August 2019

Summer is in full swing and we hope this newsletter finds all of you are doing well, and hopefully having some summer fun! Seems like this time of year is when our board of officers and our membership is scattered out and about adventuring and traveling. I just came home from a weeklong trip to New Mexico where we visited Santa Fe, Taos and Albuquerque. Had an incredible trip overall and it was great to get away for a bit. Even had a chance to visit with Ron Midgett at New Earth Orchids in Santa Fe. Ron was here about 3 years ago speaking to our society and reminded me just how much he enjoyed his visit here. He reminded me that when he spoke to our society we were gearing up to host the AOS and their national spring meeting in conjunction with our Orchid festival. This feels like it was many years ago, but evidently not. 

Last month I was an invited speaker at the 2019 International Phalaenopsis Alliance annual Symposium in Apopka, Fl. Frank Smith of Krull-Smith Orchids basically was our host as he so graciously sponsored the event and allowed all attendees the opportunity to come and tour his nursery. The symposium was a huge success this year and a wonderful time was had by everyone in attendance. I believe there were 23 AOS awards granted at the event, and for me personally it was extra exciting as Frank was exhibiting some incredible examples of my favorite orchid, Phalaenopsis bellina. I believe he had 5 FCC’s granted to this summer blooming fragrant species, along with a bunch of AM’s and 2 HCC’s. I’ve already lost track of the details, they were exceptional and their quality was overwhelming. To help set the table with regard to how special this achievement was, in all these recent years there had only been 3 FCC’s granted to this species from Borneo. Back in early July we had our monthly meeting and outreach judging with the good folks of the CJC coming to Asheville to spend the day with us and offer an open judging event. If you weren’t here for it, you missed a great experience. We had a bunch of plants awarded including 1 FCC to my bellina ‘Blue Ridge ‘Finest’. This was big news for many reasons. But, only a week later Frank Smith is down in Florida doing what he does best, exhibiting his best plants and earning major awards! In a month’s time the orchid world has gone from having only 3 FCC’s to this species, to now 9. Frank’s breeding program has set the bar even higher now with the standard getting better and better. 

At that outreach judging July 14th here at the WNCOS we had several plants awarded by the American Orchid Society. I’ve been so busy I cannot recall the details, but aside from the 3 plants I had awarded, we also had some incredible orchids awarded that belong to Graham Ramsey, WNCOS Vice President, and Russ Bolt, WNCOS member and owner at Looking Glass Orchids. Marc Burchette, past Vice President and longtime orchid specialist at the Biltmore’s orchid conservatory, exhibited a huge incredible multi-floral paph that earned a CCM by the American Orchid Society which was very well grown and was a huge, beautiful plant! Thank you to all who showed up to attend as well as exhibit plants for award consideration. While not everything was awarded, we saw some beautiful orchids come in for the day and overall it was a real treat!

Our guest speaker on Sunday, August 11 is Hadley Cash of Marriott Orchids. Hopefully by now all of you know Hadley. What a super guy and an amazing grower. Hadley is a long-time friend of the WNCOS and has been here to speak to our society numerous times through the years, as well as being a vendor and exhibitor in our annual Orchid festival. Hadley is the slipper guy, he’s the one who breeds, grows and exhibits those incredible, huge lady slippers that you all enjoy in his exhibit so much. I’ll paste below our bio for Hadley, but plan on being in attendance as he’s always entertaining while sharing invaluable cultural information and he’ll be offering everyone the opportunity to buy his plants. In addition, he’ll be providing our raffle table plants and is offering everyone the opportunity to place a pre-order with him from his website. So, please see the details below and plan to attend this upcoming Sunday, August 11th at 2pm. Asheville Visitor Center, Montford Ave. in downtown Asheville.

Hadley Cash has been addicted to orchids for over 30 years. After staring in his apartment growing under lights, Hadley built his own greenhouse and in 1998, Marriott Orchids was born. Since those first days of focusing on breeding the highest quality complex and species Paphiopedilums, Hadley is now considered one of the top authorities on Paphiopedilums in the world. Hadley will bring some of his select plants for sale and will be stocking our raffle table as well. Pre-orders are welcome. Visit to learn more.

As we look toward later in the year we’ve got Keith Davis speaking to our society in September, and a huge, fun and live orchid auction for our October meeting!


Mike Mims

President, WNCOS