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  #1  
Old 10-01-2014, 11:29 AM
Shep Shep is offline
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Just...  Keep it under control. Male
Default Just... Keep it under control.

Revisiting an old friend with a family connection-
For the past few years I have promised myself that I would pick up a few cool orchids and see how it works out. I"m in my mid 30s and I grew up in Central Florida with a horticulturist as a father who collected orchids here and there- mostly cattleyas, vandas, a GIANT oncidium, and maybe an absconded encyclia from a boy scout float down the Peace River (don't judge) among others. Now I live in Memphis.

My father is a grower to the core. Rather than dote on plants and wring his hands over a level teaspoon of fertilizer vs. a heaping teaspoon of fertilizer per X amount of distilled water, he tended to put the plants where they wanted to be, water them when they needed water, fertilize when they needed fertilizer and let them do their thing. I distinctly remember watching the bloom spike of what was supposed to be a bright red catt grow and grow only to produce a bright yellow flower. I was probably 11 and I remember the anticipation of watching the bud open to reveal a yellow bloom and feeling ripped off. It was supposed to be red! He just shrugged and commented that yellow was nice, too.

Anyway, I finally bit the bullet and picked up the ubiquitous big white phal at the grocery store and put it on a covered patio table. Then I started researching and hand wringing. Is it going to be too hot? Is it going to get enough light? What about air movement? How about water? Am I giving it too much water? How much more water should I give it since it's outside?

In my research I located a local orchid club and attended a meeting. On a whim, I picked up an unknown encyclia in an auction (the tag was lost in a move) for $5, hung it in a Crepe Myrtle and let 'er rip. So far, nothing is dead, the phal is putting out a new leaf, the blooms are healthy and everything is looking good.

That's when the light bulb went off and I thought about how dad still does things- put it somewhere and keep an eye on it. I know what a healthy plant looks like. If it looks healthy, it's where it needs to be. The crepe myrtle on the south side of the house (in front of about 6' of window) is nearly ideal for hanging orchids. It gets filtered light through midday with doppled direct sunlight. It has plenty of branches for hanging stuff, and I suspect the space in front of the windows will provide plenty of light through the winter months, as the leaves will fall off of the crepe myrtle in front of it, providing a few hours of good, strong light for over wintering orchids. Then I asked my father to break off what he could and start some new plants for me. Many are offshoots from plants that were growing when I was in elementary school. I know he has a pile of oncidiums that date back to my elementary school days.

So, at last month's meeting, I picked up my first catt hybrid- LC Summerland Girl x SLC Ruby Wax. This one should be red this time around. We'll see. I don't think I'll be as disappointed if it isn't.
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  #2  
Old 10-01-2014, 12:24 PM
tarev tarev is offline
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Shep! to OB

It is always nice to read about how we all get interested and involved with orchids! Have fun!
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  #3  
Old 10-01-2014, 12:29 PM
tucker85 tucker85 is offline
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Great story! Thanks for posting that. I live in Florida also and, I have to admit, it's easier down here because orchids will just grow out in the back yard without much assistance.
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  #4  
Old 10-01-2014, 01:26 PM
terracotta7 terracotta7 is offline
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Welcome to OB!!! Loved your post!!!Loved to hear about your father!!!

Hope to "see" you around the board!!!
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  #5  
Old 10-01-2014, 02:28 PM
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DeaC DeaC is offline
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Hey there! You have a charming knack for the story AND it seems for growing orchids. I envy you for being so fortunate as to have your dad still in your life and sharing his experiences with you. With good care,plants will flourish but I do believe Mother Nature keeps our enthusiasm with success in check! Can't live with her or without her.
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  #6  
Old 10-01-2014, 06:32 PM
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Cntry Cntry is offline
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Hi Shep,
Welcome to the orchid board. Its really nice hearing your story of watching your dad grow orchids as you were a kid.

I bet he was so excited to hear you also wanted to try your hands at growing them. An then to go to him and ask for a few pieces of some of his orchids too must of really made him happy.

Enjoy your hobby you have together with him as you never know what can happen.
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  #7  
Old 10-01-2014, 07:34 PM
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WhiteRabbit WhiteRabbit is offline
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Where ever you go, there you are ...
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  #8  
Old 10-01-2014, 10:13 PM
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My Green Pets My Green Pets is offline
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Nicely written and lovely story! Welcome.
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  #9  
Old 10-01-2014, 11:44 PM
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Bud Bud is offline
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WELCOME ABOARD!!!!

-you are lucky to be exposed to orchid plants at a young age.

as for me, at the age of 24, while on my way home, I picked up a Phal in the trash and what attracted me was the colorful plastic dragonflies on the stick holding the spike....yet I managed to let the plant live and keep flowering up to this day....
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  #10  
Old 10-02-2014, 08:49 AM
katrina katrina is offline
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Awesome story!
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