Where Have All the Growers Gone?


The following article is the longer version of the summary that will appear in the September 2021 NOSSA Journal. John Eaton, the NOSSA Speaker Co-ordinaor, has written passionately on his summary of Les Nesbitt’s talk given at the August General meeting. He completes his summary with an echo of Les’ appeal for the next generation of orchid growers whose expertise is so necessary for the continuting conservation of our unique orchids.


In one of NOSSA’s most significant and challenging meetings for many years, members were treated to a talk by our Patron, Les Nesbitt – whimsically titled – “Where have all the Growers Gone?” – after the 1955 Pete Seeger song-lament. Les integrated our NOSSA history into his talk.

Les was a founding member of NOSSA which was formed on 22nd March, 1977 – 44 years ago, with 44 very keen members. NOSSA membership had grown to 100 members by the year’s end.

The fledgling Native Orchid Society of SA first met at “Goody Tech” alias Goodwood Boys Technical High School. From then on – it was “All Go!” in those early years.

NOSSA’s second meeting soon saw the formation of the Seed Bank where new members were given Ptst. curta tubers from Roy Hargreave’s wash trough.

Our first three orchid displays – between 1978-1980 – were held in conjunction with the South Coast Orchid Club at Marion. The first (judged) NOSSA Show was held in 1981 – in the Supper Room at the September monthly meeting. By the following year (1982) it had expanded into the first NOSSA Public Show –held at The Orphanage, Goodwood.

The aims of the Public Show were four-fold

  • To educate the public
  • To raise Society funds
  • To exhibit members plants
  • To obtain new members

Over one thousand people attended this first public show! – almost ten times the number we would expect nowadays.

In 1983, these NOSSA Public Orchid Shows moved to The St Peters Town Hall where they remained for many years until the venue became too expensive.

Native Orchid “Rescue Digs” to preserve native orchid species threatened by development, occurred throughout the 80’s & 90’s. Les regarded these as the “golden years” for Native Orchid growers which continued until 1996 – the year that NOSSA sponsored the Australian Native Orchid Society (ANOS) Conference at Flinders University.

Thereafter the Shows were transferred to St Bernadette’s where they remained until 2019. Les then presented some pictures of these Native Orchid exhibits and pots from previous years and from the SAROC Fairs of 2017-2019 and 2021.

Les outlined NOSSA’s many efforts to create a new cohort of growers amongst members. Early members were growers, exhibitors, bushwalkers & photographers. However our current membership seems less interested in growing and exhibiting, preferring to focus instead on recording native orchids in the field – during bushwalking.

Les stressed the importance of growing in the preservation of indigenous native orchid species, especially as we face climate change. He then threw members a challenge, stressing the importance of growing native orchids to ensure their preservation in the hard years ahead – for all things green!

To support would-be growers, he referred members to some valuable references – such as NOSSA’s Green 1985 handbook: “Native Orchids of South Australia” – an invaluable guide to members interested in growing Native Orchids. There are also numerous articles on orchid culture in the early NOSSA Journals.

Lamentably, the emphasis nowadays is more on photographing and recording terrestrial native orchids in the field.

Les also mentioned the Tuber Bank, successfully run by Jane Higgs until severe frosts killed her orchids. Sadly, there are no members prepared to organise it now.

Les also mentioned other significant initiatives such as the New Members’ Group that met before General meetings, the 2016 “Flagship Orchids” 1-day orchid workshop initiative of the Australian Association of Bush Regenerators – in creating orchid-enhanced habitats.

Les also mentioned the $2.00 seedling plant-growing competitions with annual recalls until the first plant flowerings and the 2016 and 2017 Seed kits for the culture of – (mycorrhizal) fungus-dependent terrestrial orchids. These included detailed growing instructions –still available to those willing to “give growing a go!”

Notwithstanding the Covid-19 challenges, there were the most recent propagation initiatives of 2020-2021.

In a recent talk, Robert Lawrence has described the importance of indigenous native orchids as an indicator species of a healthy bushland. If we don’t respond to the challenges Les has thrown out to our membership – it may be a matter of “Where have all the orchids gone – long time passing”! There won’t be any orchids left for us to photograph. So it’s really up to us!

Who’s prepared to step up to the challenge?

I’m rapidly approaching 80! It’s too late for me to build space-demanding infrastructure such as a temperature-regulated shade-house/green-house and benching tables. But I do want to “step up to the plate” as a native orchid mini grower! I believe that the years ahead will be challenging ones for anything green, including me! Les reminded us that our common terrestrial are most at threat as the seedbanks of researchers tend to focus on the rare and endangered terrestrials.

