September 2017

Seems like our fall season has arrived early here in WNC, and with the seasonal change brings us many things to think about with regard to our beloved orchids. For me, phalaenopsis bellina and violacea season is at it’s peak and this year I have been enjoying many first bloom seedlings from the breeding projects I’ve been working on during recent, previous years. I’ve also been busy as “The Pollinator” with my collection and setting some new seedpods for the future. But, aside from this fun stuff I am also combing the benches and beginning to repot the plants that really need it. Typically I try to do all my repotting at the end of winter, just prior to the big growth season we experience as spring comes on. But, fall can be a great time for us to get caught up on repotting too. I have found myself watering less with our cooler nights, and have also cut back on the nutrition they receive. While making time for these meaningful activities, I’m also doing a general clean up and tossing, and gifting, a few plants that I don’t care to keep in my collection as we move toward 2018!

I hope your orchids have enjoyed the summer of 2017, seems like we had a good summer with steady rainfall. Ready or not, looks like our days are beginning to get shorter and our temperatures are getting cooler. Hope you all were able to get in on the Orchiata order, if you desired. We will have some surprise small bags of Orchiata products on our raffle tables in the near future for those of you who are not familiar with their stuff. Remember to speak with our own expert, Graham Ramsey on Orchiata, what it is, how best to grow in it, etc. Not all potting mixes are the same, so be sure to do your research. Luckily for all of us, the WNCOS is comprised of many highly skilled growers with much experience and enthusiasm to share with you.

We also have a couple of awesome orchid shows this fall season. October 7-8, 2017 at Stanley’s Greenhouse in Knoxville, Tn. the Smoky Mountain Orchid Society is holding their 2017 Orchid Show. We will be installing an orchid exhibit in their show on October 6. Here’s a great opportunity to exhibit something special you might have in bloom in early October.

Then, later this fall we’ve got another great show in Durham to exhibit in. November 10-12, 2017 the Triangle Orchid Society and Duke Garden’s are holding their ‘Fall For Orchids’ show at Sarah P. Duke Gardens. We will be installing our orchid exhibit on Thursday, Nov 9. I call these, Orchid Opportunities!!!

These are AOS judged events, so please take note and contact Mike or Graham if you’ve got a plant you’d like to consider sending to be on display in our exhibit. If you are interested in learning about installing exhibits, WE WANT YOU!

Much content here in this newsletter. Please be sure to give it a solid review, and I look forward to seeing all of you this Sunday for the one and only, Tom Mirenda!


Mike Mims, WNCOS President

 Major league guest speaker this Sunday:

Tom Mirenda with the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden

Sunday, September 10, 2:00 p.m. Avl Visitor’s Center, downtown Montford.

Tom’s bio found below, however he has BRAND NEW exciting news to share with us all as he heads to Hawaii next for a major life change full of incredible opportunities.

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.


2018 Asheville Orchid Festival Update
2018 Asheville Orchid Festival Volunteers
HEADS UP! 7 months before the 2018 Asheville Orchid Festival! Our 20th Festival!!! We know, we know – it seems like such a long way off, however, the time will go by quickly!  Good progress has been made on the underpinnings of the 2018 Asheville Orchid Festival and we wanted to update the membership on these efforts and provide an outline of volunteer opportunities. We need our volunteers, so please step up and ask questions. We will get you involved in one way or another.We cannot stress to you all the importance of our 20th Asheville Orchid Festival Committee, and all that we are up to. We need support in many different ways. One BIG example of something still looming for us is our need to secure a “work space” for construction of our display. Have a garage, know of a useful space, know someone who’d donate or rent us out a workshop or garage for a couple of months? Pre-Festival Activities Underway:

Festival Dates – March 21-22 put in/installation. March 23 Ribbon and AOS Judging, NC Arboretum/WNCOS Private Member Preview Party. March 24-25 Festival open to the public.

Venue – The NC Arboretum has been secured as the venue for the 2018 Festival, and Mike has got us under contract!

Catering – Work is underway to determine the caterer for the Judges luncheon and for put-in day lunch.

Vendors –  Vendors have been invited to participate in the 2018 Festival. Several have verbally confirmed, contracts to go out soon. Stay tuned folks!

Display – Clarke will be the display chair for the 2018 Festival. Thank you Clarke!!! If you have an interest in being on the Display Committee, please contact Clarke – she will need an army of folks with a variety of skills.  She will be arranging a kick-off meeting soon to decide on a theme to present to the Board and to discuss the overall process that will be used to design construct and install the display.

*Advertising and Promotion – Bill Fore and Graham Ramsey will again be heading up our advertising and promotions. If you have ideas or want to volunteer to help with this effort, speak with Bill Fore and Graham Ramsey. We are still searching for the kind soul who assisted us in Hendersonville last year, if this is you, PLEASE step up and contact Bill Fore or Graham Ramsey.

We have a need for a space large enough to construct the display during February and March. Please let us know if you have, or know of, a space we can rent for this purpose.

Clarke’s Contact information is as follows:
Ofc:  828-252-0355
Cell: 828-290-9983

Festival Volunteer Opportunities:
Every year, you all step up and make the Asheville Orchid Festival the premier orchid festival in the southeast. We have one of the finest events in the country now, so come and be a part of something special!
We wanted to provide an outline of some of the different areas that will need volunteers so that you could start thinking of where you would like to be involved for the 2018 Festival.  You may have an area where you especially enjoy volunteering, but you may want to add a new volunteer activity. Remember that it takes all of us to pull this caliber of orchid festival off. This is our 20th annual festival, and we intend to make it our best ever!

Volunteer Areas:
Wed, March 21 – WNCOS display construction at the Arboretum
Thurs, March 22 – Put-In Day

Vendor Support – assist vendors with orchid transport

Orchid Registration – assist us register all plant entries

Orchid Prep – cover orchid pots, stage orchids by color

Arrange orchids, foliage plants and moss in the display

Hospitality – during the entirety of the festival

Judges lunch

Breakroom monitoring

Contribute food

Friday – Judging day

Clerking and support for AOS judging

Arboretum preview party! DO NOT MISS!

Sat/Sunday – General festival support

Taking entry fees

Check hand stamps for festival entry

Monitor displays and answer questions as necessary

Vendor support – assist vendors during display removal

Dismantling the WNCOS display and disposition of the props

Re-tagging and return of BB Barns foliage plants