Every now and then Orchid Wise has the opportunity to spend a day with a commercial Cymbidium orchid grower to experience life from their perspective.
What does it take to be a commercial grower? And what does a Day in the Life of a commercial grower entail? Well, let’s find out!
A Day in the Life at Wain’s Orchids
It was a crazy busy time, leading up to the 2023 OSCOV Melbourne Orchid Spectacular. Growers everywhere were madly scrambling to prepare plants for the show bench, and gather plants for the trading tables. And at Wain’s Orchids, it was no different! And Orchid Wise was there to experience a Day in the Life!
Despite working flat out, David Wain and his wife Ying were gracious enough to allow me to visit their grow house. And spend an afternoon with them as they made their preparations…..
The Wain’s Orchids grow house is large, and absolutely full of orchids! The image above is only half of the grow house and certainly does not do it justice! Flower spikes of all colours were everywhere! There is nothing quite like walking into a grow house in the flowering season. Hybrids of all colours and sizes. It’s awesome, and I love it!
Walking into David and Ying’s grow house is a delight to the senses!
For David and Ying, not only were they attempting to ready themselves for the show, they still had to continue the everyday tasks of running a commercial grow house. There were plants to tidy up, plants to repot, flower spikes to stake, flower spikes to cut for the florists, sold plants to box up for postage and fertiliser to make. The list went on and on! And given this is a part time gig for both of them, it’s a mammoth effort on their free days! A day in the Life turns into a long day indeed!
David has had a love of cymbidiums since he was about 16, thanks to Auntie Gladys in Mollymook, and has been a part of the Cymbidium scene now for over 30 years. It all started when visiting an orchid nursery in Ulladulla on the New South Wales south coast with Auntie Gladys. Coming away that day with a bunch of Cymbidium orchids created a monster, with David having been bitten by the bug, with no antidote in sight!
That started a long love of Cymbidiums due to the long lasting nature of the flowers and the ease of growing them.
David built his first growing igloo in 1998 and hasn’t looked back. In fact, the obsession is only getting bigger! He also set up a tissue culture lab soon after, focussing mainly on modern hybrids, to allow him to speed up the breeding and growing process in-house. David says he is always most excited by the promise of new seedlings flowering for the first time. You just never know, they could end up being a Grand Champion!
David’s collection isn’t just modern hybrids, but is starting to widen with an increased interest in the species Cyms, and the scent of tracyanum was easily detected when walking past some lovely specimen sized plants in the grow house! Another awesome specimen plant I spied was Cym. erythraeum ‘Paradise’, with too many spikes to count! There are also other types of orchids taking over the tiny spaces left in the grow house, which is already bursting at the seams!
David is certainly no stranger to the show bench, having won Grand Champion at Australian shows with both his own hybrids and other growers hybrids. The standouts being:
|AM/AOC 2018 (VIC)
|Cym. Memoria Myrtle Wain ‘Lachie’
|HCC/AOC 2017 (VIC)
|Cym. Templestowe Charm ‘Nicole’
|AM/AOC 2017 (VIC)
|Cym. Templestowe Charm ‘Julie’
|AD/AOC 2014 (VIC)
|Cym. Waringah Winter ‘National Show’
|AM/AOC 2014 (VIC)
|Cym. Waringah Winter ‘National Show’
|AD/AOC 2014 (VIC)
|Cym. Drouin Masterpiece ‘Kaleidoscope’
|HCC/AOC 2014 (VIC)
|Cym. Radiant Vulcan ‘Templestowe’
|AM/AOC 2004 (NSW)
|Cym. Valley Olympic ‘Pink Perfection’
|Award of Merit
|80 to 85 points
|Highly Commended Certificate
|75 to 80 points
|Award of Distinction
|Awarded for distinctive attributes e.g. colour
Among David’s personal favourite plants are probably his two best crosses – Cym. Templestowe’s Charm registered in 2007, which has been awarded as above, and Cym. Dulcet registered in 2013, and the species Cym. erythraeum ‘paradise’. And it was a privilege to pick his brain on the subject of Cymbidiums for an afternoon.
As for Ying, her favourites are Templestowe’s Charm ‘Aidan’, named for David and Ying’s son, as well as Templestowe’s Charm ‘Julie’. Ying spent the afternoon repotting and selecting flowering plants to clean up for showing and for the trading tables and was a delight to talk to. She certainly shares the passion and has been bitten by the bug too!
Cym. Templestowe’s Charm ‘Julie’ is also an Orchid Wise Orchid of the Week, so check it out here.
David has seen a number of changes in the industry over his time and has seen some of the bigger names in growing disappear in the last few years, and a few new smaller ones appear but it hasn’t changed his focus or enthusiasm for the industry.
With virus and disease an ever present hot topic in the Cymbidium world, David and Ying go to great lengths to prevent the introduction of virus and the possibility of cross contamination. New plants are quarantined, fresh, clean, disinfected scissors are used with every plant worked on and all care is taken to ensure all plants are very healthy and there is no plant to plant contamination by humans.
Wain’s orchids supply wonderful cut flowers to local florists as well as great quality plants to enthusiasts all over Australia. I’ve seen how healthy these plants are and have purchased plants myself from David over a long period.
David has also developed his own Cymbidium fertiliser after many years of growing – Wain’s Orchid Excellence, which is now used by many orchid growers around Australia and available from their website.
A Day in the Life at Wain’s Orchids is a busy one, but also a spectacular one. A massive thank you to both David and Ying for having me and spending the time they did with me, during such a busy time.
There are plans to expand the size of the Wain’s Orchids operation, so watch out for more great things in the future from Wain’s Orchids!
Where to Find Wain’s Orchids
Also, here is a Facebook link for Wain’s Orchid Excellence fertiliser group.
And you must follow Wain’s Orchids on Facebook for news straight from the grow house!