Georgia Magazine - February 2010 - (Page 24)

An ‘orchid killer’ becomes an orchid expert BY STEPHANIE GREEN O n what seemed like an ordinary day, Eddie Weigle, who works as a plumber in Augusta, left home and headed to a long-time client’s house to perform some disconnects. While Weigle is a veteran of his trade—with 37 years of service—his clients threw him a monkey wrench that day, although not literally, and introduced him to a pastime that today is a great source of pleasure. “I was told out of the blue that I was bequeathed a greenhouse filled with orchids,” Weigle says. Stunned, Weigle accepted the generous gift. But it came at a price for the plants. “I killed about 200 orchids that year,” Weigle says. “And that’s what got me, because I’ve grown so many other things.” Just never an orchid. “I had problems at STEPHANIE GREEN EDDIE WEIGLE For the love of orchids Phalaenopsis are great orchids for beginners. Phragmipedium besseae has a brilliant red bloom. first, because I didn’t know what I was doing, and many of the plants were weak and in decline,” he says, “so I got a crash course in learning what to do.” between 45 and 80 degrees; intermediates grow well in temps between 55 and 85 degrees; and the warm growers can take the heat, tolerating temperatures between 65 and 90 degrees. Light requirements will vary from low to high depending upon the species. The right orchids in the right place “The best thing to do is to find what orchid will grow in your environment and grow it,” Weigle advises. He primarily grows Phalaenopsis, Cattleyas, Vandas and Stanhopeas. Phalaenopsis are probably the most commonly known orchid. “Phalaenopsis are the easiest to grow and are also the most inexpensive,” he says. “They also stay in bloom the longest, sometimes for up to five or six months.” Growing orchids in a greenhouse affords gardeners the opportunity to closely monitor and alter the temperature. Weigle runs fans in his greenhouse on his orchid collection 24/7. “I admit I do like to pamper my plants,” he says. But the pampering actually serves a purpose. Orchids like a lot of air movement. The gentle breezes help reduce disease and foster sturdier growth. When growing orchids inside the home, he says, “If you are comfortable, then your plants are.” Weigle says getting support was instrumental in helping him to grow GEORGIA MAGAZINE What an orchid needs Orchids tout more than 880 genera and 30,000 species. The striking plants are often considered difficult to grow. Nearly 10 years since his introduction to the plant, Weigle knows differently. “They have a bad reputation that they’re difficult, and they’re not,” he says. Orchids are true air plants and must have three things in order to grow: proper watering, the right temperature and light. “It is much better to under water an orchid than to over water it,” Weigle says. Orchids should always be watered in the morning to allow any excess water to evaporate. When it comes to getting the temperature right, it’s important to understand which Eddie Weigle, inset above, has a greenhouse now range the plant fits into: cool filled with blooming Phalaenopsis. growers like temperatures

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - February 2010

Georgia Magazine - February 2010
Picture This?
Oh, Atlanta!
Good Stewards
My Georgia
Georgia Gardens
Georgia Cooks

Georgia Magazine - February 2010