published May 24, 2011

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May Announcements

 

Edwin S. Boyett Jr.

Ed Boyett passed away on May 12, 2011. He was preceded in death by his wife, AnnaLee Thackston Boyett, who passed away on January 24, 2010. AnnaLee was a former chair of the AOS Judging Committee and president on the Mid-America Orchid Congress. Ed was long-time award photographer for the Atlanta Judging Center.

 

Eric A. Christenson

Noted orchid taxonomist, Eric Christenson passed away in April, 2011. He was 57. Christenson described hundreds of orchid species and was well known for his work with Sarcanthinae. His monograph on Phalaenopsis is a standard reference work. An article on his work will be published in an upcoming Orchids magazine.

 

Koichi Ejiri, 1926-2011

Koichi Ejiri

Born in Ichikawa, Chiba July 28, 1926 Koichi Ejiri was the second son of Sozaburo Ejiri. He passed away in early May. The senior Ejiri was an importer of fabrics and paint from the United States. Just before the beginning of WWII, the senior Ejiri left the import business and purchased property just outside of Tokyo for the purpose of building a hobby nursery growing vegetables, fruit trees and flowers. Little did he know at the time that this would be the beginning of one of Japan's most prominent orchid nurseries.

Koichi Ejiri was a student of the Tokyo University of Agriculture when WWII broke out and, while he attended the Japanese Military Academy, he was fortunately spared war service. Following the end of WWIII, Koichi returned to Tokyo University of Agriculture and helped his father with the nursery startup.

Koichi Ejiri graduated Tokyo University of Agriculture in 1948 at which point he went to work full-time in his father's nursery and, the now famous, Suwada Orchid Nursery was born.

Immediately following WWII finding heating oil and glass to cover greenhouses would have ordinarily been an impossible task were it not for the US military occupation forces. Orchid corsages were exceptionally popular in those days and a ready supply of cut-flowers grown locally was worth a king's ransom. Koichi recognized this and became the major supplier of cut-flowers for military parties. In return Suwada Orchid Nursery was able to secure a lasting supply of oil and glass.

A shrewd businessman, Koichi also recognized that while the US military occupation might be a lucrative business it wouldn't last forever. Orchids at the time were not popular among the Japanese people so Koichi set out to make orchids as popular among his people as all other flowers. Most Japanese believed that orchids were very prestigious and only for the wealthy. As a result, Mr. Ejiri organized many orchid shows in an effort to expose the general public to as many exotic flowers as possible.

In 1961, Koichi got the chance to be on a weekly television program called Shumi no Engei (Horticulture as Hobby). This program started in 1961 and broadcast weekly all over Japan is still running and Koichi, a frequent guest, is the only person to have appeared regularly for 50 years. As a result Mr. Ejiri is famous throughout Japan as an orchid master and when the American Orchid Society presented Mr. Ejiri with an Outstanding Hybridizer's Award at the 2011 Tokyo Grand Prix, the presentation was carried on Japanese national television. In addition to television and radio, Mr. Ejiri was also a prolific author of books on orchids. In keeping with his life's work to make orchids as popular as possible, most of the books he wrote were geared for the beginning grower.

His work with orchid breeding began in the 1970's after traveling to California to visit many of the most influential nurseries of the time. Returning to Japan, Mr. Ejiri began hybridizing mainly in the Cattleya Alliance and Paphiopedilums. Over the intervening years, Suwada Orchid Nursery has registered more than 3500 crosses. Much of the early breeding involved breeding stock procured from California and Hawaii but over time Mr. Ejiri began to develop his own breeding stock. Some of his most well-known crosses are Lc. Tropical Pointer, Lc. Tropical Chip, Lc. Tropical Song, Lc. Tropical Sunset, Sc. Mini Collins, Pot. Tokyo Bay, Pot. Twentyfirst Century, and Pot. First Class.

Mr. Ejiri and Suwada Orchid Nursery have an unsurpassed list of more than 600 awards from the Japan Orchid Growers Association as well as numerous awards from the American Orchid Society. He and his nursery received a Gold Medal at the 12th World Orchid Conference held in Tokyo, the first Grand Champion at 1991 Japan Grand Prix International Orchid Festival (Tokyo Dome Show) also in 1994 and once again in 2011 Mr. Ejiri was also the recipient of a record 11 grand prize awards (Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries prize] at the Japan Orchid Growers Association (JOGA) shows; one of the oldest orchid shows in Japan.

