JOIN THE CLUB: Exotic taste of orchid addicts

FLOWER POWER: Orchid club members Lorraine Palmer, Alf Appleyard, Annie Gardiner and Judy Dietrich with some of their prized plants. Picture: Greg Wane 93147

ORCHIDS are addictive, according to members of Geelong Orchid and Indoor Plant Club.
Just not in the same way as other addictive foliage more usually ingested – these addicts can’t stop collecting and growing more and more of the exotic plant.
“You start with a couple, get a few more and before you know it you’re looking for them everywhere,” club secretary Judy Dietrich confided.
Fellow member Alf Appleyard agreed.
“Anywhere you go you have to include side trips to check out more orchids,” he added.
“You find yourself chasing garage sales if they advertise plants to check for orchids. You get so you can spot an orchid at 100 paces.
“We’re like bees to the honey pot.”
Club members confessed they had around 2000 various orchid plants at different stages of development.
“There are more than 30,000 species of orchids worldwide. Orchids have been around a long time,” Judy explained.
“There was a time when orchids had their own economy, similar to the historical European tulip economy, when prices of the floral plants skyrocketed.
“Orchids are the most documented of any plant in history through the Kew Botanical Gardens in England.”
Judy said orchids were unique for their labellum, or lip, one of the petals that takes on a distinctive shape.
They also had a reputation as being rare and difficult to grow, she conceded, but anyone could produce colourful specimens.
“We run a new growers group, just on an informal basis, where you can get problems solved and pick up valuable information and tips.
“We often visit other growers and learn from them and you can keep up with research and trends
“The group also holds a plant clinic where you can bring along your orchids and get advice.”
The club has monthly meetings at Geelong Botanical Gardens, usually featuring a guest speaker, a display and a competition so members can enter their latest prize plant.
“We like to take them in and show them off,” Judy laughed.
The club’s regular plants sales were also popular, she said.
“You might struggle a bit if there was no club to support you. You can find out so much information.”
The club also has two orchid shows a year in winter and spring.
Judy said the club hoped to host a Country Challenge for its 50th anniversary in 2015, while members always visited an annual Melbourne Orchid Spectacular.
She asked anyone wanting more information to phone her on 5229 5477.