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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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Garden Checklist for week of July 14

Your garden needs you!

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to reduce the chance of fungal infection and to conserve moisture.

* Feed vegetable plants bone meal, rock phosphate or other fertilizers high in phosphate to stimulate more blooms and fruiting. (But wait until daily high temperatures drop out of the 100s.)

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week.

* Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more. Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* It's not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* From seed, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers.

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