Angraecum leonis

News and Other Tid Bits

     This is the "NEWS and Other Tid Bits Page".  It will be used strictly for letting everyone know what is happening, changing and growing in and around the Orchid World.

     The following is the list of articles in the order in which they appear:
             01/22/2014     "56th Annual Fort Lauderdale Orchid Show"
             10/15/2013     "67th Annual Miami International Orchid Show"
             07/12/2013     "North Carolina Triple Play"
             05/20/2013     "Redland International Orchid Festival"
             04/14/2013     "Are You In The FOG?"


Wednesday, January 22, 2014     "56th Annual Fort Lauderdale Orchid Show"

 Mac's Orchids exhibit: 1st Place Open Class; Most Artistic Exhibit and two AOS awards - Silver Certificate and an Artistic Certificate

            The Fort Lauderdale Orchid Society held its 56th Annual Orchid Show this past weekend at War Memorial Auditorium located next to the Parker Playhouse and Holiday Park.  The society itself was celebrating their 63rd year and was putting on their 56th show.  This year's title was "Exotic Orchids".  With the phenomenal displays that the growers, societies and the hobbyists put together; it was no doubt an exhibit of "Exotic Orchids". 
            It was also a great opportunity to spend time with numerous orchid friends new and old as well as seeing what my favorite growers had for sale.  Not trying to be prejudice; my favorite growers would be anyone selling a variety of Angraecoids and there were several on hand doing just that.  Alan of Gold Country, Lauris from Cal-Orchids and Mac from Mac's Orchids had a fantastic selection to choose from; in which I escaped with several species and a hybrid or two or was it three, that are difficult to find here in the states.
            The weekend plus actually started Thursday evening with a kickoff Preview Party which gave those few lucky attendees the chance to get their hands on the plants they wanted the most.  I would suggest that anyone interested definitely become part of the festivities that first night next year.  Don't take the chance that what you're looking for will be there throughout the entire show.  Rarer plants and those that are not plentiful will disappear rather quickly.
            After checking what the growers have and purchasing a few plants for myself; I carefully look at the exhibits and at the plants that the society members bring in for judging.  Particularly seeking out what Angraecoids may be in the displays and in the member's section.  This year I found two in the growers displays and one in the individual members exhibit.

Angraecum Veitchii; in the FLOS member's display.

            The first and most noticeable was an Angraecum Veitchii (shown above) that was displayed in the Fort Lauderdale Orchid Society's member's plant exhibit.  It did receive a blue ribbon deservedly so; it is an exceptionally well grown specimen plant.  Unfortunately, all you could see were the back sides of the flowers.  It is a common problem with this hybrid because the flowers seem to open parallel to the ground.  One of the parents (Angcm. eburneum) has a lip that is up-right and erect (superior lip) while the other parent (Angcm. sesquipedale) has a lip that points down and out on a slight downward angle (inferior lip).  If the inflorescence is staked straight up as the bud's sepals (on the end tip) begin to separate; that flower as well as the remaining flowers will open face out. I address this issue in a post on the main Angraecums Page in the Angraecum Veitchii post.
            The second Angraecum was found in a growers display (image directly below).  A single flower of Angcm. sesquipedale on a small plant that seemed to be blooming for the first time.  In another four or five years, that plant will be on its way to becoming a fantastic specimen.

Angraecum sesquipedale

            The last Angraecum was another Angcm. Veitchii (image below) found in another growers display.  This plant had three less inflorescence and had the same issue with the display of the open flowers, backsides only!

Angraecum Veitchii

            The Fort Lauderdale Orchid Society's show is considered one of the largest in the country to date.  From the people I spoke to afterwards, it seems to have been a very successful show.  The growers sold plants and of course the hobbyists bought them.  I myself did take close to thirty plants home.  I am looking forward to getting them to bloom and become great specimens.  I will certainly post the results as they become available.
            You should all look forward to next year's show.  It is actually less than a year away.  See you next year!  Congrats Mac!


