warmer days so keep a watch on conditions. Note some terrestrials will commence summer dormancy towards the end of the month. Those that do show signs can have water reduced somewhat.
Weak organics like Seasol and Powerfeed applied in low doses can benefit colony type greenhoods.
Low nitrogen always best for native epiphytes. Top up epiphyte pots with dolomite lime and a dash of blood and bone. Seasol a useful additive now as new seasons root start.
Pests and Disease
Botrytis will rot new buds in cold damp weather as fast as it attacks new growths from now. Aphids will increase sharply this month and favour new growth and spikes. Pyrethrum sprays eco friendly and work well, so does a hose but dry spike straight after.
Some terrestrials will rot this month if conditions have been too wet or stagnant over winter. Note this for next season and add more drainage if this has been an issue.
Keep flowering plants under cover to enjoy as can be rather wet and cold as well sunny and warm this month. Start repotting and division once flowering finished to give plants longest possible time to establish over new growing season.
Time to get busy and take note of the jobs of potting and division to be done. Sept and October are the best months to work on the collection before the hot weather sets in.
Do you have small slugs and snails in your pots? Get a cheap coffee grinder and grind up your snail pellets. Sprinkle in the pot and water them in. Bite size for micro slugs and the baits get right into where they hide.
[Terrestrials are not repotted until summer – Steve will have more on that later]
This week we continue with both Part Two and Part Three of Brendan Killen’s Rescuing Apparently ‘Dead’ Orchids which appeared in the Volume 31 No 9 October 2007 and Volume 31 Bi 11 December 2007, respectively.
Rescuing apparently ‘dead’ orchids. Part 2 By Brendan Killen
PLANT #2 – Dendrobium Alick Dockrill “Pale Face”
The cane pieces of this plant were inserted into a bark mix at the same time as the canes of Den. Jayden ‘JANE’ [See the July Journal] were inserted into sphagnum moss. The outcome is three healthy growths.
Note the dried ends of the canes where they were cut into separate pieces. As you can see from the photograph, I used a green twisty to hold the canes in the bark as a fairly solid bunch – I find this is the best way to keep the canes still whilst they are developing sensitive new growths. I have found that no matter how bunched-up the canes are, the new growths always find a way to the surface.
Here is a different angle on the new growths with my fingers providing some perspective on the size of the growths.
Note that they are significantly larger that those on the Den Jayden ‘JANE’, with the same time in the pots.
I do not consider this evidence of the worth of bark compared to sphagnum moss.
I find that different hybrids and species behave quite differently in terms of their speed and timing of production of new growths. I believe that it is a function of what species are in the background of these plants and the time of year the rescue is undertaken.
Here is the same plant 5 weeks later. The new roots are protruding from the pot and the new growths are extending themselves – all of this at a time where severe water restrictions limit me to two waterings each week by watering can!
A further 4 weeks of cultivation and bright, warm weather has fully extended and hardened the new growths.
The larger growth should produce a flower spike this Spring.
Dendrobium Alick Docrill “Pale Face” (Photographer: Josh Bridge)
TO BE CONTINUED
Rescuing apparently ‘dead’ orchids. Part 3
By Brendan Killen
Plant #3 – Dendrobium Sarah Jane ‘Purvis’
This is a plant that the late John Purvis gave me just before he passed away. Because it is a special plant to me, I cut an old cane into three pieces to produce a back-up plant, just in case my piece of the original fell foul of the orchid gremlins.
As you can see, it is the least developed of the three plants featured in this article. And yet, the parent plant has produced two magnificent new growths in the same period. I feel that the 12.5% of Den. bigibbum and 12.5% of the hot growing Den. tetragonum var. giganteum have influenced this. This new growth has probably been encouraged since the relocation from Adelaide to Brisbane where the temperature differences overnight are more subtle than in the Adelaide Hills where the plants were previously cultivated. The two hot growing species in the plant’s background were probably held back by Adelaide’s much cooler overnight temperatures. Anyway, this is purely conjecture on my behalf. What is important is that I now have a developing back-up plant for one that I treasure dearly.
Dendrobium Sarah Jane ‘Purvis’ (Photographer Josh Bridge)
The thrust of what I have written is simple – don’t give up on treasured plants that look like they have expired, because there is always hope so long as the canes haven’t turned into fermented mush! The technique is as simple as cutting canes into lengths where you have at least three, preferably four, segments from which new growths will materialise. Use sterilized cutting tools to avoid contamination of the canes. Once the new growths have emerged, give them time to produce healthy root systems and let the new canes harden before potting-on. The best time I have found to pot-on the new growths is early autumn.
Thank you to Josh Bridge for supplying images of the flowers of Dendrobium Alick Dockrill “Pale Face” and Dendrobium Sarah Jane ‘Purvis’ as they were not in the original articles.
Another technique demonstrated by John Gay at one of the NOSSA meetings a couple of years ago was to take the apparently dead canes of an epiphytic orchid and seal them in a plastic bag with a small piece of damp sponge (or other cloth) and leave them in the shadehouse. Do not let the sponge dry out. So long as there was a bit of moisture, there was a chance for new growth on the shrivelled canes. Once the growth was obvious, pot on as normal.
