Orchid growing in 'Darkest Africa'

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Chico (..... the clown)
Feb 19, 2013
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Sandton, South Africa
I live in the Northern suburbs (Sandton) of Johannesburg, South Africa. I first started growing orchids when I was a medical student 25 years ago. Unfortunately work preassure forced me to give up what had rapidly become a passionate obsession. It was only after I changed my profession from MD to carpenter a few years ago, that I found I had the time to take up orchid growing again (at least now I can build my own benches and greenhouse!). I grow Paphs almost exclusively, using other orchids such as dendrobes and cats to provide shading for the Paphs below (not the most ideal situation I know, but my current greenhouse was not originaly intended for its current use, so I am unable to get above the polycarb roof to add any other form of shade). I have number of Gouldian finches in my greenhouse which were originally added to provide some interest on drab days. Again not such a great idea as it turns out, because they tend to collect seedlings to use as nesting material.
I started to read the posts on Slippertalk some months ago in the hope of learning how to correct my poor cultural practices. I joined arround a week ago to get greater access. I now realise exactly how little I know about Paphs and how to grow them correctly. It may take a while before I am brave enough to post a picture or two (no one likes to look too foolish), ...... so all the Paph afficionados out there, please dont laugh too loud, I am ready and willing to learn. :(
greetings from upstate ny, usa (snow)! don't worry, there are lots of others here who haven't been bitten by the slipper bug and enjoy many other normal orchids. wondering why you changed from medical to carpentry?
one thing you could do for shade is get some aluminet or other shade cloth, and hook it up directly underneath your roof. black or dark cloth will absorb some heat inside your growing area, but the aluminum reflective type will reflect heat and most of the light back out. if it's always sunny and too bright, then you could tack some of this directly underneath your roof, and then install anything you would use for hanging plants right through it (nails, wood screws) your small amount of shade cloth wouldn't be too expensive and if it has a few holes that you poke into it here and there, won't hurt it a bit
Hi and welcome from the Netherlands.

I've got a colleague from South Afrika at work. Trying to pick a few words from the Afrikaanse language. The problem is that it is so similar to Dutch that it's not very easy for me. :p
welcome from germany
would love to see a picture of your growing area.
We still all have to learn
Hi all,
Thank you for your warm welcome and encouragement. I think that part of my problem is that the growing area started life as a patio at the swiming pool, it was then enclosed to form a garden room, but due to poor planning was murderously hot. My problems are (if I understand the growing principles correctly) a combination of bright light, excessive heat and poor air circulation. I am convinced that my finches will band together soon and indulge in mass action to demand improved living conditions (South Africans are big on mass action). Air circulation can be corrected quite easily and cheaply, and I will start by putting in a few fans over the weekend. I will try and take a few pictures at noon today. I guess a picture is worth a thousand words (I am sure I read that somewhere here as well):(
Welcome to ST from Kentucky. If you asked everyone here how many
mistakes we've made, you get lots of them. Growing orchids is a continual
learning experience...double that for Paphs.
cnycharles - I come from a long line of carpenters, and was the first to complete school and progress to a tertiary education. I loved medicine, but the social and political changes in the late 80's and early 90's lead to a change in economic priorities, my field of research medicine (replant surgery) was considered too expensive and that money could be better spent on primary health care. I found myself fighting each day for funding and bed space, the options were to either immigrate or change, I guess I chose 'change'.
Thanks for the advice on the alu-shade cloth, I will try and source some this week. It will be great to get a bit of space above the benches again if I can replace the hanging plants with an alternative form of shade, .... wow! Birds might complain as they have nested in the hanging baskets.:(

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