Our March 2024 meeting was honoured with a visit by Helen Milner, who gave us a talk on ‘Mounted Orchids’.  Starting with a general introduction to orchids and their habits of growth, she focused on epiphytic orchids and contrasted two types – those that grow in conditions of high temperature and humidity (such as Vandas) that have thick, bare roots; and those that grow in cooler, montane forests (such as Odontoglossums) with finer roots that typically grow under and through moss. She moved on to a practical demonstration of how to mount orchids, advocating the use of cork bark with lots of moss, initially tying the orchid to the mount with bonsai wire.  Mounting is particularly suitable for orchids with a wandering habit of growth.  The piece of bark doesn’t have to be vertical [as usually seen] – in the wild, the plant may well grow on a horizontal branch. Watering both sides of the mount encourages root growth. Other types of mount/mounting materials include moss balls (make using an ‘onion tube’, with bark in the middle); moss poles; ‘Epiweb’ (thick mesh); ‘Hydrolon’ fabric. She then described how to make a terrarium, emphasizing that plants grown in a terrarium should be mounted or in pots so that they can easily be taken out of the terrarium when necessary; also, never to allow water to accumulate in the base of a terrarium.

Phil Broom won the Novices table with his Cymbidium Frank Slattery, and David Kohn won the Winners’ table with his Cattleya (formerly Laelia) jongheana. We are having a rethink on how we might reframe our competition tables, as the current criteria make little sense.