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Greenhouse volunteering

This is a discussion on Greenhouse volunteering within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; I'm interested in hearing from hobby growers who have volunteered at orchid business greenhouses. I ...

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  1. #1
    Aerides is offline Senior Member
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    Default Greenhouse volunteering

    I'm interested in hearing from hobby growers who have volunteered at orchid business greenhouses. I wonder what sorts of jobs you were given, whether business owners were enthusiastic about volunteer help, whether you felt it was a valuable learning experience and whether volunteering has any negative impact on paid workers who are not, shall we say, core employees.

    Thanks!

    John

  2. #2
    Floofy's Avatar
    Floofy is offline Junior Member
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    Default I've wondered the same thing...

    there is one nursery I go to that I've seen volunteers at. I would volunteer there now that I know the owner's health is on the decline. I'd be interested to see what the answers are.

    I know they take volunteers at AOS, but I only see them giving tours, not working with the plants. I could have just missed them.

    Good question--would be a great way to hone potting skills, become more confident, etc. for new growers.

  3. #3
    Heather is offline Banned
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    I worked at a nursery, not as a volunteer, but a paid employee, in college (same one I posted about today selling the wretched plants today!). I wanted to be an organic farmer at the time, but that was 13 years ago, so give me some slack, please.. If I had the chance now, to volunteer at a bonifide *orchid* greenhouse, and it was feasible, I think I'd jump at the chance
    Traci is the only one I know of doing this currently - lucky lucky woman!

  4. #4
    tnwren is offline Junior Member
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    Default

    my wife dawn and i worked at an orchid gh for several yrs, by worked i mean we got paid $5 an hour each and traded 1/2 our wages for orchids, media, etc. the other 1/2 of our wages bairly covered gas for the once a week gig that was 2hrs one way from our home. for all intent and purpose we were vollenteering. i am a carpenter among other things and for 2 yrs i held that place together with chewing gum and baling twine, it's all i was allowed. after a yr and a 1/2 it deterierated to the point that my wife and i were doing mostly domestic chores and a bunch of other b.s.
    we are now finishing our own 36' x85' gh space with a 1000 sq ft of shade area outside. we offer 2 internships (paid) to the top 2 students from our local high school horticultural program. we also employ a few latinos for the back breaking work that no one else will do. in this area of the country nurserys rule and are not bound to "minimum wage and benefiets". labour is cheap and plentiful, we live 10 min north of mcminnville tn. "nursery calitol of the world". my point is ... you get what you pay for, we dont have to pay our interns but we do, we dont have to pay our hired help minimum but we do. anyone going for their master gardener knows that they can't do their "volenteer" work at a for profit biz. i have yet to figure out how we'll do our volenteer time. perhaps at the local hs doing guest lectures... it's all a trade-off.
    skip

  5. #5
    Aerides is offline Senior Member
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    Default

    Interesting posts and information, everybody. Thanks. Skip, that's quite an operation you've got now. In my case I would consider it a favor to be allowed to work at an orchid greenhouse.

    I'd even stoop to bribery - maybe a nice division of Paph. tigrinum (?) Tempting? Huh?

    Problem is the closest place I'd be interested in is around two hours one way. Still, it might be an interesting way to spend a week of vacation. Probably not worth it to them though. I guess I'll open my own business and work for me. Not exactly what I had in mind.

  6. #6
    Heather is offline Banned
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aerides
    I'd even stoop to bribery - maybe a nice division of Paph. tigrinum (?) Tempting? Huh?
    Well, that tigrinum would certainly work for me, if I had an orchid nursery! I was just thinking about that one today, actually!

  7. #7
    Aerides is offline Senior Member
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    I know - I was excited to see your post - no one has ever posted about that paph, except me on another chatline.

    John

  8. #8
    Heather is offline Banned
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    Well, I was *just* thinking about it today, maybe it is fate?!

    Also, it is *so* difficult to find pictures of entire plants, so I had no idea what the rest of the plant looked like, and that actually makes a difference to me!

  9. #9
    Persistence's Avatar
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    Default

    Well, I was fortunate to know Gary Baker and Will Chantry. Very prominent in the orchid world. They were pioneers in breeding many genera and after they passed away I volunteered for the new owner. I started by weeding and potting and turned to dividing. After many years I would be I would be in charge of shows, ordering plants and talking to customers(which she hated) besides the potting and shuffling of plants for better growing areas.

    So, I learned a ton of info on just about every genera out there. How they reacted to pesticides and fertilizers from organic manure to man made stuff. Bug problems and what plants looked like after bugs feasted. Light conditions and cold and heat tolerances.

    Another advantage with working with a nursery that did it's own crosses were what plants genes were recessive and such. It was quite interesting. I felt I learned more in those 10 years than I could have learned in a lifetime of gowing by myself.

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