BOP Orchid Show, Memorial Hall, main street Te Puke, Friday and Saturday, 10am-4pm, $3 entry (children free).
Among her large collection of orchids, Diane Hintz has some that belonged to her mother and, although unnamed, they are precious to her.
“If you want to show or sell plants they have got to be named,” says Diane, a national-level orchid judge, as was her mother, Rose Bell, who overcame a steep site and salt-laden winds on Wainui Beach in Gisborne to create a garden that supplied local florists with material.
“She started me on orchids but when you get addicted it’s terminal … and fatal,” Diane laughs.
She began her orchid collection with a “few cymbidiums” when she married – and after 49 years living on the outskirts of Te Puke has enough to fill two orchid houses, plus a few growing outside.
“I’ve got to be strict with myself and say that unless it’s something special I haven’t got the room for it. And although there are things I’d like to have, like ondotoglossum orchids, I haven’t got the conditions to grow them.”
One of her orchid houses is a cool house which, over a long, hot summer she’s had trouble keeping cool enough. The same problem occurred in the hot house, although her Dendrobium engae biggibum, a cross between a far north Queensland orchid and one from Papua New Guinea, has soaked it up and flowered madly.
Too much heat is a novel problem for Diane, who is more used to battling the cold.
“We live right on the edge of the swamp and get down to -6C with big frosts. I’ve put frost-cloth curtains on the houses so I can close them right up in winter.”
If you don’t have a heat source and want to keep Vandas, Diane recommends putting them on top of a fridge – the transferred heat is often enough to keep them happy.
This article was first published in the Bay of Plenty Times and appears here with permission.