This section is from the book "The Gardener V1", by William Thomson. Also available from Amazon: The New Organic Grower: A Master's Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener.
A friend deeply interested in Orchids tells me that he finds cocoa-nut fibre and charcoal the simplest and best compost for all such Orchids as Cypripediums, Dendrobiums such as D. nobile, D. hetero-carpum, D. macrophyllum, and others, and even for Vandas, AErides, and Angraecums. He is particular to say that the pure coir fibre is the thing he employs, and not the refuse. One great advantage is the cleanliness and rapidity with which Orchids may be potted on this plan. The fibre and nodules of charcoal are surfaced with fresh sphagnum. Perfect drainage is insured. The roots fasten themselves on the fibre greedily, and retain their life and freshness much longer than in peat. One part of his secret remains to be told. When the hungry roots have filled the pot, they are fed with a solution of peat made by washing lumps of good peat in a tub of rain-water until all except the fibre is held in solution by the water. This is strained previous to use, and allowed to settle until it is clear. To this mixture, and a modicum of soot washed from the roof, he attributes his success in growing and flowering many Orchids with which he used to fail under a peat-compost regime.
For such Orchids as grow best upon blocks he has another plan : not only are they dipped in the solution of peat, but when wet, finely powdered peat is gently shaken over their aerial roots. I must say I have been agreeably astonished at the results of a two years' trial of Orchid-growing under this novel regime, and have much pleasure in here putting my friend's practice on record for the information of all whom it may concern.