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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 Feb. 5

Make the most of sunny days and get winter tasks done:

* This is the last chance to spray fruit trees before they bloom. Treat peach and nectarine trees with copper-based fungicide. Spray apricot trees at bud swell to prevent brown rot. Apply horticultural oil to control scale, mites and aphids on fruit trees soon after a rain. But remember: Oils need at least 24 hours to dry to be effective. Don’t spray during foggy weather or when rain is forecast.

* Feed spring-blooming shrubs and fall-planted perennials with slow-release fertilizer. Feed mature trees and shrubs after spring growth starts.

* Finish pruning roses and deciduous trees.

* Remove aphids from blooming bulbs with a strong spray of water or insecticidal soap.

* Fertilize strawberries and asparagus.

* Transplant or direct-seed several flowers, including snapdragon, candytuft, lilies, astilbe, larkspur, Shasta and painted daisies, stocks, bleeding heart and coral bells.

* In the vegetable garden, plant Jerusalem artichoke tubers, and strawberry and rhubarb roots.

* Transplant cabbage and its close cousins – broccoli, kale and Brussels sprouts – as well as lettuce (both loose leaf and head).

* Plant artichokes, asparagus and horseradish from root divisions.

* Plant potatoes from tubers and onions from sets (small bulbs). The onions will sprout quickly and can be used as green onions in March.

* From seed, plant beets, chard, lettuce, mustard, peas, radishes and turnips.

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