McBean’s Orchids

Guided Tour, Cooksbridge Lewes

Thursday 22nd November 2007

Forty-four members and guests were given a tour of the McBean’s Orchid growing facility at Cooksbridge. This is the highest number of members and guests to take part in a visit or outing for several years. McBean’s, a family owned company, have been growing orchids for sale at their site for over 100 years and is worth a visit if you are ever in the area and did not attend this meeting.

Our party was split into two groups to be taken around the greenhouses by the two senior growers / specialists in orchid horticulture. The guides gave a detailed commentary in each of the greenhouses on the techniques they employ to cultivate and propagate the different types of orchid they have to deal with from different regions of the world. This included an explanation of the different temperature conditions needed in each of the growing areas, the watering techniques, the need for fertilisers, the general care and attention needed, pest control, etc., for the different species of orchid being grown.

There were many questions raised and ably answered by the experts for the serious gardeners in our party. While for the less able gardeners the message was clear, keeping orchids is not straightforward.

The tour finished with a visit to their orchid display area that showed many of the species they were cultivating in a simulated natural environment.