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Published: Friday January 17, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Friday January 17, 2014 MYT 10:39:00 AM

Orchids rule in Ruby's garden

Ruby Gurubatham’s love for orchids is evident as her garden at her house in Petaling Jaya is filled with them.

You will see them growing everywhere, from poles, a specially-made arch, and on palm trees.

She said orchids were her favourite as the blooms lasted for weeks, compared to other flowers such as bougainvillea.

“They are lasting and I enjoy looking at them. They are plants that are worth tending to,” she said.

The 76-year-old retired teacher said many people believed orchids were hard to care for but that this was not true.

“If you know the basics, it is not difficult and you will see the results if you water and nourish them properly,” she said.

For her, the plants thrive under her personal love and care.

Interview Ruby Gurubatham for gardening column- Art Chen/ The Star, 3 Jan 2014 
An arch of Dancing Ladies created by Ruby.

“Spending time will result in beautiful blooms,” she said.

Ruby said she started planting orchids in 1993 after she retired.

The mother of three said she inherited her love for gardening from her mother.

In her garden, she explained were three types of orchids — Vanda, Dendrobium and Oncidium.

She explained that those that grew on the poles were the hardy Vanda variety while the Dendrobium were potted orchids with roots that rot easily.

“This type is more difficult to care for and fare better on hardy surfaces.

“As such, I attach them to coconut husks and tie them to a tree to grow well,” she said.

Beautiful orchids surrounds Ruby Gurubatham's home - Art Chen/ The Star, 3 Jan 2014 

The golden showers, also known as “Dancing Ladies” due to its peculiar shape, belong to the Oncedium group.

“I got the inspiration to wrap them around the palm and mango trees in my garden after seeing this done at an airport,” she said.

She said besides being a pleasing sight, they thrived this way, adding that an arch in her garden was also decorated with “Dancing Ladies”.

“Visitors love to take pictures at the arch, especially when the plants are in full bloom and picturesque,” she said.

She said among ways to care for orchids was to water them twice a day, especially on hot days.

“I water them before the sun rises and after the sun sets.

“However, if it rains heavily, you can skip watering them for that time,” she said.

Ruby said plants also needed proper nutrients to grow well and that she added fertiliser once a week.

Tags / Keywords: Lifestyle, Central Region, gardening, flowers, orchids, Ruby Gurubatham

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