The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Summer CSUN-al series starts

Cymbidium orchids are sold by the millions each year for occasions like prom night and are extremely popular in flower arrangements. Due to their versatility, they have become a favorite for San Fernando Valley gardeners; they are easy to grow, and they can also flourish under low humidity and can tolerate broader range of temperatures.

A new CSUN-al gardening class, scheduled for 9 a.m. on July 14, will reveal the mystery behind growing the orchids.

The class, which will be taught by longtime CSUN botanicg volunteer Nedra Bushby, is expected to educate students about the type of pots cymbidiums need, how to re-pot cymbidiums, how to clean the plant’s root system, orchid grooming and the different types of fertilizers.

“I’m going to pass on all the information I have learned to these students by bringing my own cymbidium to divide amongst the class,” Bushby said, adding that once the plants are planted, they will remain in the garden.

To keep her class engaged in the subject, Bushby said she will pick volunteers from the class to come up and help re-pot or clean out the root system. And although she will guide her students, she plans to let them learn through their own hands on experience.

“Hands on experience is way more interesting in a classroom,” said Bushby, who finds that students lose their focus and get bored easily when they are sitting in a classroom for hours. “When you’re doing something hands on, it’s more personal. I just hate having a plain old day lecture.”

Since 2006, the CSUN gardening lecture series, which is offered four times per year — one per season, has had many classes such as Tomatomania! Growing Heirloom Tomatoes in the spring, Container Gardening in the summer, Insects In Your Garden in autumn and Rose Hybridization and Introduction in winter. With the free cymbidium orchid lecture this summer, CSUN plans to continue the series by having a tree-walk in autumn where students will be exposed to different types of trees and plants.

The cymbidium orchids class was chosen not only because the orchids work well in any condition, but also due to the vast amount of requests and questions from students about the orchids.

According to Brenda Kanno, CSUN’s botanic garden manager, normally 120 students are allowed to take the class. However, due to a necessary move to a different classroom, the class is limited to 60 students, and the early registration has already exceeded one-third of that number. The class is said to reach full capacity as soon as it is listed in the event section of North Valley News, Daily News and The Los Angeles Times.

Kanno also added that the usual attendee for such a class is a homeowner wanting to learn various gardening topics, but not necessarily wanting to invest more time in Extension-type or community college classes. She finds the casual format of the class, no tests or grades, to be less intimidating making the students at ease with the subject areas, especially as presented in a one and a half hour session.

And as the CSUN gardening lecture series coordinator, Kanno’s job requires selecting knowledgeable instructors who can bring years of education, training and practical experience to the class in order to make the one and half hour a worthy investment.

“The instructors often impart ‘pearls of wisdom’ to the class – little practical hints that can make a huge difference in how well plants can be grown,” said Kanno in response to what the students can learn from such a class. “These hints are not usually found in books, but are gained from lifelong observations and experience in gardening and horticulture.”

For more information regarding the class or registration, students can call 818-677-3496 or e-mail at However, registration through email is preferred allowing the instructor to send the relevant class information quickly, easily and postage-free.

“Once you are start working with cymbidium orchids, you have to have more,” said Busby whose passion for the orchids continues to grow even after 25 years. “I want people to have a love and knowledge for plants. I want them to know their history and how long they have been around.

“What I want students to get out of such a class is to just enjoy plants themselves.”

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