Tuesday, October 15, 2013     "67th Annual Miami International Orchid Show"
            The weekend is over; the 67th Annual Miami International Orchid Show has been here and is now gone until next year.  And let me say it was an eventful  and very gratifying weekend at that!  Its been over five years since I've set up a display/sales booth at any of the orchid shows and it certainly reminded me of the physical prowess needed to set-up and tear-down for that matter.  My presence at the show had actually a dual role.  Having the display booth allowed me to sell various pieces of art work, seeing old customers and being with friends that I've made at past shows as well as being a guest speaker at the South Florida Orchid Society's Annual Speaker's Day.
            I'll start with the orchid show itself.  A quaint gathering of fifteen orchid growers; most from various parts of Florida.  One each from Hawaii, California, Taiwan and from Columbia.  All of the growers sold plants that are their mainstay in both the wholesale and the retail worlds.  Plants that have become known as their individual specialties.  Fifteen growers had so many plants, it was as though you couldn't see the forest through the trees.  There was something there for everyone's taste.

Several varieties of Oncidiums.

            Each orchid vendor is required to set up a display which is supposed to follow a specific set of rules.  Another group that can set up a display are the individual societies themselves and the individual hobbyists can bring in plants for show judging and for American Orchid Society (AOS) judging.  The Coalition for Orchid Species (COS) won this years Best Display in which set-up was over seen by Guillermo Arturo Salazar.  Congrats!

Coalition for Orchid Species (COS) display.

 A few of the awarded individual plants.

            One of the first things I look for are what Angraecoids if any are in any of the displays.  I found only three this time around.  Angraecum leonis, Aerangis luteo-alba var. rhodosticta and what was labeled as an Angraecum Lemforde White Beauty.  The Angcm. leonis was part of the COS exhibit; while Alan Koch of Gold Country Orchids won the "Miniature Trophy" with an A. luteo-alba var. rhodosticta.  The third was Angcm. Lemforde White Beauty.  After looking closely at this one flower, I began to question whether the plant was miss labeled or it was a very poor quality plant.  The flower shape and size do not compare to the flowers I have bloomed or the award photos within AQplus.  This issue will be addressed in a post on the main "Angraecums Page" at a later date.
            There were so many different generas of orchids to choose from that anyone attending the show would have had that one opportunity to take home a plant from their wish list or the one they can't live without.  There were Catleyas, Vandas, Phals and Oncidiums.  Various slippers, Angraecoids, Dendrobiums and Epis.  I even found a fair number of Catasitinae and many this time of year aren't ready to bloom.

Several different genera that where available.

            My second role in the "67th Annual Miami International Orchid Show" was receiving the honor of being one of the five guest lecturers for the South Florida Orchid Society's Annual Speaker's Day.  I will admit this just once, I was a bit nervous being in the company of some of the most knowledgeable people in the world of orchids.  I have roughly twenty-one plus years of experience (sort of a newbie) compared to the combined two hundred plus years of the other four speakers.
            Dr. Ruben Sauleda started the day with a presentation of orchids from Columbia.  It was a shame we only had an hour each.  He barely scratched the surface of the over 5,000 species that cover the country's landscape.  My presentation "Angraecums" was the second program to run and after the jitters settled down I started the lecture with the video of Darwin's moth and took control from there.  It was a pleasure giving the lecture in front of the real experts in the orchid field and was even taken back by the accolades I received afterwards.  One of the judges went out to the show and returned with an Angraecum Lemforde White Beauty to add to her personal collection.  When several of the other judges saw her plant, they all proceeded to purchase their own plants.  One important note, Alan Koch of Gold Country orchids brought nine different Angraecoid species to have available during not only the show; but for my presentation.

