published June 16, 2011

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Orchid Education for the Summer Doldrums

Frank Fordyce and Ernest Hetherington at the 2010 Orchid
Digest Speakers Day



Summer means lazy days, camp for the kids, vacation and not much going on with orchids. Except for a few shows the season has ended until the fall. Potting chores should be nearing an end soon and depending on the makeup of your collection, flowers may be too! While it may be refreshing to have a break from our orchids, in recent years enterprising orchid groups have been creating opportunities to inform and enlighten us. Summer symposiums, workshops and seminars are becoming common across the county. Here are a few that may be within your region or offer tempting travel destinations.


The Ninth Orchid Digest Speakers Day takes place this Saturday, June 18 from 12:30 pm to 8:00 pm at the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California. This year’s theme is “The Oncidiinae” and leaders in the field have been brought together to offer a stimulating afternoon of lectures. The dinner speaker, Mark Chase, promises to offer some interesting insights into proposed changes in the classification of this group of orchids. We can expect a lively discussion. See for details.

The International Phalaenopsis Alliance presents The Seventeenth Phalaenopsis Symposium at the Crowne Plaza Hotel at Union Station in Indianapolis, Indiana July 15-17. A full schedule of lectures and workshops will inform Phal fans about the latest trends in breeding and culture. Social events and an optional golf outing round out the weekend. June 30 is the last day for mail in registration so don't delay. See for full details and schedule of events.

A few years ago the South Florida group, Coalition for Orchid Species, began holding a summer symposium at the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables, Florida. Once again this group of dedicated species enthusiasts has put together a roster of fine lectures on July 24. The day begins with breakfast at 8:00 am and the first lecture kicks off at 8:45 am. Five lectures on a broad range of topics will provide something of interest for everyone. Registration includes breakfast and lunch. See for more information.

The following weekend marks the first Annual Cattleya Symposium to be held in Fort Pierce, Florida. Longtime Cattleya fan John Odom is the driving force behind the symposium and has assembled a lineup of well-respected presenters for July 29 and 30. The two-day event promises to give Cattleya enthusiasts all they can handle on the history, care, breeding and future of their favorite orchids. The symposium is co-sponsored by the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences. Disney World is only a couple hours away so bring the kids and make a holiday of it! See

Now in its 32nd year, the Houston Orchid Society’s Summer Workshop will take place on the weekend of August 5-6. Plant raffles and auctions, hands-on workshop sessions, and guest speakers round out the program. A special “attendees choose the topic” is a favorite session. A Friday night party offers an opportunity to meet the speakers and mingle with people with like interests.

All of these events have AOS judging. Attendees can enter their own plants or watch judging in progress. Seminars apply toward judges’ ongoing educational requirements. All also have select vendors selling plants and there is ample time to shop and socialize with friends, or meet new ones. Take advantage of the hot summer months to chill out at an orchid symposium!

Note: if we have missed any educational events in June, July or August, please accept our apologies and forward information to T 4