Meeting Wednesday, February 3, 2016 – 7:00 pm

Author Photo by Paul Marcellini (sm)Roger Hammer is a professional naturalist, botanist, author, and photographer. He was the Keynote Speaker at the 19th World Orchid Conference in Miami and also gave the Keynote address at the Florida Native Plant Society state conferences in 1997 and 2013. Among his awards are the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Award from the Florida Native Plant Society and the Charles Brookfield Medal from Tropical Audubon Society. In 2012 he received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Florida International University. His specialty in wildflowers is native orchids and, of the 108 species reported for Florida, he has photographed 94 of them. He spends his leisure time birdwatching, long-distance canoeing, kayak fishing, and sipping expensive rums. Roger also works as a survivalist instructor for the Discovery Channel on their reality TV program, Naked and Afraid. Roger grew up in Cocoa Beach but moved to Homestead after being honorably discharged from the Army in 1968 as a tank gunner. Visit his website for further information:

Location: Venice Community Center -(doors open at 6:30)

Venice Orchid Project

Look Up When you Walk Through the Park.  Do You See the Orchids?

Venice, Florida October 15, 2015:  For years the city of Venice has promoted itself as “the Shark’s Tooth Capital of the World”.  However, after multiple beach renourishment  projects it’s becoming increasingly difficult  to find those shark’s teeth on our beaches.  It may just be in the not- so -distant- future that Venice has a new claim to fame – “the City of Orchids” –  thanks to an ongoing community  project to populate our city parks and trees with Florida friendly orchids.

In 2014 the Venice Area Orchid Society (VAOS)   and the Venice Area Beautification Inc. (VABI), with the support of our city leaders, began a project to plant and mount orchids in our city parks and  trees. About 60% of the  initial 100 plants have survived the squirrels and weather and are thriving.  And because divisions of mature plants and not seedlings were planted, we should start to see some blooming orchids this spring.

The Venice project is nowhere near the scale of the Million Orchid Project initiated by Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens in Coral Gables, FL where 50,000 orchid seedlings will be  planted in the coming years. However, their project does serve as a terrific role model  to initiate our own – to reintroduce Florida friendly orchids to  Venice.

South Florida was a natural orchid paradise 100 years ago. Loss of habitat, urban development and poaching has decimated their numbers to the extent that they have no hope of recovering on their own. Many Florida native orchids are now endangered or extinct. South Florida is the only sub-tropical part of our country where orchids can be grown outside with minimal risk of freezing. Orchids grow on trees in their natural habitat. They are not parasites and do not damage the trees. They require little maintenance and can grow and bloom for decades once established.

Planting orchids in our city landscape will enhance the beauty of our Island City and delight our residents and visitors for years to come. So the next time you walk through one of our downtown parks, look up. You might just see a blooming orchid!

The Venice Area Orchid Society is one of the largest and most active orchid societies in Florida with over 300 members. The annual Venice Orchid Show and Sale, held the first weekend in February each year, draws more than 4000 visitors.

Meeting Wednesday, January 6, 2016 – 7:00 pm

Speaker John Budree photoRamnarine John Budree was born in Trinidad and migrated to Florida about fifteen years ago. In Trinidad, he grew many different types of orchids and took part in collecting and showing at many shows, but there was always something more. He wanted to learn more about orchids, wanted more of a challenge. He wanted to grow and flower them, of course. So when he came to Florida, he got involved with orchids on a different level. Here he was able to grow all of those types of plants he could only read about and even meet all of those people that grew and wrote the articles that he had read in AOS magazines.

So he started on his journey/adventure. He began to go to many of the shows and what do you do when you go to a show…. YOU BUY ORCHIDS, which you know nothing about, in the hope you can grow or flower it. He always liked Paphiopedilum but he was told he couldn’t grow them. This became a challenge to John and he found these plants very interesting as well. He met some of the biggest and the best orchid growers, Jack Schendowich, Warren Kelly (Orchid World), Bob Scully (Jones & Scully), Mr. Frank Smith (Krull-Smith) and Sheldon Takasaki (Carmela Orchids). These people really know how to grow orchids but not just any orchids, but Paphiopedilum, Cattleya, Phalaenopsis, Dendrobium, and Oncidium, e.g. Krull- Smith has more AOS awards than any other orchid grower past or present.

At the 19th World Orchid Congress in Miami in 2008, John had an opportunity to work with Frank Smith, an experienced and internationally recognized grower of Paphiopedilum, hybridizer, landscaper and designer. He tried to absorb as much of Frank Smith’s knowledge as possible, and did an exhibit on his own. After that, he started to grow many types of Paphs and today he owns over 1750 as well as about 2000 other types of orchids. Of course, he says, he has also lost count of the ones he killed. In short he has been growing Orchids for about 30 years, from flask to flower and has accumulated about 30 AOS awards. He continues to speak at numerous orchid societies and symposiums.

Mr. Budree will talk about the bizarre, weird world of Bulbophyllums, the largest genus in the orchid family Orchidaceae.

Location: Venice Community Center -(doors open at 6:30)