Angraecum sesquipedale

            Dr. Clair Ossian picked up right after our lunch break and discussed the judging of Dendrobiums, there sections and how things are changing because of those sections.  I did not realize that there were so many species let alone hybrids available today.  Marc Hachadourian from the New York Botanical Garden gave a presentation on how to grow great slipper orchids.   He stressed the importance of each species natural habitat and using that information to grow that same plant in culture.  The images of both wild and culture grown plants were phenomenal.  The last speaker of the day was Dr. Wes Higgins; his program dealt with the Judging of Phalaenopsis and how the changing standards are reflected in awards, the market place and hybrid breeding.
            The day ended with the five of us sitting down to dinner with Bonnie and Will Riley, Robert Fuchs and Carol DeBiase.  In all totaled, there were twelve people at dinner with an amazing total of over five hundred years of experience in the orchid field.
            All in all, it was a fantastic weekend at the University of Miami.  The show, the lectures, friends and even family that attended.  To end this post I'd like to post this last photo showing what the attendees really did with their time and their money.

Thank you Patt, Sue and Cheryl.  You all need more plants! 


Friday, July 12, 2013     "North Carolina Triple Play"
            Have finally made it home from North Carolina.  Walked in the door at 12:15am after spending fourteen plus hours either in an airport or on a plane.  The lengthy time line was an indirect and/or direct result of; go ahead, say it!  It had rained at the Atlanta airport.  WOW!
            However, giving the Angraecum's presentation to three different orchid societies in three different cities on three consecutive nights was as usual, very rewarding!  To Beth Niver, a very special thank you for getting the wheels in motion for this trip to take place.  To Paul Welty of the Triangle Orchid Society for making the arrangements with the other societies; as well as he and his wonderful wife being my hosts and chauffer during the first two days of my trip.  To Keith Clayton of the Sandhills Orchid Society and his wonderful wife for being my hosts and chauffer during the second leg of the trip.  Last but not least, to Charlie Barret of the Cape Fear Orchid Society for grabbing the baton on the third and final leg of the trip.  Thank you all so much!  It was an absolute pleasure meeting not only all of you; but the members of the societies in the audience during my presentations.
            Through the use of photographs and their captions, I think you'll get a good idea as to what I came away with during this trip.

            After arriving in Durham, NC my first stop was The Orchid Trail.  An orchid nursery with various green houses being used for a number of things.  All of them very well stocked with plants in numerous stages of growth that were either for sale, being cared for, part of the owner's private collection and waiting to show their blooms as hybrids created by the owner, John Stanton.

            I was introduced to John Stanton (left), owner of The Orchid Trail by Paul Welty (right side), my host while in Durham.  John has been growing orchids well over 40 years and places a lot of pride into the plants he hybridizes as well as sells.

          Throughout the time I was at The Orchid Trail, I had toured the sale green house, the green house used as a production house and a green house where other orchid hobbyists can have their collections cared for John and his staff.  The image above was the green house that held John's private collection.  As you can see, it is very impressive.  Whether an addiction, obsession or a passion, John's experience shows through in the cultivation of this collection.

            It takes an enormous amount of dedication to cultivate a collection of this magnitude.  In my opinion, his dedication is second to none!

            Paul Welty, a dedicated member of the Triangle Orchid Society and my host while in Durham, has a green house that would make any serious hobbyist turn green with envy.  Paul's collection is cared for as he cared for his patients while he practiced medicine on the west coast of Florida.  The quality and condition of his plants are above all standards and he his rewarded everyday with outstanding blooms.

            The above image is just a small section of the specimen plants that fill his green house.  You can see numerous Bulbophylum plants that are close to the size of a beach ball if not larger than.  Paul's interest in orchids began in the 1960s after receiving an orchid from his staff as a gift.  As with so many hobbyists or orchid addicts, it usually only takes one plant to get started!

            On the edge of a heavily wood area in the far reaches of Paul's property, is a colony of wild orchids that he's discovered.  Using the green elastic type plant tape, he encircled the colonies growth area only to discover later that the colony is growing and has started outside of the taped parcel of land in which it grows.  Six of the plants are about to bloom for the first time.  Many of North Carolina's native orchids are extremely rare.

