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 Meetings

June 11

Paphiopedilum rothschildianum orchid by Asheville commercial and fine art photographer Julie McMillan of Silver Birch Studio Photography

Rick Lockwood will share his knowledge of Paphiopedilum species Sunday, June 11 at 2pm
From the age of 5, Rick has been figuring out how to culture oddball organisms, and after graduating from UC Irvine became a herpetologist and aquarist for the Oklahoma City zoo.  After leaving the zoo biz in 1995, Rick became an environmental toxicologist for Ramboll Environ, where he is a managing scientist for the aquatic toxicology division of the Nashville, Tennessee office. He has focused on salt (in particular potassium) toxicity issues since 2005.
His wife, Robin, rekindled his love of orchids in 2001, and has since been passionately pursuing the study of species orchid culture, breeding, and conservation. He is an active and past office holder of the Orchid Society of Middle Tennessee and a major contributor on the SlipperTalk orchid forum. Slipper orchids are his favorite, but it took almost 10 years before he “got it right” to the point where he is achieving AOS awards with his favorite flowers. Besides slippers Rick also keeps an extensive collection of species Bulbophyllums and Phalaenopsis.  

Rick is happy to talk about his passion for slipper orchids: “Five years into my orchid hobby, I wrote an article for the Slipper Orchid Alliance Newsletter (Spring, 2006) “Try A Bit of Everything”. In that article I detailed what I had learned about slipper orchid culture (and orchid culture in general), and announced the achievement of a personal orchid growing milestone: blooming at least one species from each subgenera or section of Paphiopedilum. Actually at that time I had bloomed 29 of the 50 species I had obtained, and as of to date, I’ve bloomed 54 of the 82 recognized species in Harold Koopowitz’s Paphiopedilum checklist in Orchid Digest 4th quarter 2000 issue.

Technically that goal has been overturned with the exciting discovery of two new species placed in their own new sections (P. canhii, and P. rungsuriyanum). So as long as new species are found, I may never realize my early goal without creating a caveat of referencing the taxonomy of the day!! But I really look forward to the day when I will have the opportunity to grow these new species.”



August 13

Michael Coronado

Michael Coronado, Vice President of R.F. Orchids, located in Homestead, Florida will be our speaker. Michael literally grew up at R. F. Orchids, having been with the firm since he was 13 years old. He started out working in the greenhouses, repotting, staking, fertilizing, packing & shipping, later getting involved with exhibiting orchids and other facets of the business. In 1985, the firm incorporated and Michael became its Vice President. He is now Vice President in charge of growing and hybridizing. Mike has traveled extensively around the world to keep abreast of the newest trends in orchid hybridizing, including the nursery’s specialty, vandaceous orchids. He has spent several months at the R. F. Orchids’ growing facility in Thailand learning techniques for the propagation and production of orchids for the international market. In his career with R. F. Orchids, Mike has also participated in many domestic and international orchid shows including several World Orchid Conferences and the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show, and is an accredited American Orchid Society Judge. He has served on the Board of Directors of the South Florida Orchid Society, and is a Life Member of the American Orchid Society.

One of Mike’s favorite activities is the design of private orchid gardens. He has designed orchid gardens for many important South Florida properties, including the outdoor façade of the Christian Louboutin boutique in the Miami Design District. Mike has also designed interior orchid arrangements for South Florida notables including Cristina Saralegui, and he is manager of our flower shop at the Ocean Reef Club. He was also instrumental in developing R.F. Orchids’ “Orchid Camp”, a series of educational classes about orchid growing in South Florida.

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.




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.