PLANT BEAUTY: Ardina and Neville Ludwig show off the spectacular orchids in their Elanora garden.
PLANT BEAUTY: Ardina and Neville Ludwig show off the spectacular orchids in their Elanora garden. Yvonne Gardiner

Couple spring to action with orchid obsession

GROWING orchids is something of an obsession for Gold Coast gardener and former train driver Neville Ludwig.

He's been engrossed in the hobby for nearly 50 years, and knows a thing or two about how to care for the various species.

"When you look at orchids in nature, they grow on trees, rocks, crevices ... they might not get water for months," Neville said.

"We get orchids here from the Tropics, Indonesia ... and they all have different climatic conditions.

"You've got to make sure they have conditions similar to what they're used to in nature."

Neville and his wife Ardina have created a garden over 17 years at Elanora that attracts many admiring glances, with its beds full of colourful blooms.

Out the back, shadehouses shelter their impressive orchid collection.

A specially heated greenhouse contains Phalaenopsis tropical orchids, known as the moth orchid.

"There's beauty in orchids - they're more outstanding to me than any other kind of plant," Neville said.

"It's something that grabs you and you get interested. When it grabs you, it won't let go.

"They need attention. If you neglect them, then you can expect deterioration.

"They're like everything else, they need feeding.

"You're never too old to learn; a lot of it is common sense and experience."

The Ludwigs, as long-standing members of the Gold Coast District Orchid Society, will show their plants at the 2017 Spring Show at the Albert Waterways Community Centre, cnr Hooker and Sunshine Blvds, Mermaid Waters on Friday and Saturday, September 15 and 16.

This annual show will be open on Friday from 8am to 4.30pm and Saturday from 8am to 3.30pm. The venue is wheelchair-friendly with plenty of parking.

The judged orchid and foliage show will host 10 traders selling orchids, bromeliads, cactus, succulents and growing needs.

There will be a members' plant sale table and potting demonstrations.

Admission is $4 for adults and children under 12 enter for free.

For details, phone Peter Emerton on 0417 504 838.

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