August I 2017

G’day all, from Sydney Australia! My family and I are here on holiday, having the time of our lives. This is a quick note as my electronic abilities and plans to send you all your monthly newsletter have not gone quite as planned. While there’s nowhere like home, especially beautiful Asheville, I have fallen deeply in love with everything Australia and it’s kind people have to offer. Their land, their culture, their food, and yes…even their gardens and wildlife are absolutely incredible.

We’re parked here in the famous Sydney Harbor for a week, after visiting friends of ours 90 minutes west. We took a long hike through the Royal Botanical Gardens yesterday and all I can say is i’ve not been this inspired in many, many years. Breathtaking gardens, historic trees that are absolutely massive, exotic birds, and orchids as well. I happened to stumble upon a small population of a dendrobium species in bud while exploring the gardens, however i’m not exactly sure which species it was. I plan to go back at some point this week as they’re offering tours of their glasshouse throughout the weekdays this month. I wonder what phalaenopsis species they may have here in their collection! I hope to find some really cool orchids under glass!

We’ve seen large fruit bats, cockatoos and exotic birds flying everywhere, and spotted a large mob of roos out in the bush. The kangaroos were really neat to see in the wild, the kids got a huge kick out of it. Their Blue Mountains are incredible, and although the winds were ripping while we were their hiking, the clear blue skies and views were amazing. Quite different from our famous Blue Ridge Mountains back home.

The blue haze in the horizon as you peer through their mountains comes from the eucalyptus oils released by their beautiful Eucalyptus trees. Really, really cool to experience. And, as a sucker for fragrance I was highly pleased.Miss you all, and hate that i’ll miss our friend Graham Ramsey’s program this upcoming Sunday. This is an important meeting, details below.


Mike Mims, WNCOS President

        Graham Ramsey, Orchiata expert!

This upcoming Sunday, 8/13 at 2:00 p.m. Asheville Visitors Center, Montford Ave.

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 the humidifying of 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 the past 10 years has served as Show Chair for the WNCOS Annual Orchid Show (now called Asheville Orchid Festival).

   Along the way Graham met and 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.

Repotting With Orchiata

   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 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, we will be offering our society a special deal on our Orchiata pallet order, a great opportunity for members to purchase Orchiata at much reduced price.

Yours truly,