WNCOS Calendar of Events

All orchid lovers are welcome to attend our meetings the second Sunday of each month. Normal meetings begin at 2pm at the Asheville Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, located at 36 Montford Ave., Asheville, NC 28801. Please click here for full directions.


Upcoming Meeting 

August 13

Graham Ramsey orchidRepotting With Orchiata – Graham Ramsey

“Come learn why many orchid hobbyists and professional growers consider Orchiata to be the best bark medium available. This presentation will include how Orchiata is produced in New Zealand, quite an interesting story in itself. I will also discuss the many different sizes of Orchiata, and how a grower can determine which is best for his/her needs.

The program is set up to engage members in a discussion about both Orchiata and orchid repotting in general. In addition, as the Chair of the American Orchid Society Membership Committee, I will briefly discuss the benefits of AOS membership. Q&A is strongly encouraged. And finally, I will be offering your society a special deal on Orchiata pallet orders, a great opportunity for members to purchase Orchiata at much reduced price.”

Most of you already know Graham as a former president of the WNCOS, and a long time member, but here is his bio for those who are unfamiliar:

Graham Ramsey has lived in Asheville North Carolina his entire life. Like many orchid enthusiasts, his first orchid was a white Phalaenopsis, a gift for his wife purchased at the local hardware store. It wasn’t until Graham’s mother-in-law sent him home with 18 orchids from her Florida home that he realized there was more to orchids than white Phalaenopsis.

With his daughter off to college, and suddenly a mix of orchids to care for, he co-opted his daughter’s bedroom and attempted to create the perfect growing space; that is, until his wife objected to humidifying the bedroom! Off to the basement to create a full blown grow-room, and, eventually, a 6oo sq. ft. greenhouse.

After the initial gift of orchids, a friend of Graham’s mother-in-law and founder of the Western North Carolina Orchid Society insisted that Graham attend a WNCOS meeting. In no time, Graham was asked to join the board of WNCOS and soon after he became WNCOS Vice President. Eventually, Graham would serve as President of WNCOS for six years, and for many years served as Show Chair for the WNCOS Annual Orchid Show (now called the Asheville Orchid Festival).

Along the way, Graham became close friends with H. P. Norton of Orchidview. Norton became a mentor, especially in regards to the breeding and growing phragmipediums, with particular focus on kovachii influenced phrags – a favorite of Graham’s.

After 15 years in the orchid world, Graham now has a propagation lab, a new indoor grow-room and a small greenhouse with about 400 orchids. To date he has received 16 AOS awards and is currently the Chair of the American Orchid Society Membership Committee.

September 10

Our good friend Tom Mirenda, the Smithsonian Gardens Orchid Collection Specialist, will return to Asheville to share his orchid knowledge with us. An orchid grower himself since 1980, Tom Mirenda has been the Smithsonian Gardens’ orchid collection specialist for more than 15 years. Along with his duties maintaining and curating the Smithsonian’s collection of 9,000 orchids, Tom helps to develop educational displays for Smithsonian Garden exhibits visited by hundreds of thousands of museum patrons. He frequently travels around the U.S. and internationally, giving talks and presentations to scientists as well as the general public about orchid ecology, pollination biology, and strategies for orchid conservation.Originally trained as a marine biologist, Tom could no longer resist the lure of the flower and made the switch to plants and orchids while living in Hawaii in his 20s. He has worked with orchids at the New York Botanical Garden, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and with the extensive private collection at the Greentree Estate in Long Island. He also served as floor manager at the New York International Orchid Show for several years.

The author of numerous articles on orchids, Tom’s contributions have appeared in the magazine of the American Orchid Society, the Orchid Review (UK), Orchid Digest and the Dutch publication, Orchideeën. He is passionate about building partnerships between the overlapping circles of botanic gardens, hobby and commercial growers, and scientists to work toward the goal of protecting orchids and their habitats. In his free time, Tom sings with the Victorian Lyric Opera Company, recently as Oswald from Gilbert and Sullivan’s Haddon Hall.

 October 8

James Pearsall, the youngest WNCOS member, sharing his 2017 summer intern experience at Ecuagenera!

November 12

*Steve Arthur, Steve Arthur Orchids in Graniteville, SC (*UNC-Asheville meeting location at Rhoades-Robinson Hall)

December 10

Holiday Social, location TBD


Stay tuned for more details – as information becomes available for upcoming WNCOS Meetings, the updates will be posted here and on the WNCOS Facebook Page.