Conservation of orchids takes many forms, one of which is weeding. NOSSA members often assist the Threaten Plant Action Group in this area. There are several sites where significant orchids are under threat from invasive weeds; and over the years, through consistent weeding, the weed front has been pushed back allowing the orchids an opportunity to recover and even increase in numbers. It is an ongoing task but seeing the orchids recover makes it an encouraging task BUT …
This activity is heavily reliant upon volunteers. And those who regularly volunteer deserve a big thank you from the community. BUT ….
More helpers are always needed. If you are interested in seeing the orchids, consider joining one of the weeding activities that are held throughout the year (these are advertised on this website). Often the weeding activities target a specific weed, so it is great for a beginner who does not have an in-depth knowledge of plants.
This is the last of the three terrestrial fact sheets in Culture Notes that NOSSA has produced on growing terrestrial orchids. All three facts sheets can be downloaded – Click on the following for Fungi Dependent, Slow Multipliers and Fast Multipliers.
FLAGBEARER SPECIES: Caladenia tentaculata (synonym Arachnorchis tentaculata)
Some 3/4 of Southern Australian terrestrial orchids are fungus dependent throughout their life cycle. Orchids that are fungus dependent have very specific cultural requirements. The fungus must be grown in the pot with the orchid. Sometimes a third entity such as a shrub or tree is involved in the fungal relationship.
A minimum disturbance culture is used.
Limited numbers are available each year. Other fungus dependent species are rarely available. Those in cultivation have mostly come from rescue digs in the past. NOSSA has started a seed kit project to help overcome this vacuum.
GROWTH HABIT: Australian ground orchids follow an annual growth cycle comprising 6 – 8 months as growing plants under cool (5 – 20°C max, 0 – 14°C min) moist conditions and 4 – 6 months as dormant tubers in hot dry (18 – 42°C max, 12 – 30°C min) conditions. The new tuber is produced in winter – spring. Each tuber sends up a shoot to the surface in Autumn and leaves grow rapidly in late Autumn/early Winter as temperatures fall and the rains set in. Sometime in October/November the leaves go yellow and then brown and dry as the days get longer, hotter and drier in late Spring.
LIGHT/SHADE: In Adelaide they thrive in a shadehouse of 50% shadecloth. Some species prefer heavy shade, others full sunlight, but most will adapt to a wide range of light intensity.
If the leaves and stems are weak and limp or if the leaf rosettes are drawn up to the light then the shading is too dense and the amount of light should be increased. FDs are mostly spring flowering and like higher light intensities at flowering time. flowers may have pale colours if placed in heavy shade, even temporarily, when buds are just starting to open.
In very cold areas an unheated glasshouse may be required for frost protection although light frosts do not worry the majority of species.
AIR MOVEMENT/HUMIDITY: All species like good air movement and will not thrive in a stuffy humid atmosphere especially if temperatures are high.
POLLINATION/SEED COLLECTION: FDs seldom multiply so must be propagated from seed.
Flowers on the strongest plants of the same species growing in pots are cross pollenated by hand to set seed pods. The flowers collapse in a day of so and pods ripen in 4-8 weeks. Pods are collected as they change colour from green to brown, which happens quickly on a hot day in October/November. Tea bags can be tied over the pods to catch the dust like seed if frequent visits to site are not possible.
Pods are stored dry in paper envelopes indoors over summer. Seed can be sprinkled on mother pots or scattered on bush sites.
SEEDLING CARE: Seedlings can be raised by sowing seed around potted mother plants.
At Easter time, just before the rainy season begins, the dust-like seed is mixed with fine sand in a pepper shaker (minimizes seed loss) and sprinkled on top of the pots and watered in. Germination occurs in Autumn/Winter as that is when the fungi are most active. Tiny leaves appear from July to October. The seedlings form miniscule tubers on droppers about 1 – 2cm below the surface. Seedlings take up to five years to reach flowering and are best left undisturbed until larger.
WATERING: The soil should be kept moist at all times during active growth by watering gently if there is no rain. Hand watering is especially necessary in spring as soil in pots dries out more rapidly than in the garden. Watering must be done slowly so that the mat of needles on the surface of the pot is not disturbed. Slugs and snails love these plants and must be kept under control. Raising the pots off the ground on galvanised steel benching is very effective in controlling these pests.
After the leaves have turned yellow, let the pot dry out completely to dry up the old roots and tubers otherwise they may turn into a soggy mouldy mess and rot may destroy the adjacent new tubers.
REPOTTING: The plants are not repotted but left in the same pot year after year.
SUMMER CARE: Keep the pots shaded and allow the pots to dry out between light waterings until mid-February when they should be set out in their growing positions and watered a little more often. The tubers of some species will rot if kept wet during the dormant period, others will produce plants prematurely which are then attacked by pests such as thrip and red spider and fungal diseases in the warm weather.
A thin layer of new leaf litter is placed on top of the existing leaf litter each summer to feed the fungus. Chopped gum leaves or sheoak needles are suitable.
FERTILIZING: NO FERTILISER
OTHER CULTURE NOTES: