Members of the Sonoma County and the Marin County Orchid Societies tour Mary Nisbet’s California Orchids on November 20, 2010. Although the weather forecast said 80% chance of rain, sunshine with some clouds favored the tour.
Mary’s story behind her cork orchid logs, featured in a recent AOS Orchids magazine, was much more meaningful when participants could see how the plants grew and spread in a habitat that resembled their natural ones. The northernmost one is covered with Central and South American plants while the one in the southern, warmer part of the greenhouse is loaded with Asian orchids. They are not fertilized but are watered in the warm seasons. Because many of them like to go dry in winter, Mary hand waters those that requirement moisture in the cool winter months.
Because she allows most of the natural flora that come from the logs to flourish, we got to see orchids and mushrooms growing side by side. In a few situations where two hearty species grew side by side, it became apparent that one or the other would likely dominate in the next year or so.
Now four years old, the logs have begun to decay from the inside out. One has broken apart and some of the others have developed weak sections that are propped up with bamboo poles. Mary intends to let them decay naturally.