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Caboolture green thumbs show how to grow orchids

November 13, 2018

Glades green thumbs sowing the seeds of blooming orchids

23 November 2018 | by Halcyon

Groups that feed the passions and interests of our home owners are always popping up at Halcyon.

From cooking and veggie growing to pickleball and cycling, home owners are discovering fun, friendship, fitness and fulfilment in a wide range of interest groups.

One of the latest to evolve at Halcyon Glades is blooming – literally - after three orchid-loving home owners planted the seed of the idea.

Tony Kellerman, Andre De Bats and Clive Stephan started the Halcyon Glades Orchid Group a few months ago and were overwhelmed by the response.

Interested home owners - aka ‘orchid-teers’ - are flocking to the group’s friendly and informative gatherings, keen to get their green fingers on handy tips for successfully growing these fabulous flowering plants.

Some have brought along their sick and dying orchids in the hope of learning how to resuscitate their beloved blooms.

They haven’t had to dig deep for scientific expertise and orchid-growing experience because Andre holds a PHD in medical biochemistry and owns 500 orchids while Tony has a background in rural science and horticulture and Clive has been growing orchids for years.

Through regular workshops and demonstrations, the trio has been giving home owners helpful insights into fertilisers, fungicides, pots, watering, shade houses, and dividing and re-potting orchids.

Halcyon Glades stunning orchid

There’s also been a visit to the Caboolture Annual Orchid Show and a group tour of a local orchid nursery.

And such is the group’s enthusiasm and momentum that they hope to stage Halcyon Glades’ first orchid show in March next year, allowing this bunch of green thumbs to show off their blooming achievements.

So, what is it about orchids?

Tony believes it’s the sheer beauty and vibrancy of the flowers that draws people to orchid growing, like bees to honey.

“There is no doubt about it, orchids get into your blood, and growing orchids can be addictive,” Tony said.

Andre agrees, saying orchids have a lot going for them.

“They are at the top of the botanical food chain - they’re very well developed and there’s so many variations,” he said.

“They look lovely, they have lots of colours and lovely shapes, some are scented, and their flowers last a long time.”

Andre, who has grown orchids for 18 years, said people often received them as gifts but weren’t sure how to keep them happy and healthy in the medium to long term.

“Some or all of their orchids die, and they wonder what they are doing wrong,” he said.

“So, we see the group’s role as giving home owners the basic information they need to grow orchids successfully.”

Tony said orchids could be tricky because in nature they grow upside down on trees, and often in a tropical climate.

“The very first thing we try to do is train them to grow in pots – and to them it is upside down,” he said.

“So, to grow orchids successfully we need to know when to water, when to pot, how much water, how much sun, what fertiliser, and so on.

“You’ve got to duplicate their natural environment as much as possible.”

On that note, Tony said shade houses designed and built by the ‘orchid-teers’ have begun popping up across the community ever since the first batch of these “feats of engineering brilliance” were completed in August.