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Meet nation's top cymbidium grower Friday

Sacramento society hosts evening with George Hatfield

Gold cymbidium
Cymbidiums need adequate light and water, says expert hybridizer George Hatfield. He will speak Friday evening in Sacramento. (Photos courtesy George Hatfield)

Orchid royalty is coming to Sacramento!

On Friday evening, Dec. 3, Sacramento Valley Cymbidium Society presents an evening with Mr. Cymbidium, George Hatfield.

To be held at Shepard Garden and Arts Center, this free presentation will be held in person as well as offered via Zoom. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.; program starts at 7 p.m. The public is welcome.

George Hatfield
George Hatfield

Hatfield, the nation’s premier cymbidium grower and hybridizer, will share his insights on how to get these “outdoor” orchids to look and perform their best – particularly in California.

Based in Oxnard, Hatfield is past president of both the American Orchid Society and the Cymbidium Society of America. In an interview with Orchid Digest, Hatfield shared some of his insights including what he looks for in a plant as a hybridizer.

“Fundamentally, you need to have plants that grow well,” Hatfield told Orchid Digest. “It’s pretty meaningless to produce plants that can’t be grown by all levels of growers. No matter what type of plant you hybridize, it needs to be a good grower. I’ve been aggressively selecting for strong growers for years, and the result is that pretty much everything I produce can be grown by anyone.”

The most common mistake for cymbidium growers? Water, Hatfield said.

Pink cymbidium
Cymbidiums produce loads of flowers
with the right care.
“In the summer I water mine every day,” he told the Digest. “Plants should double in size when they’re healthy. ... I think that the biggest thing that most growers do wrong is not water enough. During growing periods, it’s impossible to water too much. If you look at the backgrounds, most of those (native orchid) habitats get monsoonal water every day.

“Cymbidiums need light,” he added. “Most people don’t grow their plants in enough light. The three biggest elements of good culture are light, water, and nutrients. Pay attention to those, and a good cymbidium will reward you with lots of flowers.”

Learn more Friday night at his special presentation. Shepard Center is located at 3330 McKinley Blvd., Sacramento, in McKinley Park.

For more details or Zoom link, email or call Ann Carberry at 916-502-3258.


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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Sept. 25

This week's warm break will revive summer crops such as peppers and tomatoes that may still be trying to produce fruit. Pumpkins and winter squash will add weight rapidly.

Be on the lookout for powdery mildew and other fungal diseases that may be enjoying this combination of warm air and moist soil.

* Late September is ideal for sowing a new lawn or re-seeding bare spots.

* Compost annuals and vegetable crops that have finished producing.

* Cultivate and add compost to the soil to replenish its nutrients for fall and winter vegetables and flowers.

* Plant for fall now. The warm soil will get cool-season veggies and flowers off to a fast start.

* Plant onions, lettuce, peas, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, bok choy, spinach and potatoes directly into the vegetable beds.

* Transplant lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower.

* Sow seeds of California poppies, clarkia and African daisies.

* Transplant cool-weather annuals such as pansies, violas, fairy primroses, calendulas, stocks and snapdragons.

* Divide and replant bulbs, rhizomes and perennials.

* Dig up and divide daylilies as they complete their bloom cycle.

* Divide and transplant peonies that have become overcrowded. Replant with "eyes" about an inch below the soil surface.

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