            My first Angraecum presentation took place at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens in Durham.  The garden is located on the campus of Duke University.  This is a botanical garden in which I will have to return and spend considerable time in photographing these amazing grounds.

            The second leg of my journey brought me to Fayetteville, NC where I spent time with my host Keith Clayton; a former president of the Sandhills Orchid Society and a retired Air Force pilot.  Keith's green house was built within a couple of months after moving onto the property of six plus acres.  He has several theme grow areas including a tropical corner in which the plants that are not hardy enough during the winter are moved into the green house.  Other areas are fruits and vegetables, cactus section, bamboo garden, a fern gully (had to throw gully in there), and a cypress tree garden grown from seed (which most are surrounded by steel fences to prevent the beavers in the swampy back area to use them as damn building material).  I forgot to mention the coy pond with various water plants.

            Here Keith is helping a guest at the monthly meeting with several of her orchid plants.  Who better to help than someone with a high interest in Phals.  Keith recently created a phenomenal Phal hybrid in which I will feature on another page once it does bloom (yes, I did bring one home). 

            Listening intently to the Angraecum presentation at the meeting, the following morning Keith decided to repot an Angcm. eburneum that had been grown in moss over the last few years.  He placed the plant in a large coconut fiber wire supported basket using broken up clay pots, crushed red brick and lava rock as the medium.  It will be very interesting to see how the plant grows from this point on.

            The third and final leg of my trip took me to Wilmington, NC; where I gave my Angraecum's presentation to the Cape Fear Orchid Society.  I was able to spend some time with Charlie Barret, the president of the society.  Their monthly meetings are held at the New Hanover County Arboretum.  A beautiful garden that caters to children with disabilities and teaches them about gardening and plants.  The programs are developed to give the kids an opportunity to get their hands dirty and get right into the heart of gardening.

            Although much of the garden is themed towards children, there are several sections that are a more traditional in regards to being a botanical garden.  The area above has somewhat of an oriental flavor to it.  While another section is geared towards a natural bog and/or swamp.

            The turtle climbing up onto a log is just one of several beautiful sculptures you will see throughout the garden while walking on the trails.

            The green house above is used primarily as a production house during the spring, summer and early fall.  Plants within the garden that may not be hardy enough through a cold winter are stored and cared for by the staff.

            As I mentioned earlier, the garden's main theme does seem to be geared towards children. 
The above image is that of a small functional doll house that children can play in and around it.  This is just one of several areas dedicated to children; yet able to give any adult a sense of inner-peace.

            Meeting the various hosts of my trip, the society members and the places that I visited were the reasons I consider the trip a huge success.  The societies gave me the opportunity to talk of Angraecum conservation with the hi-lite being able to share the knowledge I've gained about the Angraecum Alliance of plants and the relative ease of growing such unique orchids.


Monday, May 20, 2013     "Redland International Orchid Festival"
             This past week, May 17th, 18th & 19th, 2013, the Fruit and Spice Park located at 24801 SW 187th Avenue in Homestead, Florida; played host to the Seventeenth "Redland International Orchid Festival".  The festival was proudly presented by Redland Orchid Festivals, Inc.; a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of orchids.  Initially formed by some of the Redland area orchid growers to promote the sale of the beautiful orchids grown in their green houses.
             This years vendor count was at 58, which included 20 different growers from 12 foreign countries.  They offered a wide range of orchids set up in booths throughout the main section of the Park.  South America was represented by growers from Brazil, Venezuela, Peru, Argentina and Columbia.  Ecuador was the lone country in Central America.  Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia and the Philippines came in from Asia and the Pacific Rim.  Germany was the only country from Europe.  Here in the United States, eight different states had growers selling orchids.  Last but not least, Jamaica came in from the Caribbean area.

