This past Sunday, I spoke at the Coalition for Orchid Species symposium at Fairchild Tropical Gardens in Coral Gables, FL. This is a truly great event, and well worth it if you can attend next year. We had five speakers, including myself, covering topics as diverse as bifoliate Cattleyas, Catasetinae, Phalaenopsis species, Dendrobiums, and, of course, Florida's wild orchids. All of the vendors had plants for sale, and Greg Allikas and myself sold prints of our photographs. In addition, I had greeting cards and t-shirts featuring various of our native orchids, which sold very well. My sales were quite good, but the plant vendors literally had stuff flying off the tables...this is a good program for both speakers and attendees alike. Below is a snapshot of our sales table. I am hoping to use this new display to visit various orchid shows in the central to south-central Florida region.
The other speakers at this symposium were excellent. Peter Lin began with his presentation on Phalaenopsis species. You can tell that he loves his plants like a doting father. Greg Allikas then did his informative talk on bifoliate Cattleyas, elucidating the differences between four different pairs of often confused species. This was accompanied, of course, with his gorgeous photography that I have often considered an inspiration for my own.
I was the third speaker, giving my presentation on native orchids: Orchids in Our Backyard - Florida's Wild Orchids. Pressed for time, I had time to show only photographs of four species toward the end of the presentation to spend the last few remaining minutes discussing the ghost orchid. If you saw the presentation at the symposium and you want to hear the full presentation on those species we glossed over, be sure to invite me to your society and you'll get the whole presentation.
Roy Tokunaga gave his presentation on Dendrobiums, which was quite informative, as well as lovely to view. One of the big take-away pieces of information from his talk was that a fertilizer with a good dose of calcium (or calciferous water) and magnesium is important for adequate blooming, not only of Dendrobium, but other orchids as well. Finally, Fred Clarke gave a presentation on various species of Catasetinae - Catasetum, Mormodes, and Cycnoches. These are some of the most mechanically complex, bizarre, and interesting orchid species...a group that I have had a high degree of interest in for a long time.
The food was delicious and well worth the price of admission all by itself. Below is my eldest daughter, Ariel, manning the sales table at the symposium. By the way, I hope Roy and Peter wear their t-shirts often and show off the lovely orchids that Florida has to offer.
On the way back home to Orlando, we decided to take the 'scenic route' across Alligator Alley through the Everglades and Big Cypress Swamp. Little did we know that the tensioner pully for our van was on the verge of breaking, taking out our serpentine belt and a few hoses with it on the last few western miles of AA. Well, alas, there went all the proceeds from the show and then some to get the van fixed. I guess you win some, you lose some...usually not on the same day, though.
This story does have a happier ending...covered in the blog post below.
Extreme shift (from one year to the next) - Last year we had a "very wet" dry season. This year is on track to be just the opposite: "very dry." History of dry season rainfall for the Big Cypress, 19...
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