Jim Heilig has been growing orchids for over 20 years. His interests have revolved around Phalaenopsis and relatives, along with many others. He has been breeding orchids for over 10 years with a particular interest in exploring the genetics of various Phalaenopsis species in simple hybrids (primary and near primary) with a goal of bringing fragrance and other traits back into standard type hybrids. Over the last several years his interest in breeding has turned to conserving Habnenaria species as well as creating hybrids. He grows most of his plants under lights, but after his move from Michigan to California has added plants that can grow outdoors in his coastal California environment such as Cymbidium, Lycaste, Laelia, and Cattleya.
Jim began his judging career at the Great Lakes Judging Center in Ann Arbor, MI and is currently a judge at the Pacific Central Judging Center. He is also a Trustee of the American Orchid Society.
Jim purchased his first Habenaria at the Greater Lansing Orchid Society Show in East Lansing, MI, from Natt’s Orchids in the mid-2000s. It was labelled “Habenaria rhodocheila Pink Form” and had an amazing clove fragrance. While several people said it would be impossible to grow, it flourished (and is still alive!). His Habenaria collection has grown considerably since that first plant. Jim will share what he has learned about Habenaria culture as well as discuss taxonomy and breeding. While having a reputation for being difficult (they really aren’t), the colors and forms of the various species and hybrids make Habenaria a rewarding and intriguing group of orchids to grow.
I first became interested in orchids in 1994 during a horticultural internship at the
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, Florida. The internship turned into a
full-time job and I worked there for several years learning about all sorts of
tropical epiphytes. I went on to move around the country over the years but
always had a greenhouse full of orchids. I’ve grown them in hot, wet Southern
Florida, the cold, wet, Pacific Northwest, and the hot, dry, California Central Valley.
This has given me experience with the challenges of growing in widely varied
conditions. I went on to buy Calwest Tropical Supply (Now Flori-Culture: Orchid &
Specialty Growing Supplies) in 2014 and relocated it to Carmichael, California. We
now have added a small specialty nursery as well as the supplies we have always
We will discuss many of the major issues facing orchid growers including:
Light, Watering and water quality, Potting media, Container choice, Fertilizers.
Pests & Diseases
Vetting the over-abundance of information in the internet age.
I will talk you through ways to look at your plants and with a little observation and
research, figure out for yourself the best ways to grow your plants according to
your individual conditions. I will also give some strategies to tell which advice to
listen to and which might be better ignored.
My business website is flori-culture.com. The web site has all the supplies you
need for orchid growing. Choose what you want, pay on line and I will be
delivered it to you at the meeting. Place your orders by May 7. Be sure to
mention on your order that you will be at the Diablo View Orchid Meeting!
Mary Gerritsen , Ph.D. currently works as an independent biotechnology consultant, her “retirement” after a long career in the pharmaceutical/biotechnology industry. However, much of her free time now involves orchids in some fashion or another.
Mary has a large collection of miniature orchids, as well as numerous pleurothallids, paphiopedilum, bulbophyllum, and dendrobium species which she grows outside, in a cool greenhouse or in an intermediate greenhouse . In addition to growing orchids, Mary likes to see and photograph them in their native habitats, and this has led to expeditions to Australia, Papua New Guinea, Southeast Asia, China, various Mediterranean islands, Europe, Madagascar, South Africa, Mexico and other parts of Central America, many countries in South America, as well as various parts of the USA and Canada.
In addition to her interest in orchids and their habitats, Mary has written, with co-author and photographer, Ron Parsons, a number of books on orchids including Masdevallias: Gems of the Orchid World; A Compendium of Miniature Orchid Species; A Bay Area Guide to Orchids and Their Culture; and The American Orchid Society Guide to Orchids and their Culture. Mary and Ron also coauthored a book on a genus of North American wildflowers: Calochortus; Mariposa Lilies and their Relatives. Mary is the chief financial officer of the Orchid Conservation Alliance, serves on the board of directors of Orchid Digest, and is a past president of the San Francisco and the Peninsula Orchid Societies.
