Grower Profiles

John Salway .  and Ruth

I have always had an interest in the garden, this came from my Mum who took pride in her garden and nourished it with plenty of cow manure from our dairy farm on Bli Bli Road. It was on our tenth Wedding Anniversary that Ruth was shopping at the Kmart Shopping Centre (now the Sunshine Plaza) when she noticed an orchid display by the Maroochydore Orchid Society, thinking an orchid would make a special gift tirade enquires and was encouraged to buy a Cattleya orchid with the assistance of Ron Haylock. I still have that orchid in my collection. At the time, my sister ’s neighbour in Warana was Matt Janjak. Matt had a large orchid house in his front yard, and won many prizes. I would go over to his place to check out what was in flower.  Matt would not tell inc any orchids unless I joined a club and learnt how to grow them properly.   Matt was an orchid judge and a member of the Maroochydore Orchid Society.

 I joined the Maroochydore club. I had known Eric Ernst since I was a teenage, so paid him a visit and was overwhelmed by his collection. Eric was a long term member of the Nambour club, so I also joined the Nanibour club with the view! to learning as such as I could. In the Maroochydore Club, I was taken under the wing of Vic Potter, Ron Haydock and Jim Nolan and I ant so appreciative of the knowledge they passed onto me to ensure I didn’t I make too many mistakes and that I brought hybrids made front show quality parents.

 My first bush house was 4ft x 6ft. When we relocated to E›pin Road a new 8itit x 5mt bush house was built, soon a tunnel house was added, this has since been replaced by a second 8nit x 5mt bush house. Ruth will tell you I have installed two ceiling fans in the bush house, yet we have no fans or air conditioning in our own home. I started growing Cattleya and Vandaceous alliance and Hard Cane Dens. genera and have over the years had a few orchids of each of the common genera. Australian native hybrids were once high on my shopping list, until I heated the bush house which didn’t provide suitable growing conditions these have been replaced by Den. biggibum and hard cane Dens.

I was lucky enough to do a prorogation course, one weekend run by Al Rolley where I learned the ins and outs of flasking orchids.  I made a flasking cabinet from a fish tank, I would take over the kitchen and boil up bottles and agar in a pressure cooker. In the flasking cabinet, plenty of bleach would be sprayed around to provide a sterile environment and the seed placed in the agar in bottles. It was very time consuming, a bit ofa backyard operation – but it worked and I was rewarded when the seedlings flowered.  I now have my seed pods flanked in Brisbane.

When the opportunity came to do the judges course’s, I hesitantly started, not ever planning on sitting the exam. Ruth H DHld set example exam papers in the morning and I would complete after work off before she caiiie home. One year as a student judge, 2 years as an associate judge I was appointed an AOC judge in 1996.

I have received many ribbons over the years, including Best Species and two times awarded Reserve Champion for my orchids, however my first Grand Champion was in May this year at the Gympie Show.

With the demise of the local sugar industry this has given me time to make over our gardens, which is focusing on water friendly broms.

At the time I jointed the club, the then club Treasurer Ray Grandcourt was planning an extended overseas trip and Ruth acted as assistant Treasurer in his absence. At the AGM Ruth was elected Treasurer and remained in that position until the AGM in December, 2007. Ruth has held the positions of club Secretary and newsletter editor and Secretary/Treasurer of the Suncoast Orchidfest hosted by Maroochydore an J Caloundra in 1988.

If asked what are the highlight from my orchid hobby — it would have to be the trips to Thailand to see thé hfgh quality and quantity of orchids grown with ease in open parklands, in the streetscape and hotelfoyers, seeing my crosses fiowering for the first time, the many society bus trips, achieving a grand champion flower, having plants awarded and all the many friettds I have made.

By the courtesy of

John Salway