Orchidnick how many orchids do you have in your collection?
Great question Bea! Nick has such a beautiful and extensive collection of orchids.
My collection increased in waves. Initially a nice red one, yeah how about a nice yellow one. This led to a lot of Cattleya hybrids and Cymbidiums. All others from those days (circa 1995) want to orchid heaven. Then I discovered the orchid shows and places like SBOE and Notman's. I had an office close to Normans. Some of these acquisitions I still have.
Then came an office in Chula Vista (close to Mexico south of San Diego) which I visited once a week. On the way home I crossed Andy's palm with some cash and added some nice species on a weekly basis. Soon after that however I got a little ill and also moved. Between these two issues I lost a lot of these 'early' species.
10 years go I had an operation and a few other adjustments which made everything well and that's when the real collection started. By then I knew what I was doing and had a greenhouse. Initially heavy emphasis on Australian Dendrobiums all of which survived and whose only fault is that they are getting to damn big. Also a lot of Kawamoto's catt hybrids as my daughters begged me for these, to this day they can't get enough of them. Even though they were appreciated by my daughters, I got rid of most of the 100 odd Cymbidiums which were taking up too much space about 3 years ago.
5 to 6 years ago, I built the cold greenhouse and the modern day collection took shape. Cloud forest plants, Coelogynes, Maxillarias and other species in the cool house, Bulbophyllums, Dendrobiums and other species in the warm house Terrestrials the last 3 years with heavy emphasis on Cypripediums and American terrestrials.
I have never counted them but I have a catalogue which has 37 entries (average of the first 4 pages) on a total of 54 pages. Comes to around 2000 which is what my guess would have been. I don't consider that a huge number, I know a number of people who have way more than that.
How easy is it to look after that many? Every second day 2 hours is all I need to keep things rolling. The trick is to treat everyone in a certain area the same. In the cold house that means that everyone gets watered with RO water at least every 2 days. If a plant does not find that suitable, it will regress and either end up on the raffle or silent auction table or die. I neither have the time nor the inclination to provide special care, they either sink or swim. No regrets on the sinkers, just enjoy the swimmers. When I buy plants I try to keep in mind what conditions they'll get and make appropriate purchases.
Also I don't have much of a potting bench as most of my potted plants are grown in such a way that they do not need repotting. The ones in Sphagnum moss are the exception, when I decide it's time to give them new moss, it may take me a week of steady work to remoss them all. Now that we have Orchiata which lasts up to 5 years, many of these are going to go into a small orchiata/moss/lava rock mix which should work like SM.
There are exceptions of course, right now I'm mixing a watering solution at ph of 4.5 to try to keep Cypripedium acaule alive which needs an acidic watering mix. So one plant is getting special treatment, exactly the type of thing that will drive you crazy if you have too much of that.