June 2015

Hello Everyone,

June Meeting
This month we host a return visit of the Carolina’s Judging Center for a supplemental AOS judging opportunity. Our local AOS judging center in Greensboro, NC is a gem in the AOS judging system as they have an intense focus on using their skills to teach other orchid enthusiasts about the methods and excitement of AOS Judging. They do this at our show each year by encouraging as much participation from our members as possible, and in the last few years they have branched out to create a roadshow of supplemental judging events to bring AOS judging opportunity closer to us. One thing I have learned is that you never know what orchid is going to catch the judges eye and end up with an AOS award…so bring all of your blooming plants and let’s make sure we have a great turnout of plants for our visiting judges to consider. It’s like a show and tell table on steroids..and it is a great time!

About this Month’s Native Orchid Feature
After writing last month’s newsletter which featured an orchid native to Scotland since I was vacationing there, I was reminded how little so many of us know of the wealth and variety of orchid species that are native to our local region of the Southern Appalachians. With that, I have decided to dedicate this section of the newsletter to increasing our knowledge of all the amazing orchids native to our region. They grow outside our front doors without need for delicate control of humidity or temperature, and perhaps most appealing, never require repotting!

This month’s feature is one of the more impressive of the native orchids to our regions, and will be blooming throughout our area from mid-June through mid-July. Calopogon tuberosus (Grass-Pink Orchid) typically stand 10-12 inches tall and can have as many as 25 flowers on a stem, but in the Southern Appalachians up to 6 is more likely. The flowers of this species are non-resupinate (they don’t twist 180 degrees when opening like most orchid flowers so their lip is on top, rather than the bottom of the flowers as they are presented). The native range extends across the Eastern half of the USA to Southern Canada, then Northeast to Newfoundland. It normally grows in very acidic conditions here in the mountains, such as Sphagnum bogs and similarly acidic wet grassy meadows. This mix of conditional requirements means that the species can be locally common but is generally rare across our region.
(The above information was excerpted from my favorite book on local orchids, Stanley L. Bentley’s Native Orchids of the Southern Appalachian Mountains)

Asheville Orchid Festival Planning Updates
As I hope you’ve all heard WNCOS has been honored with the personal request from Frank Smith, American Orchid Society (AOS) President and owner of Krull-Smith Orchids, to host the AOS Members Spring Meeting in 2016 (an annual international event) in coordination with our show. The WNCOS board has investigated this offer in great detail and agreed to the task. It is an enormous undertaking and the board has set up a separate board specific to the execution of this task. Some early details include moving the date of the show (required as Easter falls on our normal weekend next year) to April 14-17, and adding several additional vendors including some from places like Taiwan and South America!

The primary goal of taking on this task is to increase the regional attendance (and therefore income generating potential) of our show for years to come,as well as to expose our members and our friends in the region to a once in a lifetime opportunity to purchase plant from international vendors that are typically out of reach of the average orchid enthusiast.This is sure to be a once in a lifetime opportunity to purchase rare orchids, attend talks by some of the World’s most influential orchid growers, and to network and get to know many of our countries most influential orchid enthusiasts and professionals.

Plans for the event are moving fast ( I feel like I’m drinking from a firehose at the moment) with all the things that need to be planned….But I suggest planning now and planning early to take time off work, tell family you are out of contact, and make sure you are available for every second of the week’s activities. The last time an event of this type was held anywhere in the Carolinas was 1993 and we intend to make this a blockbuster event for all of our members and guests!

The board for this event consists of:
Brett Hopkins, Chair of the board
Mike Mims, Vendors and Speakers
Graham Ramsey, Fundraising and Promotions
Ralph Coffey, Hospitality and Transportation
Bob Hydzik, Registration
Stan Hutto, AOS Judging
Frank Smith, AOS Liaison
Beth Johnson, NC Arboretum Liaison

If you have have any questions about the event or if you wish to get involved (believe me there is PLENTY of opportunity) and help out get in touch with one of the board members listed above. Also, We’re actively seeking Sponsors and Donors to help make this event a success so let us know if you know someone who wishes to support this event in any way!

I hope to see all of you the Meeting!

Brett Hopkins
WNCOS President