T. J. Hartung

Phone: 503-278-8079 Email: tjhartung@gmail.com

SpecialtiesFragrant orchids, Vanilla orchid, state orchids, Orchids of Mexico
FormatIn-person only
Provides plants for sale?No


T.J. is a retired computer systems specialist and systems analyst. He designed computers and wrote computer software to manage hotels. His love for orchids began when he lived in Southern California and started growing Cymbidiums in his yard. For quite a few years, every secretary in the company where he worked received, anonymously, a Cymbidium blossom on Valentine’s Day. Since retiring to Mexico he has been rescuing orchids from downed trees and broken limbs before they are eaten by animals or washed down the streams and rivers into the sea. Much of what he knows about orchids he has learned in the laboratory of the great outdoors. The rest comes from online research and numerous books on the subject. He is on the board of directors of the Vallarta Botanical Garden. In recent years he has given talks to orchids societies in the US, Canada, England and Scotland. He has written two books: “Vanilla – The Gift from Mexico that gives Flavor and Aroma to the World” and “Stop and Smell the Orchids” plus a number of articles for “Orchids” magazine. I live in Mexico all year round, and my wife and I consider these speaking tours as a vacation. We therefore pay for our own travel expenses. In lieu of a speaker honorarium, I ask that an equivalent donation be made to the Vallarta Botanical Garden. In the US and Canada, this donation is tax deductible. My wife and I appreciate being hosted for one or two nights by one of your members. All of my talks are light and infused with some humor. I find that people are turned off by highly technical terminology, so I avoid this whenever possible.

Talks and Abstracts


Orchids of Mexico

There are over 1,300 orchids that can be found in Mexico. About 600 of them can be found ONLY in Mexico! Time does not permit talking about all of them. This presentation shows pictures of some Mexican orchids while you are told some interesting things about a few of them. The pictures on the screen are about one quarter of all the orchids in Mexico.

History of Vanilla

Vanilla has a very interesting history. It involves such people as: Christopher Columbus; Cortez; Queen Elizabeth I; Thomas Jefferson; and a number of other lesser known people, one of whom we all enjoy the result of her invention. This talk will also uncover a lie that we were taught in school Vanilla was the object of a monopoly that lasted almost 350 years, and was ended thanks to a 12 year old boy. Vanilla has a long list of uses in today’s world, but also has a few lesser known uses that can be appreciated by those who do not like the smell of paint or do not like spiders, to name a few.

Orchid Trivia (not a contest)

This is not a contest. There are no prizes. This talk covers everything from the simple basics, to a few questions that even the most knowledgeable orchid person may not know. You may learn some fascinating things about orchids and related topics. There is no intent to embarrass anybody and nobody will be called on unexpectedly.

Orchids in Your (state, province or territory)

A customized talk revealing all the orchids that can be found in a particular state, Canadian province or territory along with additional information about each orchid.

Fragrant Orchids

Over 10% of all orchids are known to have a fragrance, some good, some not. This talk covers the how and why of orchid fragrances, and a fascinating list of the various scents found in orchids. (Based on my book: “Stop and Smell the Orchids”)