Les’s talk has challenged me to establish a local (indigenous) terrestrial orchid presence in my native garden – where I’ve already got a burgeoning population of Microtis – dumped accidently in one of the loads of woodchips that replaced my lawn – 30 years ago. I’m hoping this indicates the presence of sufficient mycorrhizae to help me to establish some of the common greenhoods that Les said were most at threat from climate change. And hopefully, they will keep the microtis company! Dr Teresa Lebel, a speaker I’ve scheduled for March 22nd, 2022 is a fungi expert.

I hope Les’s talk – or if you missed it – this inadequate account of it – will challenge you, also – to become a mini-grower. As Henry Schoenheimer once said of our finite, depleting – and depleted – planet – in his book of the same name – “Small is Beautiful”!

John Eaton, NOSSA Speaker Coordinator, 28/08/2021

2021 June Talk – Photostacking Australian Orchids

For the June Native Orchid Society of South Australia’s meeting we were privelaged to have June Niejalke speak to our members about how to use photostacking when photographing our beautiful orchids.

Photographing our exquisite orchids is a challenge due to their size and the need to use macro. Sharp focus seems to elude many of us and for many years, we have admired her sharp images that has enabled us to see the hidden details of these tiny bush gems.

It was a pleasure to listen to her share her photographic methods. I hope you too find this video as helpful as those who were at the meeting found it.

2020 September Talk – Orchids and Fire

The Native Orchid Society is involved in many different activities, one of them being to assist researchers. In 2020, Covid 19 struck bringing many university projects to a halt. But in South Australia, NOSSA members were able to help PhD candidate Alex Thomsen, University of New South Wales, set up her project titled Impacts of Changing Fire Seasons on Orchids. The following video is her brief presentation of her planned research that she gave to the general membership at the September meeting.

COVID-19 Could Not Stop Us

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

AGM

Delayed but not out.
Held in September (instead of March) via Zoom and face-to-face meeting.

Committee Meetings

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!

Monthly meetings

Combination Face to Face and Zoom meetings from July
Results

  • 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

YouTube Channel

Conservation Activity

  • 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
  • Monitoring
    • Thelymitra cyanapicata
    • Calochilus cupreus
  • Seed collection
    • Caladenia gladiolata
    • Thelymitra epipactoides
    • Caladenia strigosa

Propagation

  • New people trained in propagation techniques
  • Members completed the full cycle of propagation
    • Flasking
    • Replating
    • Deflasking and planting out the new plants
  • Two benches of shadehouse rescued Dendrobiums grown on for sale and raffles

Grants

  • Diuris behrii Project from Hillgrove Copper (project is almost complete)
    • 190 plants returned to Hillgrove
  • ForestrySA
    • Orchid identification and Wild Orchid Watch workshops
      • General public
      • Highschool children from Oakbank

Research

  • 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.

Field trips

  • 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

Constitution

  • Ratified at the Annual General Meeting in September

Calendar 2021

  • Despite some hurdles, was produced in time for  2021

What a year—despite COVID we achieved so many things!

Orchid Code of Ethics or How I can conserve our native orchids

So many of us are interested in preserving our native flora and fauna, and for NOSSA it is the native orchids. But many of us may not be aware of how we can play a significant role in minimising our impact upon the environment so that they are still around for our children and grandchildren

The following video is a brief overview of two documents that NOSSA has produced. They are guidelines to help individuals know how they can minimalize their impact on the environment and so assist in the conservation of our beautiful and unique native orchids.

Below are the links to the documents referred to in the video:

Code of Ethics – Sensitive Sites 2 page
Code of Ethics – Sensitive Sites 3 page
Code of Ethics – Photography

Ethical Nature Photography in Tasmania

Australian Orchids: Their Role in Human Lives

In July, NOSSA resumed face to face meetings but with an innovation. We introduced Zoom meeting as part of our face to face meeting. We are hoping that this will allow more members to become involve with the meetings.

Our first speaker, Greg Steenbeeke, spoke to the meeting from Sydney; and we had another member joining in from Victoria. Greg kindly allowed us to record his talk which is available for all to hear.

Australian Orchids: Their Role in Human Lives
Speaker: Greg Steenbeeke

Anyone wanting to join our General Meeting, please contact the treasurer via email – nossa.treasurer@gmail.com

NOSSA: The Doco

Last year, UniSA second year media students were required to produce a short documentary about a local organised. Three of their students, Vanessa Rossi, Tayla Elliot and Emma Sullivan, chose to produce a video about the work of the Native Orchid Society of South Australia. And for this we thank them. It was interesting working with them and they learnt a few things about our bush gems – namely that they are not big and showy!