             Upon entering through the main gate, the first tent you came upon was the Festival Show Tent.  It took some time going through the tent due to the fact that the tables contained plant after plant with either AOS awards or show ribbons attached to them.  Epis, Oncidiums, Vandas, Cattleyas and some of the hybrids, as well as Encyclias and Grammatophylums completely covered the tables.  One sad note though, there was only one Angraecum.  A yellow show ribbon was given to Angcm. didieri.

             Along with the orchid vendors, there were three vendors that sold all the supplies you need to grow the numerous orchids you purchased.  Throughout the three day event, there were numerous lectures and demonstrations you could attend in an air-conditioned classroom; the AC I'm sure cooled those being overheated during their quest to obtain every plant on their wishlist. 
             Topics ranged from various orchids from different areas in Latin & South America including El Salvador and Columbia with a stop on the Island of Jamaica.  Several speakers gave presentations on the culture of numerous generas including Tolumnias, Stanhopeas, Encyclias, Broughttonias, Grammatophylums, Vandas and we can't leave out one of the more popular generas, Cattleyas and their hybrids.  And how about the other issues in growing orchids; Diseases, Orchid Pests and one that we could all really learn from; Growing in the Rain.

             Other than being a wee-bit warm, the overall success of the festival exceeded every one's expectations.  I heard one person say that they were there on Friday and spent a fair amount of money.  That they were going back on Saturday for the entire day's lectures; that person didn't see a single lecture and ended up spending more money than they did on Friday.  Tell me that's not an orchid enthusiast!

             I on the other hand somewhat behaved myself; taking home a Dendrophylax funalis; an Angraecum Lemforde White Beauty, a couple of Sobennikoffia robusta, Cyrtochris arcuata, Aerangis mystacidii and a Eurychone rothchildiana.

             My suggestion; take the time next year, spend some time in the Fruit and Spice Park, spend a bit of money and then some more, feed your addiction of orchids and have some fun doing it!  You can always cool off by parking your wagon under a tree for a while and then continue.  Look for the festival next May.  See you there!   


Sunday, April 14, 2013     "Are You In the FOG?"

            Let me ask the question; “Are you in the FOG?”.  My answer is an absolute YES!  I actually spent the better part of the day with numerous others that are now in the FOG.   Where did we all do this?  In Jupiter.  Not on Jupiter; but in Jupiter, Florida; where the Florida Orchid Growing (FOG) held their first ever actual plant swap, trade, sale and/or give-away.  It was also referred to as a social, a get together, meet and greet and a BBQ.

                                            Cherie Blickenstaff and Patrick McClintock

            Most orchid growers, whether the everyday hobbyist or the professional grower; are very aware of the various organizations that they can join and eventually learn more about their hobby or their profession.  The ultimate goal is to become a better grower.  The most common of these organizations is the local societies.  They can be found just about everywhere around the globe.  Most of these societies or groups meet once a month giving their members an opportunity to gather and share their stories of success, their failures and to show what they have in bloom at the time.  An added bonus is the monthly guest speaker.  A specialist dealing with an individual genera of orchid or some other aspect of growing orchids.   Someone that will share the knowledge they have gained over the years so that the members can reach that ultimate goal. Some of these societies have been established for a very long time.

                                                   JoAnn Amos and the Raffle Table

            This is where I change this story.  The Florida Orchid Growing (FOG) is an organization that up until today’s event was strictly a Social Media Organization.  A group of people pulled together at their desktops, laptops, iPads, smartphones and/or whatever else they may use to connect to the internet, not on a given date or time; but when they can afford to sit down in front of what they are using and begin to share everything orchids.  It has worked well and is now growing in followers daily.

                                     A Small Corner of Cherie Blickenstaff's Greenhouse

            The person behind this brain child is Patrick McClintock.  He created and has run the organization for almost two years and has only recently added the aide of several others to help with the group’s growing fascination on Facebook.  Its members combined (360+) is considered to be a deep wealth of information that can be used and shared by the beginning hobbyists, the serious home type grower and even the professional growers; making us all better orchid growers.  It does not matter at what level of grower you are, every member has a voice and shares their ultimate goal, “become better growers”!

