Jun 082015
Ken Russ

Ken Russ

Our June speaker is Ken Russ, who together with his lovely wife Judy, have been growing orchids for more than 20 years and have become multiple AOS award winners. After so manyyears of growing orchids Ken and Judy realized there was a need to share their orchid growing knowledge with all level orchid growers so they decided to create some innovative and practical presentations specially geared to help Florida orchid society members perfect the art of orchid growing

Ken and Judy currently live in Port St Lucie on a waterway home they affectionately refer to as “The Puddle”. Here they grow about 900 orchids, in a shade house, lanai and in a shaded “Pine Forest”. They have enjoyed entering many orchid shows, taking part in societal orchid displays, and have received many ribbons and awards along the way. Since 2004, their orchids have received 32 AOS awards and on two occasions, Ken has won the AOS Show Trophy for the best orchid display in an orchid show. Ken loves sharing how he and Judy grow their orchids, including tips they have found successful through the years. Ken has prepared a PowerPoint presentation entitled “Mounting Orchids”. When speaking to Judy she said, “We simply love mounting orchids and have tried many different methods and our program deals with what we’ve learned from trial and error through all these years”.

I hope you will find this month’s speaker presentation refreshing, informative and helpful in growing mounted orchids successfully!

In addition, Ken and Judy will also be bringing some plant divisions for sale from their own awarded collection but wait this is not all!! Ken and Judy also make some unique handmade orchid pottery, including handmade paph. pots and clay mounting slabs. You can check their website at www.puddlepottery.com for some of their unique handmade orchid pottery just in case you might want to order from them in advance.

I hope you enjoy this month’s speakers and see you at the meeting!!

Guillermo Salazar—1st Vice President

Also, this months meeting is our annual awards meeting where we recognize our best growers from the past 12 months. We’ll also be recognizing those individuals who have worked so tirelessly for the South Florida Orchid Society during the past year. And, we’ll be installing our new slate of officers for the coming year.

There will be no plant judging this month. Regular judging will resume in July.
May 022015

Jim & Melana Davison: “Dendrobiums – Soft Cane, Hard Cane, Australian, Pendulous – Which is which?”

Jim & Melana Davison

Jim and Melana Davison are AOS Accredited Judges. They have an extensive and diverse orchid collection that seems to be continuously growing.  Not only involved in caring for their orchids, they are actively involved in several South Florida orchid societies. Melana is the current President of both the Orchid Society of Coral Gables and the South Dade Amateur Orchid Club. Jim is the past President of the Orchid Society of Coral Gables and the East Everglades Orchid Society.

Jim’s appreciation for orchids stems from his scientific background. He works as a Chemistry Supervisor at the Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant. Melana is more interested in the aesthetic qualities of orchids, especially the ones that look strange and otherworldly. She owns her own Orchid Maintenance business and is known as “The Orchidiva.” They have plans to open their own retail nursery later this year.

They specialize in L. anceps, C. walkeriana, and C. aclandiae, and the Catasetinae group, but grow almost everything that can be grown in South Florida. Together, Jim and Melana have 7 grown children and four grandchildren. They live in Homestead with their 4 dogs and 5,000 plus orchids.

The program Jim and Melana  Davison are going to present is a great topic that should be of interest as there are so many different kinds of dendrobiums available Many people only know Dendrobiums as the type they now can pick up at Publix or Home Depot. In reality, Dendrobiums are one of the largest orchid groups with very diverse culture needs. For this month’s presentation, Dendrobiums – Soft Cane, Hard Cane, Australian, Pendulous – Which is which?, Jim and Melana will break down some of the more common dendrobiums into their sections and teach about these differing orchids.

We are looking forward having Jim & Melana as speakers this month. In addition, they will also be providing plants for our raffle table.


Guillermo Salazar
1st Vice President & Program Chairman

Apr 042015

Mac Rivenbark,“An Introduction to Philippine Orchids.”

Mac Rivenbark photo

Mac Rivenbark

Mac and his Filipina wife started an orchid business over 12 years ago after many fascinating trips to the Philippines. With extensive study, Mac is becoming an expert in Philippine as well as other Asian species and currently grows and blooms over 300 different types.

Mac has served our country in the U.S. Marine Corps. He is a past president of the Fort Lauderdale Orchid Society and enjoys giving lectures and educating others about orchids. Come see and hear this exciting and interesting lecture.

Mac’s presentation will consists of a short introduction, followed by a digital slide show. The topic will be “an Introduction to Philippine Orchids” and will feature many beautiful and rare orchids. Some travel photos will be included as well. At the end of the program, culture tips and Q and A will also be included in this mini class.

We are looking forward having Mac as a speaker this month. In addition, he will also be providing plants for our raffle table and for sale.

Guillermo Salazar
1st Vice President & Program Chairman


Mar 102015

Larry Cox will present our March program. Larry’s lecture is entitled
“Lycastes for South Florida.”

Larry Cox

Larry Cox acquired his first orchid, a cattleya, over 40 years ago. His second orchid was a paphiopedilum. He has grown cattleyas, dendrobiums, phalaenopsis, oncidiums, vandas, and less popular genera; but paphs eventually became his favorite orchids and the heart of his collection. In 1989, he moved to the Redlands area of south Miami-Dade County where he built his dream orchid house of 3000 square feet and continued to increase his collection with emphasis on multifloral paphs. Larry enjoys showing his orchids and has earned forty-six awards, including five FCC’s, from the American Orchid Society.