Koichi Ejiri remained exceptionally active with TV lectures, writing books, JOGA judging and serving senior adviser to JOGA until very recently. Suwada Orchid Nursery will continue on under the leadership of his two sons, Munekazu and Koji who will, continuing their father's legacy, endeavor to make orchids the most popular flower in Japan.

Report of the Grand Champion at the 2011 Japan Grand Prix"

Noel Reeves Gauntlett, 1921 - 2011

Noel Gauntlett (fondly known in Jamaican orchid circles as 'Prof') long time Jamaican orchidist and engineer died on April 19 after a long illness. He was in his 89th year. He is survived by his wife Carmen. He was trained as an Engineer in England and worked with the Public Works Department, the National Water Commission and as a consultant for many years. He was a nephew of the late Adam Pullar who helped found the Jamaica Orchid Society in 1931.

He had a great interest in Jamaican orchid species and corresponded with and exchanged plants with several well known personalities such as the later G. Hermon Slade of Australia and New Guinea, W.W.G. Moir of Hawaii and his very close friend William (Bill) Osment of Hollywood in Florida and others. He was particularly interested in Cattleyas, Dendrobiums and Vandas. He had an interesting collection of Callista type Dendrobiums. The seed of many of these he had obtained from Slade. He was the first person that I knew that grew orchids from seed and stimulated an interest in 'flasking' in me, as well as others. He joined the Jamaica Orchid Society in the 1950's and served for a time as President, as a judge and was a regular exhibitor and local orchid shows. He was also a long-time member of the American Orchid Society and wrote articles for the A.O.S. Bulletin. Volume 46 of the Bulletin (July 1977) has two very interesting articles written by Noel, "Broughtonia sanguinea - Jamaica's Famous Orchid" and "In Search of the Elusive Broughtonia Sanguinea alba". He will perhaps be best remembered as the first person to find the yellow form Broughtonia sanguinea in 1953. A division of this plant was later exhibited by Messers Alberts & Merkel of Boynton Beach, Florida on June 13, 1957 and was awarded Certificate of Botanical Merit (CBM) and named in honor of Noel's wife Carmen. Broughtonia sanguinea forma aurea 'Carmen Gauntlett' CBM/AOS is an ancestor of most of the yellow forms of the species presently in cultivation.

In his recognition, the genus Gauntlettara (Broughtonia x Cattleyopsis x Laeliopsis) was named in his honor. The species Oncidium gauntlettii now known as Tolumnia gauntlettii was named for him by Withner and Jessup in 1964. Additionally, he has had a number hybrids named for him as well. These are Gauntlettara Noel (Ctps. ortgiesiana x Lpna. Kingston) registered by W.W.G. Moir in 1966, Tolu. Noel Gauntlett (Tolu. Rose de Mask x Tolu. Helen Brown) and registered by Mr. & Mrs. H. Jessup in 1985 and Rlc. Noel Gauntlett (Rlc. Norman's Bay x C. Pandora Bracey) and registered by Dr. Donovan Bennett in 2008.

He bred many species and hybrids but only registered three of his hybrids, all in 1991. These are: Ctna. Jamaica Pride (Bro. negrilensis x Ctna. Jamaica Red, Lna. Surprise (L. undulata x Bro. sanguinea) and Zed. Butternall (Onc. sphacelatum x Zel. onusta). He also bred Ctna. Elsie Adams (Bro. jamaicensis x Ctna. Jamaica Red) which was registered by Dr. C.D. Adams and named for his wife. He inspired an interest in Jamaican Orchids in several persons including myself and his friend, Dr. Donovan (Danny) Bennett a local physician and orchid fellow breeder. I well remember going on several collecting trips with himself, the late Michael (Mickey) Sampson and Ancile Gloudon in the 1970's and 1980's searching for Broughtonia sanguinea alba as well as other colour forms of the species and other Jamaican orchids. He was awarded the prestigious Bronze Musgrave Medal by the Institute of Jamaica for his contribution to Jamaican horticulture.

After his retirement from the National Water Commission he served as a consultant engineer and was involved farming Vanilla. He had a 'mini botanical garden' in his home on Cleiveden Avenue, in Kingston and took great pride in showing visitors and friends various trees and other plants that he had acquired from various parts of the world. He had huge clumps of Myrmecophila humboldtii (Schom. humboldtii) and other orchids established on trees in his front yard.

Claude W. Hamilton