Meeting Wednesday August 6th 7pm. Venice Community Center

Speaker: Courtney Hackney

 Growing Cattleya
page 1 hackney photo

Professor Hackney is the Director of Coastal Biology at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Florida. He began growing orchids in the Florida Keys in 1962 while working for a small orchid nursery and has continued his interest in both orchid hybridizing and orchid culture since then. He grows many different genera, but his favorite is the Cattleya Alliance. He has about 500 mature cattleyas and even more seedlings, but his favorites are classic clones, some of which appeared in orchid collections over 100 years ago. He makes 8-10 hybrids and species sib crosses per year in various genera.

He wrote a Growing Tips column for 20 years, which ended in December 2013 that appeared in newsletters around the country and has published in Orchid Digest. In 2004, he published “American Cattleyas”, the culmination of a decade of study and interviews, which summarizes in old photographs and print how all of the modern cattleyas came to be. The book also describes what we know about cattleyas and cattleya hybrids, how to grow them, and what to expect from modern hybrids.

He and his wife Rose live in Jacksonville, Florida adjacent to a tidal swamp. Rose paints and he enjoys the Epi. conopseum growing in the trees in his backyard, while he conducts his research in the swamp. His orchids are now enjoying residence in a new 24’x25’ Florida shade house adjacent to the swamp.

Courtney and Rose will have plants and their books for sale.

Meeting June 4, 2014 – 7:00 pm

Steve HawkinsOncidiums

Steve Hawkins photo
Steve’s career started with a couple of Cattleya orchids on a windowsill in a Kansas farmhouse at the age of 15. After graduating college with a degree in horticulture, Steve started work at Rod McLellan Co., “Acres of Orchids”, in South San Francisco, first as a grower and later as hybridizer and sales manager over a 13 year period. Shortly after moving to Florida in 1988, he began his own nursery, Orchid Specialists, in Apopka, and grows a wide variety of orchids and some unusual tropicals in a 6000 square foot greenhouse.

His focus is on serving individuals and small businesses and educating the public with presentations to garden clubs and other organizations. He is a well-known speaker at numerous area and regional orchid societies and is a member of both the Central Florida Orchid Society and American Orchid Society. He does most of the work himself, but is helped by his hobbyist sister, Linda, at the many orchid shows and other venues where he exhibits.

He always saves time at the end of his presentations for questions and answers and will have a great selection of orchids for sale.

Meeting May 7, 2014: Wednesday, 7:00 p.m.

Speaker: Dr. Antonio Toscano —- Topic: “Sex, Lies and Orchids”

Dr. Antonio Toscano is the director of the Orchid DivisioToscano Field Photo may 2014 medn, Marie Selby Gardens in Sarasota. Born in Brazil, he received his PhD from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, through the University of Reading and has completed several expeditions to the Amazon in search of Pleurothallids.  The Pleurothallid alliance of New World orchids includes popular genera such as Masdevallia and Dracula and Dr. Toscano is the world’s leading expert on the more than 4000 species of these amazing orchids.

 He recently completed a Global Plants Initiative project on the orchid diversity of the rapidly disappearing Atlantic rainforests of S.E. Brazil. VAOS continues to support conservation efforts in this area through our annual contribution to the Orchid Conservation Alliance.

He will discuss the unique form and structure of these orchids as well as their complicated and sometimes “erotic” pollination methods. He’ll dazzle us with breathtaking  photos from around the world, especially from Brazil.


Orchid Envy, one of our newer local growers, will have a selection of their beautiful plants and arrangements for sale.