                                                   Cattleya Cherie's FOGGY Morning

            The group uses the social media to share images of the plants they may have in bloom at the moment.  Individuals can ask for help in identifying an orchid by posting photographs of the plant; also, what the specific culture may be for a plant.  With the number of members and the amount of experience, serious issues can usually be addressed within a few short moments whether it be how to pot something, what to treat fungus issues with and even trying to get a plant to grow faster, larger and with more beautiful blooms.  FOG is an organization sharing important information and it is all just a key stroke away.
Orchids, Orchids and More Orchids!

            Facebook has helped so many friends reconnect; but it has also helped individuals meet new friends, all with a common interest.  It has connected many of Florida’s orchid societies and orchid growers in a way that would allow information being shared online.  Especially when a long distance separates these groups. 
            There have been a few issues regarding membership and its limitations.  But as the name more than suggests, it is the FLORIDA ORCHID GROWING group.  Membership is limited to being a resident grower residing in the state of Florida.  FOG should be looked at as a model for the use of social media.  Giving ideas to others in different parts of the country as well as other parts of the world to start additional organizations.  Groups that can give its members an additional outlet to share the information they've obtained with their fellow members.
Trade, Buy or Give It Away!

            After almost two years of existence; FOG was able to put together an event that would allow many of its members to gather.  Couldn’t ask for a better outlet than to have an “Orchid Swap” or any one of the other descriptions used for this event.  Members were given the opportunity to meet the many friends they’ve made while online.  Orchids and other exotic plants were traded, given away and some sold.  There were a couple of vendors that had quaint booths set up to sell their products along with plants.  Several demonstrations were made throughout the afternoon dealing with repotting, Catasetum potting and virus testing.  And I cannot forget to mention the various foods available the entire day.
                                       Repotting, Catasetums and Virus Testing Demos

            This brings me to the location of Jupiter, NOT the planet!  Cherie Blickenstaff offered her home to FOG to hold its first get together.  With the size of her yard, the landscaping and most of all her greenhouse and its working area; you could not have picked a better location.  Members from South Dade county along with members from Central Florida all traveled the long distances to attend this event.  There is talk of holding another event such as this in another part of the state to give others a chance to attend.  Making it a yearly event would be the icing on the cake!

            Kudos to Patrick McClintock for creating FOG, to Cherie Blickenstaff for opening her home and last but not least, the members of the Florida Orchid Growing for making the organization what it is and what it will be.  The Florida Orchid Grower (FOG) can be found on Facebook and membership is open to all Florida resident orchid growers (hobbyist to professional growers welcome).  Their Facebook address is .
            So, I ask again, “Are You in the FOG?” 
Patrick's "Blue Orchid Award"... WOW!


  1. Cherie BlickenstaffApril 15, 2013 at 10:39 PM

    What a great write-up! Thank-you, Tom for taking the time to put this together and for sharing it on your blog.

  2. Tom the group has become a invaluable source of the latest information for growing orchids and chemicals usage for the best results we can possibly get. We chat sometimes daily and when we finally get together it's more like seeing old friends rather than someone you chat with on facebook. Plenty of new and interesting plans for the group possibly including creating show tables at various orchid shows, other cook out/orchid swaps, t-shirts, buttons, video tours of our members greenhouses, and much, much more. If you live in Florida and want to learn more than you do at a monthly meeting feel free to join us with the link on Toms Blog. Please have your hometown listed on your profile. Thank again Tom for the additional publicity.

  3. Wow nice orchids..
    I really love to care orchids. I have an orchid garden in my house.i like to decorate my orchids by different orchid supplies from Florida.
    you can also decorate & take care your orchid by orchid supplies.


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