Along with Ron Parsons our speaker has written a book for the American Orchid Society, The American Orchid Society Guide to Orchids and their Culture, that every orchid enthusiast should own. It has just been published and some copies are on their way to California. They may not be here in time for Mary’s talk but she is willing to take checks for $25 and this will cover postage and also benefit the Orchid Conservation Alliance. So either bring your check book or cash along with your name and address to have it mailed to you.
“When I was just a little boy, 7 or 8 years old, my father and I were suddenly hooked on orchids. At a home
and garden show we saw a Catasetum pileatum and were shocked by its beauty. When we asked people where to buy that plant, we were pointed to the orchid booth of one of the most important and respected orchid growers in Brazil’s orchid history – Mr. Heitor Gloeden. Soon after that initial contact, he took us under his wing and taught us about orchids.
As a native of São Paulo, I quickly learned about many orchid species. Those that I was first in touch with are still my favorites: Cattleya, Laelia, Sophronitis, Oncidium, Paphiopedilum and Vanda. I love all orchids, but these are the ones that have continued to populate my daydreams, even when I was working on the options trading floor at the Pacific Stock Exchange!
My father and I learned about orchids together, so orchid growing became a partnership with him. Today my dad is 88 years old, and we still spend hours discussing possible crossings, preferred cultivars and plants that we still “need” to add to our respective collections. Still living in Brazil, he cultivates beautiful orchids there, while I pursue my hobby here in Northern California. I love it here. I immigrated in 1989 to Ohio. After college, I moved to California where I put down roots, made friends, and began cultivating orchids.”
Dennis was born on the island of Kauai, Hawaii. As a lad he helped his mom grow her orchids and got hooked. He joined the Future Farmers of America and his project was raising and selling orchids.
In 1980 he moved to the mainland and swore off the orchid family; not for long, as he was introduced to Rod McLellan’s ‘Acres of Orchids’. First, he filled his home with upwards of 6,000 plants. Later he leased greenhouse space for his collection. A glutton for punishment, he continued to add to his collection, overflowing the 3,000 sq. ft. greenhouse in Half Moon Bay. Currently his greenhouse (D&D Flowers) is in Daly City.
Dennis has been president of Peninsula Orchid Society, San Francisco Orchid Society, Diablo View Orchid Society and the Santa Cruz Orchid Society. He is an accredited judge of the American Orchid Society. Dennis belongs to over 14 orchid societies and tries to assist them whenever possible.
Pepe Portilla is the founder and president of Ecuagenera Orchids in Ecuador, which has grown into one of the largest orchid nurseries in South America. Ecuagenera specializes both in species for the collector and hybrids for the pot plant markets. Pepe is not only an excellent businessman but he also has a deep love and understanding of his country’s orchids. He has traveled widely to observe the native orchids and is also committed to both in situ and ex situ conservation of the country’s orchid wealth. He will speak about “The Orchids of Ecuador”.
Setup at 6:00 pm with Dinner beginning at 7:00 pm
Turkey and ham will be provided by the Board … the rest … by you, our members! We have a liquor license, so you can BYOB!
For the potluck, bring a side dish, salad or desert … enough for 8 … according to the beginning letter of your last name…
A-H Desert, I-O Salad, P-Z Side Dish
For the Gift Exchange bring a nice plant (bug free) or an orchid related item (a pot, gardening tool etc … something that you would like to receive yourself).
There will also be a small auction for some very special items!
Note: This is a members only event… spouses/partners are welcome, too.
The 2019 dues should be paid by the January meeting, but feel free to pay at the party! ($30)
Holiday Party Bonus: The first 30 people who have paid dues for 2019 will receive a free plant. Please bring the completed form with your check. Renewal Form
“I 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.
As 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.
We 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 others and 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 subscribers.
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 graying, 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.”
Dinner with the Speaker at 5:30 p.m. is at Aung MayLika 1050 Contra Costa Blvd, Concord, CA 94423
Everyone is welcome to attend and meet our speaker – email Betty at email@example.com to reserve a seat.