Some adjustment needed to be made to the original video, but it is now available for viewing

COVID19 Impact on NOSSA

Update November 2020

With the current outbreak, NOSSA has cancelled the public meeting scheduled for 24 November. The NOSSA committee will assess the other activites closer to the time and will notify members should any events be cancelled.

Continue to maintain safe hygiene practices

September 2020
With recommencement of various NOSSA activities we have put into place the Government required Covid19 plans with Covid Marshalls.

If you have any concerns, please feel free to contact NOSSA on 0439214106, or email the secretary or go to the South Australian government website for more details.

March 21 2020
NOSSA will put best practice to prevent the spread of COVID19 into action to protect our members. Ramifications of this decision include the following –

Postponement of NOSSA AGM and general meeting until further notice.
Our planned speaker, Dr Rick Davies, was relieved to hear that we had postponed our meeting next week because he was concerned for our members.

NOSSA Committee Meetings
The plan is to manage these meetings electronically so that the affairs of NOSSA are properly canvassed and effective decisions are made.

Propagation Days
These will be placed on hold for the time being.

Field Trips
These are not necessary meetings and will not be formally arranged by NOSSA however going for a walk looking at orchids is something that family groups are able to do outside. NOSSA and the Update may offer a suggested place to visit to encourage this.

WAYS TO STAY IN TOUCH
Journal
Our wonderful editor, Marg, will continue to ensure the Journal meets the monthly deadline, and her team of trusty helpers will ensure it gets tot he members. The Journal is the official source of Orchid news and information so look out fot it each month. Feel free to send your thoughts to the editor – they may even get published!

Facebook
Some members are already familiar with our Facebook pages. Others may be interested in exploring this avenue of member interaction.
If you have any questions etc, email nossa.enquiries@gmail.com

Photographic Competition
Please continue to send your wonderful photos into nossa.enquiries@gmail.com. The photos will be displayed for voting. 😉 Still working on the how of that thought!

Update
Update will continue to keep you in the loop of NOSSA news at mid-month.

CANCELLED EVENTS
There have been many events that have been delayed, postponed or cancelled. Some of the follow –
Mt Pleasant Show
APS Autumn Sale
SAROC AGM and meeting

***GOOD NEWS***
Library Display
We couldn’t take part in the Mt Pleasant Show, however Faye McGoldrick of the Mt Pleasant Natural Resource Centre invited us to put up a display in their library. Rosalie and Robert Lawrence have already put the display in place, so if you are passing pop in and have a look.

We encourage everyone to stay safe and follow the basics of social distancing and washing hands to minimize inviting COVID19 into your world.

Stay well, Stay happy
Til next time

Lindy McCallum
Honorary Secretary NOSSA

Selecting Photographs for 2020 NOSSA Calendar

It’s time to vote again!

Following the success of 2019 NOSSA calendar, we are continuing with the same format of inviting people to vote for the twelve orchids that they would like to see in the 2020 calendar.

All the entries are South Australian orchids that were from the NOSSA monthly photograph competition.

To enter:

  •  Select the numbers corresponding to the twelve images that you would most like to see in your calendar
  • Email your twleve votes – nossa.enquiries@gmail.com (Subject Heading – Calendar)
  • Voting closes on Friday 9 August 2019

The results will be collated to determine the twelve most popular images that will go into the calendar. We plan to have the calendars available for purchase at the NOSSA Spring Show, September.

If you would like more details or see the images in a higher resolution, use the above email address to contact NOSSA.

These calendars make great gifts to those who love flowers and are greatly appreciated by orchid enthusiasts not connected to a club.

NOSSA Inaugural Calendar 2019

2019 Calendar Flyer sm amended.jpg

Every month, NOSSA holds a photograph competition. The entries were varied and beautiful but they were only being seen by the members at the meetings, so it was decided to showcase these lovely orchid images in a calendar.

The overall winner from 2018 would be on the front cover and we would select twelve from the fifty-one 2018 entries. The challenge was to select the twelve. This was done by having an on-line vote for the twelve most popular pictures. And I would like to thank all who entered and all who voted.

Having collated the votes to find out what was the most popular orchids, the next task was to design an informative calendar giving information about the South Australian orchids featured as well as significant NOSSA event dates and a very rough guide indicating when the orchids are likely to be flowering.

If you are interested in ordering a calendar, contact NOSSA as per the details on the flyer above.