Guest Author - Susan Taylor
This yearís gift of the year has to be OrchidWiz software. Since itís start in 2005, this software has changed the way the orchid world looks at technology. Royal Orchid Society hybrid listings and the American Orchid Society award data since 1932 and current awards photographs are updated quarterly by subscription.
The newest version has added information from Bakers Culture Sheets on the climatic and growing conditions for almost 27,000 species. This is a really valuable resource for any grower who has species in his or her collection. Light, temperature and humidity requirements are covered as well as the best media for the species. Graphs are provided with temperatures ranges in the species natural range; average days of cloud free days; and the precipitation and humidity by month.
For the hybrid owner, not only do you get pictures of most of them, but cultural information based upon the genealogy of the species in the background of the hybrid. I love to page through the pictures of my orchids and see the photographs of the parents back several generations. It will give you valuable information on their growth habit as well as a wonderful trip through the photographs. I have found this particularly interesting and informative as I make decisions on new plants to buy. Each of us has special growing conditions and if you know what is growing and flowering for you now, you can research others with similar backgrounds.
For the serious grower, the function that identifies all the different naming conventions allows you to look up your plants by the name on the tag and OrchidWiz will give you the current nomenclature. There are many changes in the scientific world that are difficult for the normal hobbyist to keep up with and this program does all the work for you. It is used in many judging centers, in the US and abroad, for this reason. Of added interest is the pronunciation guide for species and hybrids which has been of particular interest to me.
From the point of view of ease of use, there is a very easy help function from any screen which will walk you through what you can do and how to do it. The newest version provides the user the option of selecting southern or northern hemispheres and Celsius or Fahrenheit temperatures for display. They have done a great deal of work to make installation easy and foolproof. I have never had any trouble installing any of the updates or upgrades.