Phil Gould was our guest at our April meeting, to give us a talk entitled ‘The Cambridge Connection’ – covering his involvement in caring for the orchid collection at the Cambridge University Botanic Gardens (CBG). In a wide-ranging presentation beset with technical problems (eventually fixed by our very own Grazyna), Phil told us about various aspects of the collection and its history, Phil has been growing orchids for 40 years, and volunteered to help with the CBG’s collection upon retirement. He found that the collection had been neglected for the preceding five years, with many losses; we may infer that he’s played a major role in restoring it to health! He collaborated with glasshouse supervisor Alex Summers to build up the collection and stage Orchid Festivals. The many pictures of orchids from the collection in flower included some that have been grown there since 1933. Practical aspects of managing the collection include dealing with pests – cockroaches are a particular problem (that I hope most of us growing orchids in the UK don’t have to face), and the necessity to be ruthless when dividing plants – a well grown orchid will bulk up rapidly and soon generate more material than it is practical to grow.

John Beavan won the Novices table this month with his Zygopetalum hybrid, and David Kohn won the Winner’s table with his Cymbidium devonianum.