The Orchid Whisperer: Expert Secrets for Growing Beautiful Orchids Paperback – Mar 6 2012
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"Unlike some other 'beginner' advice books, Rogers' language is engaging and humorous, and strikes the right balance between being easy to read and needing a science degree to understand."-American Orchid Society
About the Author
Bruce Rogers has more than 30 years of experience as an orchid grower and consultant. A member of the Advisory Council at the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers, he lives in San Francisco.
Greg Allikas is an internationally acclaimed photographer.
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Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
If I have to be picky I would have nixed the centerfold shot of Paphiopedilum venustum because the crease of the book obscures the effect of the giant flower image.
Normally orchid books written with content for beginners are written like an ad for the latest and greatest fertilizer or plant product. This book is not so. There is a comfortable conversational tone like getting great advice from your best friend with interjected humor along the way.
This book will be a favorite for the coffee table as well as a lovely gift for someone who is journeying into the world of orchiding for the first time. The information is presented so that it can be immediately applied and will not overwhelm a newbie. The author understood this was not intended to be an encyclopedia of orchid types but a complete and concise resource guide that the enthusiast can romp through again and again and again.
Qualifications for Critical Review:
Over a decade of non-commercial orchid culture for the home and garden...I've been growing orchids since I could walk. Past President and Past Vice President of the Santa Clara Valley Orchid Society. Past Vice President of the San Francisco Orchid Society. Former student of the American Orchid Society(Pacific Northwest) judging program. Fundraising ambassador for the Orchid Conservation Alliance. Event owner of the San Jose Orchid Exposition[...]. I maintain a collection of 200+ indoor orchids and more than 2500+ orchids in the garden. I lecture on the topic of Successful Non-Commercial Orchid culture and host the FaceBook.com Page: REAL ORCHID GROWERS
Yes, I bought a copy of the book for myself (which I got autographed) and I also purchased three more copies as gifts for friends.
What you will get:
1) how to select healthy orchids and where to buy them (and orchid scams to look out for)
2) orchid anatomy
3) summary of potting mediums and types of pots
4)mounting vs. potting
5) care for the most popular orchids
6) "must have" supplies for starting your orchid plant
7) tips for decorating with orchids
8) how to pot/re-pot orchids
what it doesn't have/ what would have helped the book be more "all inclusive":
1) specific instructions for differentiating between healthy roots versus dead roots for various genera of orchids when you are potting new orchids. Most times, whether your first orchid is a moth orchid from Trader Joe or an expensive Paphiopedilum (Lady's Slipper)from a specialized nursery, you will likely have to cut away dead rots when you bring them home and need to pot them. Rogers doesn't go into this "delicate orchid surgery"
2) orchid triage on sick orchids including techniques like "sphag" and bag--he does mention this technique for getting moisture to orchids that are drying out---but didn't mention that you can also do this for "dying" orchids (where you need to severely cut back roots to stop root rot and need to root it in spahagnum moss after having dipped the remaining roots in root hormone, you "bag" it to increase moisture until the orchid stabilizes)
3) provides only a few types of potting medium: fir or redwood, orchid bark, perlite blend, sphagnum moss. I also wouldn't recommend using just sphagnum moss unless you have your orchid in an air basket with alot of holes for aeration--and even then I'd still add medium he has not mentioned like coconut husk, charcoal, clay balls, oyster shells, etc.
4) how to divide up bulbs when you get an overcrowded pot and need to divide up your orchid into two pots before root rot sets in from crowding--and an approach that will give your orchids a fighting chance once you've split the bulbs.
5) how to water mounted orchids and how frequently to water the mounted orchids
6) other ideas to retain moisture, especially for those living in apartments in cities like NYC where we may get sun but definitely do not have moisture in the winter
New techniques I learned due to reading this book:
1) diy bionic root for rootless plants
2) travel tips (bathtub tip for when you're away from home for three to 15 days)
3) monopodial versus sympodials; care and how to identify and nurture new growth
4) how to treat and re-use "found" bark (ie: redwood and other bark I find lying in the woods)
5) "shock therapy" to force bloom from healthy orchids that have not bloomed in years
6) how to shape your Phalaenopsis's arch
Loved the detailed guidance on caring for the 12 most popular orchids. He also covers the technique for encouraging new growth on a Phalaenopsis branch by cutting at a flower node which generates either a new branch or a keiki (baby plant which can be cut and potted)---but he doesn't mention rooting hormone although . Most of my "beginner's orchids" are zygopetalums (zygos were not part of the top 12 so I didn't get Zygo-specific information), modern and mini Cymbidums, and a Lycaste--and generally lean toward cold-tolerant orchids.
He also makes it sound so easy to grow Vandas, Lady's Slippers and Cattleyas but this book will only provide basic knowledge---you will need supplementary books, youtube videos, blogs, and orchid forums for new techniques and ways to grow or pot orchids.
The photos are spectacular! I found myself mentally moving some of my plants based on the artistic arrangements in the photos. If you have a few orchids hanging around just waiting to be encouraged to thrive, this book is for you.
Keep in mind I am a novice orchid keeper.
1. Beautiful, beautiful pictures that highlight the orchids. Beautiful!!!
2. Love the section describing each kind of orchid, almost like an encyclopedia of orchids, beautiful picture for each type
3. This is a great book for novice orchid keepers, most things in the book I already knew... so I can only imagine what a professional would think
4. It has a giant section at the end just for decorating and all the different kind of pots/containers you can use - very interesting
5. Good section on fertilization
6. Great section on lighting and telling you about each room in the house - and whether that is good for your orchid or not
1. There is no section on cutting the flowers, or at least no specific topic. Just says to sanitize your scissors
2. Wish some sections were more specific, or just longer in general... (but not a big complaint)
3. Short book