Hope all of you have had a great spring season here in WNC! Summer is upon us, and for me it’s the best time of year as Phalaenopsis bellina/violacea season is starting to come on! Phalaenopsis bellina, a sweet, fragrant species from Borneo is the primary reason I am so heavily involved with orchids. I first fell in love with phal. bellina back in 2000. I knew I had to have it immediately, and have been collecting and working with this species ever since. 17+ years later, I am still as passionate about this orchid as I ever was, and boy have I learned a lot along the way.
As we move in to summer, I will try and focus my show and tell plants at our meetings with my favorite plants of these species from my collection. These species are at the heart of my breeding program, and are very special. While I geek out a bit too much on this specific orchid, I am curious what you all like to grow and enjoy at this time of year? I have always wanted to see a summer or fall orchid show where we can exhibit and show off our favorite summer bloomers.
I’ll admit, after the intense workload it takes to put on our now world renowned Asheville Orchid Festival (Yes, you read that correctly), I end up absolutely exhausted and needing a break from orchids. This happens to some of us every year it seems. Putting on our huge festival is exhausting, but boy is it worth it. Soon after our 19th festival, I was able to take some time, re-group and focus on other important areas of my busy life. But, I quickly realized that I needed to get down south of Miami and attend the 2017 Redland International Orchid Festival. I craved a bit more spring orchid fun and decided to do something. This year at Redland, the American Orchid Society held their national spring meetings in conjunction with this international festival. This is the same national spring meeting that we hosted last year here in the spring of 2016. I’m sure you all remember! So, I decided to make it a real trip, drive down and visit some other orchid friends along the way. What a treat!
Redland is held at Fruit and Spice Park and is basically a flea market for orchid lovers, with vendors coming in from all around the world. Days upon days of orchid fun, meetings, speakers, dinners and drinks out with other friends and of course, lots of shopping! Was a great idea of mine to drive down, as I drove home with a truckload of new orchids, some orchid art, and lots of fun experiences to cherish forever. If you haven’t ever been to the Redland International Orchid Festival, put it on your bucket list!
One thing I wish to share with you all from my trip was being the recipient of so many great peoples thank you to the WNCOS for hosting them last year here in Asheville. Guys, everyone is still talking about how amazing our festival was, our show venue and how special it is, the quality of the people, plants and vendors that we had, as well as our great city of Asheville. The AOS major players, judges, presidents, etc. that came from all around the country, all had an amazing time. I have heard it from countless people that we pulled off the greatest spring members meeting in decades. Hearing and feeling these folks sentiments all over again, a year removed from it all, was just awesome. I felt really proud of our efforts, and wanted to be sure to share that with each and every one of you. I don’t think we’ll do it again, but I’m confidant they’d all love for us to! Nice to have options and opportunities.
As we move onward in to the year, we have some outstanding speakers and programs lined up. Please keep up with us on Facebook, watch for newsletters, and don’t forget to block out your 2nd Sunday afternoons of each month. In addition to our website I’d like to encourage everyone to explore the wonderful website of the American Orchid Society. If you are not a current member of the AOS for some silly reason, take the time now to become a member. It really pays in more ways than one, to be an active member of both your home society, and the AOS!
Mike Mims, WNCOS President
This Sunday’s Meeting details
Sunday, June 14th, 2:00 p.m. downtown location in Montford at the Asheville Visitor’s Center. Come on up to the 2nd floor, you can’t miss us!
WNCOS friend Rick Lockwood will be here and will offer his expertise to us with specific regard to paph species. I’ve met Rick before at an IPA regional event and heard him give a program on plant nutrition and water quality needs. Was very technical, but was informative and fascinating. If you have paph questions, water quality questions, potting mix questions, science type questions, than you must be with us on Sunday. While Rick’s program will be about paph species, we will be sure to give him plenty of time for Q&A! Rick will not be selling plants, but don’t worry guys as we will have the raffle table full of great orchids!
Rick Lockwood Bio: 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.”