In the early 90’s Larry saw a lycaste in a show; thus began a fascination with another orchid genus.  He quickly learned that most lycastes are cloud forest plants and require intermediate to cool growing conditions, but that didn’t stop him from wanting to try some anyway. By reading up on lycastes, he discovered that there are warmer growing species, though they have never been very popular with growers in comparison to their flashier “cool” cousins. It also became readily apparent that lycastes are almost unknown in South Florida, so Larry set out to find plants to experiment with. He now has a collection of lycastes that grow successfully here and has garnered nine AOS awards with them.  Though the lycaste collection is not nearly as extensive as the paph collection, Larry continues to search for suitable species and hybrids. He now feels qualified to introduce other orchid growers to this fascinating genus and share his knowledge of their culture and suitable plants for South Florida.

In 2005 Larry retired from an education career of thirty-seven years, the last fifteen teaching Advanced Placement English. Since retirement, he has devoted most of his time to orchids: maintaining the collection, involvement with the Coral Gables Orchid Society, and giving programs on paphs and, now, lycastes. He also finds time to travel and do all the reading he so loves.

Jan 082015

Sheldon Takasaki, the owner of Carmela Orchids in Hawaii, will present our January program. His program is titled “Everything you wanted to know about Hawaiian Orchids and some other secrets”. If you have never heard Sheldon speak you are in for a treat!!

Sheldon is no stranger to SFOS. He was a vendor at the 11 WOC, held in Miami in 1984 and has been a vendor at most of our orchid Shows since 1985. It has been a couple of years since Sheldon has presented a program for SFOS, so we are thrilled to have him back to present the first program of the New Year.

As a young Hawaiian boy, Sheldon grew up picking “field orchids”, the flowers used to make Leis and to put in the drinks of tourists in Hawaii.

Carmela Orchids is located in Hakalau, Hawaii. The nursery was founded in 1960 and has grown over the years from a small collection of orchids grown on top of a bomb shelter to a multi green house operation with an in-house lab. Carmela Orchids is well known for their high standards of quality.

Carmela Orchids will be providing the plant raffle table as well as four special raffle plants.

We hope you will join us for this great program. Remember, Guests are always welcome at our meetings! 

Guillermo Salazar
Program Chairman (program@sforchid.com)


Oct 292014

Our November program will be presented by Jim Watts.  Jim will present a program titled “Leafless Orchids, fascination and frustration!”  This program is a review of the various leafless genera and their species, discussing the habitat and growth habit of these fascinating orchids

Jim started growing orchids in 1994 in Tallahassee with 6 equitants and a phalaenopsis.  When he moved to Miami for University of Miami in 1996 he thought he was in heaven!  As he expanded his collection, his two main areas of interest became Tolumnia and the leafless orchids.  He pestered the AOS editors to feature an article on leafless orchids in the Orchids magazine for almost two years.  He was doing a lot of research on his own, and was hoping for more information.  Finally in frustration, the AOS editors told him to write one himself if he really wanted to see it.  So, in March 2003 issue of Orchids, his article was published.  He had a reprint for society newsletters from around the globe, including the Canary Islands, Canada, and all over the United States.  Jim is an Accredited AOS Judge, having joined the program at the Florida Caribbean Judging Center.   He now lives in Hollywood, FL.

The plant raffle table will be a selection of phals and paphs that were donated to SFOS from Pine Ridge Orchids.  Dan & Margie Orchids will supply the blooming plants for our special raffles.

We hope you will join us for this interesting and informative program.

Guillermo Salazar
Program Chairman

Reminder: Any plants you wish to have considered for judging must be entered no later than 7:30PM. This allows our judges ample time to properly evaluate your orchids and, if necessary, present them for award photography before the main program begins.

Oct 122014

Paul Phelps of Phelps Farm Orchids, Inc. will present our October program. The program titled “Cattleyas, The Queen of Orchids” is a hands on presentation that will talk about culture, potting and repotting, fertilizer needs and other growing tips specific to growing the Cattleya alliance.

Phelps Farm Orchids Inc. is a commercial Orchid farm located on five acres in North West Hillsborough County about 15 minutes north of the Tampa International Airport. The business was started in 1986 by Paul and Patricia Phelps and grew out of Patricia’s love of orchid collecting, into a thriving commercial operation. At the time the business was started, the growing area was 3500 square feet of Quonset greenhouse. In 1992 the greenhouse was doubled to 7000 square feet. In 2012 a 1600 square foot greenhouse was built to house hanging and mounted Orchids that require daily watering.

Cattleyas are the specialty of the house but other genera are grown there as well. A breeding program was started in the late ‘80’s with the main focus on the Cattleya alliance. At present Paul has made over 800 hybrids.

A web site was brought on line in 1994 featuring an on line catalog. You can visit this site at www.phelpsfarm.com. This web site is currently undergoing a renovation including a shopping cart for online ordering and a link to articles about Orchid culture and other relative information. Locally Phelps Farm Orchids was featured on NBC’s Daytime show with Cyndi Edwards and nationally they were featured on the PBS series Americas Heartland. If you would like to see the episode on the web, go to www.americasheartland.org, Click on Stories, choose Season 5 and click on Episode 503 and then select the story called Petal Pushers.

Phelps Farm Orchids, Inc. will be providing the plant raffle table as well as bringing plants for sale. Many of the plants Paul & Patricia are bringing were produced at their nursery from their breeding program.

We hope you will join us for the wonderful program.  Guests are always welcome at our meetings.

Remember, plants brought for judging must be entered no later than 7:30 PM!

Plant judging is from 7:30PM until 8:00PM

Program begins at 8:00PM