was born August 2, 1946 in the city of Berkeley,
California and have remained a resident ever since. I met
my partner, John Leathers in 1975 and we began growing
orchids after we purchased a home with a built on
solarium. In 1979 we bought our present home and built a
15' x 25' standalone glass greenhouse.
our avocation expanded we rented additional greenhouse
space in Daly City sharing it with other orchid friends. For
the 15 or so years we've rented space in Pacifica,
California. We currently grow in a 3000 sq. ft greenhouse
and hybridize orchids. John
and I do our own lab work, pod to blooming plant; have a
well equipped lab in our home.
We both had careers at UC Berkeley. John retired as
manager of Printing Services, an operation that printed
for all nine campuses and I retired as manager for
facilities and equipment of the Marvell Microfabrication
Laboratory, a shared semiconductor research facility
meeting needs for more than 400 researchers.
specialize in cool growing Andean orchid species, John in
the genus Dracula and Masdevallia and
I in Odontoglossums.Our
goal is to improve plants in these genera, share them with
do our best to maintain the interest in hobby orchid
growing given, as with many hobbies, a "greying"
of participants. We now see our collection and work mostly
as a preservation effort.
In addition to orchids I play classical piano. We are both
avid art collectors - yet another of our bottomless money
pits and John is the editor of The International
Odontoglossum Alliance newsletter published in both
Spanish and English with a readership of more than 180
My talk begins
with the discovery of nature at the beginning of the 19th
Century, an age of invention and the tremendous social
changes which that century begot. The Victorian orchid
craze was one result. The momentum and enthusiasm for
orchid raising went on for most of the next 100 years. We
have entered an age where hobbies are
greying, competing with social media for time. Property
values are high, building codes interfere with
construction of greenhouses and
big-box stores sell orchid plants below cost as
"price leader" thus destroying small businesses.
Inept interference by the Royal Horticultural Society and
a failure of leadership by the American Orchid Society
have created an embargo on how plants travel. The future
of the orchid hobby is bleak."