Alitex Orchid Talk

Orchids McBean's

On Thursday 11th February, on what was quite possibly the brightest, sunniest day all winter we held an Orchid Talk here at Torberry Farm. Jim Durrant from McBean's Orchids travelled down from East Sussex, with a boot full of orchids to share his wisdom and humour and talk all things orchid.

A fantastic number of Alitex customer's and friends arrived to be welcomed with tea and cake in the Alitex conservatory. It was then time for Jim's talk to begin. What Jim doesn't know about orchids, isn't worth knowing. He is well known in the industry and extremely well-regarded in his field with a great presence at Chelsea Flower Show.

Alitex Orchid Talk from McBean's
Jim brought a wide range of orchid species to talk about and worked through the most common types people are likely keep in their own households. Orchids are widely available and come as cheap as £5 but Jim told us they can fetch a huge price...one extremely rare orchid once sold for $118,000!

Orchids are actually incredibly intelligent and will adapt to their growing environment. The orchid will regulate the amount of flowers blooming, to the atmosphere they are placed in so lack of blooms can often be a sign that something is amiss.

There was lots to take in but these are the top tips we took from Jim:

  • Orchids prefer a 60-65% humidity. If you want to grow them in your house, the best room is the kitchen as humidity is created from regular cooking
  • Sit orchids on a plate and water from there. If you water from above, be careful not to let water stand in the apex of the leaves
  • Clean rain water is the best type of water to use for watering your orchid. Bottled water comes in second best but still has four times the nitric levels than rain water. Drinking tap water contains lots of chemicals so try to avoid
  • You should water once every two weeks in the winter, and once a week in the summer but be sensible; don't just water for the sake of it. Look at the signs the orchid is giving. Water sparingly as it needs air around the roots in order to grow. It's easier for an orchid to recover from under watering than from over watering
  • Every fourth water should have the addition of a special orchid feed
  • Repot your orchid once it's top heavy and the pot looks like it may burst. The roots will grow into the pot and settle within a few weeks
  • A conservatory can be the ideal environment for an orchid to grow in as the temperature can be easily regulated with roof vents, windows and fans

Alitex orchid talk
There was lots to learn throughout Jim's talk and many orchid growers in the audience asked questions about their orchids, some even brought their worse for wear orchids in for a bit of TLC. After the talk, there was the opportunity to buy Jim's orchids which went down a treat.

Jim kindly donated a one of a kind Cymbidium orchid which he has named 'Alitex'. There is currently a bidding war going on here at the office as money raised from the purchase goes towards our fundraising effort for the Alitex Tour de Force Peloton.

The Orchid Talk was a sell out and proved so popular we will look to host a similar event later in the year. You can view all of our other exciting events in 2016 here.

Tags: alitex events, Hampshire event, gardening talk, orchids, orchid talk, orchid growing