The guest speaker at our February meeting was Malcolm Moodie, who gave us a talk entitled ‘Feeding Orchids: Feast or Famine?’ as well as bringing some of his own orchids for sale. In a well structured and articulate presentation based on his 30-35 years of practical and commercial experience, he spoke about water, nutrients, growing media, pH, and supplements, enlivening his talk with anecdotes. We should measure the salts concentration and pH of the water supply that we use and adjust our feeding regimes appropriately. He recommended Dynagro as the most complete orchid fertiliser (although Rain Mix is not far behind) and asserted that many common fertilisers and mists sold as suitable for orchids were in fact useless. He stressed the importance of a ‘balanced diet’ for plants (i.e. that they have available all the nutrients that they require and the absence of even a single one will at minimum hold them back). Inclusion of silicate in a feeding regime has multiple benefits. His plants have been awarded three Certificates of Cultural Commendation in the past year, demonstrating the success of his methods.
The Winners’ Table had two entries: Andy Gissing’s Coelogyne cristata and Bill Gardiner’s Masdevallia ayabacana, which were voted joint first. There were no entries for the Novices table.