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Equitant Oncidiums
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Den. teretifolium
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Isochilus linearis
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Philomena decided that we should join the Orchid Society on the basis that the family that goes together stays together. On top of that we (she) had accumulated a selection of orchids, carefully chosen solely on the basis of the "oh! Isn't this one gorgeous" criteria. We did have one orchid that actually produced flowers despite what we did to it but the others didn't seem to want to repeat their efforts after they were brought home. So she felt that we ought to learn something about them.

Now the one that was doing well kept throwing up shoots and then flowers. It would then croak so I would consign it to the garden for the ants to live on. After a couple of months it would burst into life, grow a new leaf, and shove up another flower stalk. We call this one Lazarus.

When we joined the club we got lots of advice on what to do. Lots of water, no water, lots of sun, half sun, lots of shade, fertilise weekly, daily, or when the plant looks like it needs a dose. Up to now the orchids got fed on Christmas Day (that's what we got told at Toowoomba), and didn't get watered unless it rained which it doesn't do very much inside anyway. But we did get one piece of advice that was pretty well always the same from who ever gave it - "if it works keep doing it".

Now Philomena has had some success at growing Phalli's of late so I'll list what she does. First you need a coffee table near the front door to sit them on. Shut the window so they don't get cold. Leave room for a wine glass, a book on Marilyn Monroe, and a pile of trash mags. Stick them in the shower every Saturday morning if it's fine, otherwise don't bother. Transfer then to the bathroom (secret women's business) when they throw up a stalk. Let them have a full dose of shower steam, exhaust draft from the hair dryer, and over spray from the perfume atomiser. When the buds form into flowers put them on the dining room table and sigh wistfully.

Keith Brownjohn


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