Addicted to orchids

From left, A former bedroom now has special lights to provide perfect conditions for orchids to thrive. Pouline and Mike Morley in their shade house.

‘Too many is not enough’ must be the philosophy of Pouline and Mike Morley, whose orchid and houseplant collection is almost taking over their Stanmore Bay home.

The couple are members of the Hibiscus Coast Orchid Society, and will have plants in the show that is on this week in Ōrewa.

As their children left home, a bedroom was taken over by orchids and African violets, with ‘grow lights’ installed that run all day. There is an outdoor shade house, and in the lounge, houseplants fill every corner. The front deck is home to dozens of potted specimens and their garden is packed with plants.

“I used to have cacti, but got sick of digging prickles out of my hands, so now I stick to succulents and hoyas,” Pouline says.

She says it takes her a day to water everything and check on the plants’ health.

Mike and Pouline have lived in Stanmore Bay for 30 years. Their orchid obsession began when the children were young, and Pouline would attend orchid shows and occasionally buy a plant.

Semi-retired truck driver Mike was quick to get on board, after Pouline “dragged him to an orchid show”, several years ago – it was his idea to join the local orchid society.

They particularly like Dendrobiums, Cattleya and slipper orchids, but can’t name some of the species they grow – there are just too many.

The weather this year has caused problems with the flowering cycles of the plants, and slugs and snails are eating the flowers of outside plants, Mike says.

They have been keeping a close eye on every orchid that is budding, so they can bring the flowering ones to the show.

Living surrounded by plants is just how they like it.

“We always say ‘we have got no more room’, but then we find some!” Pouline says.

The Hibiscus Coast Orchid & House Plant Show, is on September 8 and 9 at Ōrewa Community Hall, 10am-3pm. It includes orchids and houseplants for sale. More info: see What’s On.