January I 2017

Happy New Year friends! Wow, what an unbelievable and unprecedented year the WNCOS has had. 2016 was an eventful and memorable year, full of fun times, great guest speakers, exotic new orchids, and the best damn orchid festival anyone has seen in our region in decades! If I am free to say so myself, we absolutely nailed it, and I’m proud to have hosted the American Orchid Society’s national spring meeting at our beloved Asheville Orchid Festival! We took the orchid world by storm, and I know we did ourselves proud as it shaped up to be a first-class event.

Personally, this was an experience I’ll never forget.  What was even better than the event itself for me, was my opportunity to spend a year working with my friend, Brett Hopkins. Brett’s a great guy as we all know, but his strong leadership abilities put us squarely on track to tackle such a huge event. Countless days and nights were spent working with Brett, his incredible wife Julie, and our leadership team. It was exhausting, nerve wracking, but fulfilling, and I wouldn’t t trade the experience for anything in the world. None of this could have happened so successfully without Brett at the wheel.

As we say goodbye to Brett as our president, know that his support and guidance he has provided me with will help me continue to follow and lead our society toward continued and sustained success. The WNCOS has a rich history, one which I am honored to have been a part of for many years now. Marching forward, serving as president should be adventurous and exciting. I am ready to take on this new challenge, but I do so knowing that you’re all with me. The WNCOS will continue to thrive, our branded event, the “Asheville Orchid Festival” will live on with some major rock star street credit, and we’ll all continue to enjoy being part of such an awesome community.

We are a strong society, diverse, full of energy and enthusiasm. We’ve got a great group of orchid lovers here in western North Carolina, full of talented and kind folks. Our society is full of passion and energy, yet we crave ongoing education and have a thirst for increased knowledge. We strive to maintain a comfortable, inviting and enjoyable club! Recently, we’ve been happy to welcome some new members and friends to the WNCOS. Much like our great city of Asheville, the WNCOS is a diverse and awesome group of folks with a fascinating collaborative background.

I look forward to spending more quality time with all of you in this upcoming year, and ask that you help me and our board of officers help to maintain the unique orchid society that we have today!

January guest speaker

As we move forward here in to 2017, we have plans to kick of the new year with a bang! Rick Lockwood, herpetologist, aquarist, environmental toxicologist, and most of all, orchidist, from Nashville, Tn is heading our way to share with us, his knowledge and passion for slipper orchid species. I met Rick years ago while he and I were both speaking at an IPA regional symposium in Chattanooga, he was giving a presentation on water quality, contaminants, soils and how things all work together in our mission to grow thriving orchids.

Rick is a fun and friendly guy, and is a perfect match for our society. I am pleased to announce that he’ll be here speaking to us on Sunday, January 8that our usual meeting location, the Asheville Visitors Center on Montford Ave., 2PM.  Also, kicking off the new year here at the WNCOS provides us with a reminder to bring in your blooming orchid every month for our show and tell portion of each meeting. Good, bad, or ugly, we encourage everyone to bring in a bloomer and share what you can with the group. Tell us what’s working, what you did right, or what you’ve learned with your plant. Each blooming plant you bring in for show and tell earns you a free raffle ticket. We plan to have a dazzling display of blooming orchids on the raffle table, however please note that Rick will not be offering plants for sale.

Future Programs

February also brings us another one of a kind treat. The WNCOS is going on the road! Long-time friend and supporter of the WNCOS, a lifelong expert in the industry, Russ Bolt of Looking Glass Orchids in Pisgah Forest, NC is happy to host us for our first field trip of 2017! Sunday, February 12 we will be meeting at Looking Glass Orchids greenhouse for a tour of his facilities. Russ is going to host the WNCOS, a first time ever experience to see where and how he grows and breeds his orchids. Looking Glass Orchids is offering all members a 25% discount on plants purchased during our field trip, and just so happens to fall 2 days before Valentine’s Day! What an incredible opportunity we’re providing for our members. Light refreshments will be provided, but please note that Looking Glass Orchids does not have a bathroom on site. Local businesses are located down the road a couple of miles. We hope and expect to see everyone here, trust me you do not want to miss this! Stay tuned for further details, but go ahead and save the date!

2017 Asheville Orchid Festival, show update

March brings us our busiest month of the year. The 2017 Asheville Orchid Festival and all our plans are slowly coming together nicely. Our show chair, Graham Ramsey is very busy leading his team through the required activities of putting together such a huge, successful orchid festival. Lots of details are emerging regarding our vendors, exhibitors, and folks who plan to attend.

I’ll share a little secret here, we have been working to acquire vendors and exhibitors from around the world once again! Contracts and payments have begun to come in, and we will keep everyone updated as we move these activities along. Note that the show chair position is a daunting task, and it is imperative that we all provide Graham and his dynamite team with our assistance and support. It takes support and assistance from everyone to put on such an event, so please become more active and do anything you possibly can to be helpful.

With the new year, this is a wonderful time to bring your friends and family to a meeting. Come on over, check us out, but be ready to learn something new and make some new friends. Our members are what truly makes our society fun, and I’m counting on all of you to help me accomplish all things great here within the WNCOS in 2017!