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Old 08-28-2013, 06:48 AM
Davesp310 Davesp310 is offline

Join Date: Aug 2013
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Absolute beginner, relocating a collection
Default Absolute beginner, relocating a collection

Hi all,

Firstly, I am an absolute novice with orchids (and not particularly good with plants in general ).

I live in Australia, just north of Sydney, and have taken on ownership of my father's orchid collection. Dad has dementia and has had to move to a nursing home, I am currently in the process of clearing out his house. Anyway, he has two reasonable sized shadecloth-covered fernery setups for his orchids, plus more scattered throughout his garden. Due to his illness, he hasn't been able to care for his orchids for a few years now, to the point where many have become firmly "attached" by the roots to the wooden or wire platforms they sit on, or the roots have tangled many pots together.

My initial question relates to how I should move them ? Should I just pull them off whatever they are attached to ? Should I try to cut the roots carefully to get them off ? Any other tips ? I can't even tell you what type of orchids they are I will have to find a local Orchid Club / Society when I have time, but my immediate problem is moving the collection in the next 25 days (dad's house is sold, and settles in 25 days, the new owners move in then so I have to clear not just his orchid collection but the entire contents of his house by then so time is somewhat limited).

Anyway, attached are a few pics of the inside of one orchid enclosure. The ferns and weeds on the ground are covering many more orchids.

Thanks in advance for any tips !
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Absolute beginner, relocating a collection-img00535-20130825-1720-jpg   Absolute beginner, relocating a collection-img00534-20130825-1720-1-jpg  
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Old 08-28-2013, 08:46 AM
desertanimal desertanimal is offline
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Absolute beginner, relocating a collection

Wow. That's going to be a big task! If you post your location, there might be some board members who know of a local orchid society or who would be willing to help, themselves. Seems like you could surely use the help!

I can't offer any good advice, but I wanted to say sorry about your Dad.
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Old 08-28-2013, 09:03 AM
Davesp310 Davesp310 is offline

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Absolute beginner, relocating a collection

I'm in Newcastle, NSW, Australia. There are two Orchid clubs / societies listed in the local phone book, one for Australian Native orchids, and one seems to be more general. To be honest, I don't know enough to be able to determine whether dad's collection is mainly Australian orchids or not

I was thinking of getting in touch with one of the local clubs and seeing if any members would like to come out for a look, and to take some of the orchids as there are way more than I can manage to take and look after properly.

As well as orchids, my mother had a large collection of Bromeliads which I also need to relocate / dispose of. Lots to do in not much time, but mum and dad took pleasure in the orchids and bromeliads so I want to ensure their collections are looked after, whether by myself or other enthusiasts.

Last edited by Davesp310; 08-28-2013 at 09:08 AM..
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Old 08-28-2013, 09:35 AM
nikkik nikkik is offline
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Absolute beginner, relocating a collection Female

Your kindness towards your parents made me teary eyed, we need more compassionate and caring people like you in this world! I'm so sorry to hear about your dad, as I know what a toll dementia can take on the entire family.

I would try to cut the least amount of roots possible when trying to detach the orchids, but they are tough plants, so if you are left without a choice because of time constraints then don't feel guilty if you have to pull them apart.

I think getting in touch with a local orchid society is a fantastic idea. They would be able to help you identify the plants and help you learn about their requirements.
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Old 08-28-2013, 09:54 AM
Island Girl Island Girl is offline
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Absolute beginner, relocating a collection Female

I am so sorry to hear about your dad, I know (second-hand - grandparent) how difficult that can be. My thoughts are with y'all, and I also like to hear how much you care about this hobby - something that your parents loved so much, without you even knowing much about it... but you care, and are generous... Good to know there's good people in this world. That's the beauty about orchids, most orchid people are wonderful... and apparently, it carries on in their children.

I also think you should go to a local society, orchid people are wonderful ppl, I'm sure there would be plenty of them that would be more than happy to help you. There's a couple other Aussies on this board, but also, there's another forum that has ALOT of other Australians as members, it may be good to ask there as well (stick around here too, not trying to chase ya away, but I just want to get u some help in that jungle, and the more ppl that see you need help, the more ppl can help!) they can probably advise a good local society, or meet/know someone nearby that can help... Theres good people on both these forums! Good Luck!

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Last edited by Island Girl; 08-28-2013 at 09:57 AM..
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Old 08-28-2013, 12:42 PM
jesscorine jesscorine is offline
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Absolute beginner, relocating a collection

Please keep us posted! This seems so daunting but I think you'll really enjoy your collection once it is cleaned up and thinned out
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Old 08-28-2013, 12:48 PM
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King_of_orchid_growing:) King_of_orchid_growing:) is offline
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Don't cut roots if you don't need to!

Wet them down thoroughly and use the padding of your thumb to gently roll the roots off of where they are attached.

If they are still difficult to remove from their attachments, wet them down more and try again.

If 2 orchids have roots that are tangled, wet the roots down and wiggle them loose from each other.

Root damage can sometimes have significant consequences depending on the type of orchid that the root damage was done to!

Again, do not cut roots if you don't have to.

This is a long term project, and it will take a long time to handle. Do not try to get into the mindset of doing too many things in one go.
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Old 08-28-2013, 01:13 PM
RandomGemini RandomGemini is offline
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Absolute beginner, relocating a collection Female

I just wanted to add my sentiments about your dad. My grandmother had dementia. It was a hard time for our family, making the decision to move her to a nursing home and all of that was just rough. I'm sure that moving his orchid collection has added additional stress to your world that you didn't plan on.

If I were in your shoes, I would move the plants first. If plants are attached, that's fine, move them together. Just (carefully) break them up into manageable groups for transportation. Don't try to separate them all down to individual pots or mountings right now. Focus on doing only what you need to do to get them moved. That way, you don't mistakenly do damage while you're in a hurry to get them out of there. Once you have them where they are going to go, then you can start the task of separating them individually and identifying them and figuring out what their care requirements are.

I second the idea of getting the local orchid society to help you. People are basically good all over, once they hear of your situation, you will have more helping hands than you ever thought you would. Good luck.
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Old 08-28-2013, 04:22 PM
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AnonYMouse AnonYMouse is offline
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Because Societies meet infrequently (usually monthly) try to find a member. OS websites sometimes lists the officers and their contact info.

You can also try the University. I can see a prof. getting interested and getting students interested in the work.

I have done the exact same with my father and his home. Its hard but it is the best thing.

Good luck.
Anon Y Mouse

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." Hanlonís Razor

I am not being argumentative. I am correcting you!

LoL Since when is science an opinion?
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Old 08-28-2013, 04:30 PM
Silje Silje is offline
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My father died of vascular dementia 1 1/2 year ago. The decision to move him to a nursing home was maybe the hardest of all of it, but it was the right move. We couldn't manage any other way.

But regarding your orchids. I think you might have some treasures hidden in the jungle there, and I would think that a lot of OS members would jump at the opportunity to be allowed to help you dig them out and clean them up. I would.
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