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PERIODICAL INSPECTION

Whenever the time is to be spared, it is a good plan to overhaul one or other of the sections of Orchids thoroughly, and to have a more general inspection as soon as possible after the winter has passed, and at the end of the summer, this latter inspection being the more important. Cleanliness in everything around Orchids is one of the most important aids to successful culture, and, during the periodical inspections, plants which are not clean should be cleansed, their pots where it is required washed, and the staging and any part of the house requiring it thoroughly cleansed before the plants are rearranged. During the course of the work certain plants which would be benefited by being repotted, or divided, will be found, and these should be given attention. The water in the tub in which the green deposit on the pots has been removed by scrubbing, and as much of the other water used in cleansing as can be dealt with, should be poured down a drain outside the Orchid house. If thrown on the floor of the house, it leaves an unpleasant odour, which is harmful and lasts a long time.

During the inspection at the end of the summer the staging should be repaired where necessary, the heating apparatus carefully overhauled and defects made good, in order to minimise the risk of having to do the work during the cold weather. Where it is deemed advisable to black the hot-water piping, use only lamp-black and oil. Paint gives off injurious gases for a considerable time, and where persons have been incautious enough to use gas-tar the most lamentable results have followed, the mischief lasting for years. These periodical inspections and rearrangement of the plants are also useful in preventing the same plants occupying the same positions for too long a time. A change of position in the house is beneficial, even where the plants are not crowded; but in collections where the plants are closely arranged, to change their positions frequently, goes far to mitigate the evil arising from want of space. In preparing for a thorough inspection of the plants in a house, it is desirable to remove a number of the plants to another house to make room to examine the rest without risk of breakage, the plants removed at the commencement being returned to fill the space remaining after the work has been completed.

The Orchid grower is always supposed to have the plants under his direct inspection and to treat them with individual care, but these occasional reviews often reveal defects in some of the specimens which would otherwise have escaped for some considerable time.