ON: Why did you
start to cultivate orchids? Which was the magic moment of attraction?
ON: Do you prefer hybrids or species? Why?
FS: I share my friend Raimundo Mesquita's opinion : good orchid is a beauty orchid, no matter if it is species or hybrid.
My collection has the same number of species and hybrids.
ON: How long do you spend taking care of your orchids daily?
FS: About an hour.
ON: Which are the climate conditions in your places?
FS: The conditions in Nogueira are fantastic. Sunny days and temperature stays (in average) at 22 a 28º C, having an important drop during the night. The winter is rigorous. Sometimes the temperature drops above 8º C.
In Rio, I try to overcome the climate using fan, an equipment to humidify and watering a lot the ground of the greenhouse.
ON: Do you have a cultivation tip to share with us?
FS: The tips are numerous, varying about composts, watering, feeding, pests and diseases treatment. However, I can say that cinnamon powder is an excellent natural fungicide and that the slugs should be fought with metaldehyde and orchids do not like to stay with soak compost, it is really important to only water when the substrate have stayed dry for a while.
ON: Basing on your background, what could you say about cultivating orchids from intermediate climate in a hot climate like you have in Rio de Janeiro?
FS: As I said before, the tip is to control the environment temperature and the relative humidity of the air. I have got a blooming of 175 flowers, in 3 branches, from my Oncidium enderianum or crispum, in Leblon (Rio de Janeiro city), for that reason. Even the progeny of Sophronitis grows well in my green house in Leblon.
ON: Is there a short or an amusing story related to orchids you can tell us??
FS: I have a good one. I presented in a show in Maricá city (State of Rio de Janeiro) an hybrid by Roberto Agnes, I have bought from Aranda. I put the official tag of the competition with the correct identification. However there was inside the pot, a small tag with a wrong identification. Well, the plant was not considered for the judgment and hasn't got a prize. People didn't understand why the plant got no award. Sad with this fact and as the flowers lasted very well, a week after, I brought it with Marlene Paiva (OrquidaRio) to the AOSP show, by the end of the last year. Well, there, in São Paulo, in front of a rigid and judicious judgment, the plant won the first place.
ON: One said that orchidophilia a soft manifestation of madness. Have you done any "orchidophilic" insanity?
FS: Yes, I have. With little time as orchidist, having just a judge course (Carlos Espejo/OrquidaRio) and having to participating of one show, I took my wife, we did our luggage and went to Dijon (France), in March 2005, succeeding in, due to world wise prestige of OrquidaRio, being one of the judges of this terrific show, staying in the group (6) which judging Oncidium.
Photos: Fernando Setembrino