When one retires from dairy farming it?s usually not to become involved in another labour intensive hobby such as propagating and showing cymbidium orchids. Since moving from their farm at Athlone, Ken and Bev Purcell have been growing orchids at their Drouin property for about 15 years now and have created a most impressive setup with four large semi-circular hot houses, or shade houses full of orchids. Some grow in pots on the wire mesh tables whilst others grow in hanging baskets or attached to suspended slabs of tree bark with their aerial root systems dangling below. An automated watering system keeps the plants supplied with water and nutrients, whilst the heavily laden flower spikes are supported by spring-loaded ?yoyos?.
Ken and Bev invited the Sporting Register to visit their Drouin property following the July Breakfast Club gathering in Warragul. Unfortunately the weather wasn?t all that flash, but a dozen or so people took up the invitation and were suitably impressed with both their prize-winning orchids and the heated potting shed where a lovely morning tea was laid on. Inside the potting shed Ken had also set up a display of classic oil drums and some old farm equipment including a petrol-powered, back pack sprayer that looked quite cumbersome to use.
Many thanks to Ken and Bev for their invitation and hospitality which kept us warm, well fed and informed about their passion for growing orchids.
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