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Next Meeting: Thursday 12th April  7:30pm

Dan Newman from Hanging Gardens: "Dendrobiums: Jewels of Gondwana"

This large and popular genus of Asia, Australia, and the Pacific holds more than its share of horticulturally desirable "jewels" among its 1000-plus species.  People often ask how to grow dendrobiums.  For such a diverse group of plants, found in habitats ranging from the monsoonal foothills of the high Himalayas, the perpetually cool, misty alpine grasslands and steamy coastal swamps of equatorial New Guinea, to the tropical forests of remote Pacific islands and cool temperate regions of southern Australia, a simple answer is not possible.  The talk will focus on several of my own favorite sections of the genus, starting in the Himalayas and Southeast Asia and working southward to New Guinea and the Pacific, with photos of representative species and discussion of their culture in the context of the habitats where they originate.  I hope the presentation will encourage interest in this fascinating group of orchids, and provide useful information about their cultivation.

This is what Dan has to say about his passion:

I started growing orchids in 1982.  My first successful plant was a Dendrobium hybrid bought as a tiny seedling at a lei stand in the Honolulu Airport.  When it finally bloomed, my orchid addiction took wing, and by 1996 I had 350 orchids in my one-bedroom apartment.  About that time I heard of a small commercial greenhouse for rent in San Francisco, and I jumped at the chance to move my collection to larger quarters, where the hobby evolved into my nursery, Hanging Gardens.  I started growing orchids full-time in 2000, and moved to a larger greenhouse in Pacifica a few years later.  I currently have 10,000 to 12,000 plants.  Although orchid hybrids now far outnumber the known species, I prefer to grow the species, uniquely adapted for survival in the natural world, without regard to human notions of beauty.  To me, these are the real orchids, whose grace and purity of function often transcend the floral display of their hybrid offspring.  I like all kinds of orchids, but focus mostly on those that will tolerate intermediate or cool conditions at least in the winter, since I can't afford to maintain year-round warm temperatures in Pacifica!  My sale plants include divisions and seedlings from my own collection, along with established imported plants and some produced by other growers in the U.S.

The plant table will be provided by Hanging Gardens.

Dendrobium kingianum

Dendrobium bigibbum

Dendrobium spectabili

Dan will not be able to attend dinner with us. For those who wish to join us for dinner it will be at the Elephant Bar Restaurant, 1225 Willow Pass Rd. Concord, CA at 5:30 pm. Please notify Eileen Jackson at 707-642-5915 or email jackson.eileen@att.net to join us.

March 2007 Awards

Photos by Alice Tomassini of the DVOS display and awarded plants at the Pacific Orchid Exhibition in San Francisco click here, here or here.

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