Who addicted you? :)

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I'm wondering where we all were the first time we saw orchids and were hooked, who was a key guide and mentor, which books were/are most important to you and which orchid just seemed to be 'the one' at that or any time? Which genera did you start with and what changes happened and why?
Don't have to list all, just share the big things!

My mother grew all sorts of house plants and when I was in high school she tried some of those 'orchids in net bags' probably from the sun bulb company. She also had a houseplant encyclopedia which had many orchid species in it that I checked out often. She didn't do well with the orchids (near window but too high so too dark) so I felt compelled to try.

Got some plants from tioga gardens display atrium and then she told me of this magical place in homer ny where in winter she walked into these warm, humid greenhouses with all these flowers and bird cages in the middle. I resisted for awhile but one day went and met Jim and grace rice of rices orchids. He grew tons of species that he'd imported pre cites, often going himself and buying or collecting, and always meeting and making friends with local collectors. Lots of people helped Jim and grace in exchange for plants since they'd quickly spent all their money ;) . Jim was famous partly for hospitality and would invite all into his dining room for scotch or beer and lunch of course and discussion of all sorts would ensue, often teachers from nearby schools would be there and talk about their specialty (bill brown and ants)

After some point my mother also told me about walking into the vestal public library and seeing this orchid club having a meeting and sat down; was the southern tier orchid society and I ended up joining. I discovered the aos bulletin and spent many hours scouring pages reading articles and ads

That was the start, what's your story? :)
 

Chicago Chad

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Tom Kalina!
Paph venustum and Dendrobium victoria-reginae

THANK YOU TOM!! :D

current preference: albanistic paph species and micro miniatures of all genera

introduction to orchids: farmers market in Downers Grove IL, Hausermann's and Natt's Orchids
 

troy

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My intro to orchids was buying an oncidium from a health food store and thinking I was taking immaculate care then killed it lol... I was determined to know why, then discovered all the different species
 
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I got my first orchid sometime in 1977. I was sick and my husband visited
Lager and Hurrell greenhouses (they were just around the corner). to get me something to help me feel better. After that I was totally hooked. Now have a greenhouse overflowing with orchids and couldn,t be happier. One of my most favorite things to do is hop on a plane to Miami and go to the RedlandsOrchid Festival in May. But I have to save up for a while because there are so many orchids there you can spend a lot in a very short time. Also it is always a learning process. Can always learn more about these very fascinating plants. Had dinner with our son and daughter in law the other nite and I was talking about an orchid book I had just looked for at Barnes and Noble. My sons comment was. Why did I need a book about orchids. I should know everything. He really doesn't have a clue. Am a senior citizen now and hope that I have many more years to enjoy my addiction
 
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orchidman77

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I always have loved all plants, but my dad bought me a picture book of orchids from the bookstore as a kid. So I knew about all different kinds of orchids from a young age, but my first orchid was a Blc. hybrid from Lowe's. Then I found the Internet orchid world and the rest is history!!

I currently grow a mostly species collection of Paphs/Phrags (my favorites) as well as Cattleyas/Laelias/Encyclias with a few other miscellaneous things...

David
 

mrhappyrotter

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You've asked for a novel. I've already started to lose track of how exactly things went down. So the story probably changes a little bit each time I tell it.

As a teenager I was really interested in lizards, and for the temperate and tropical species I cared for, I incorporated live plants into their enclosures as much as I could. At first it started with common house plants, but then I discovered bromeliads. Started growing those for awhile, and was aware of orchids, but hadn't really gotten into them yet.

Then my great-aunt, who was very delighted about my sudden new interest in plants decided to get me a Dendrobium, which I quickly killed (that hasn't changed to this day, most Dendrobiums absolutely hate my care), but in an attempt to try and appease it, I got my hand on book after book on orchid care. I also remember in one of my high school Spanish classes, the book we used actually had a short blurb about the ecology in many tropical areas of South America, and it prominently featured a photo of a Brassia. That caught my eye for sure.

From there it was a blur, but I very quickly zeroed in on Paphs, which were orchids I simply couldn't get at Lowe's or Home Depot. Having discovered that I could mail order bromeliads or pick them up at local greenhouses, I decided to look around and see if the same options were available for orchids, and boy were they ever! It was really the only way to get Paphs at that time, and fortunately there was one such greenhouse not too far away (Breckinridge).

I remember 16 year old me feeling like a million bucks when I got to drive there on my own and buy my first few slippers. It was only much later that I learned my great-grandmother used to be into orchids as well. She was a Cymbidium grower.
 

abax

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After retiring from teaching at a university, I decided I'd
wasted many years in school and teaching when what I really wanted to do was dig holes and plant things...a mostly summer activity. I enabled myself into orchids and then married into a garden center/wholesale tree
nursery family. Now I have trees and orchids. The best
of both worlds.
 
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It was national geographic!

I'd got interested in plants about the age of 10 and grew the usual things, fuchsias, pelargoniums etc. One day I picked up my dads national geographic and there was an article on orchids. They blew my mind! I can still remember the photo of a dendrobium densiflorum in full bloom.
Luckily for me we had a local nursery, mansell and hatcher, long since gone, who specialised in odonts and this is where I picked up my first plants.
Over the next 15 years I received a degree in botany followed by another in plant breeding and took a job as an agricultural plant breeder.
Still there 30 years later, breeding barley and growing orchids.
David
 
M

MaryPientka

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My daughters and I traditionally visit a flower show for my birthday. In 1985, I fell in love with a mini cymbidium. Over the following year I became very sick. I neglected my houseplants. All of them died-except the cymbidium. It bloomed. I was hooked. I joined AOS and OD. I obsessively read everything I could get my hands on. I expanded my collection over the following years. When I bought my first delentii, I was hooked on slippers. So here I am today.
 

li'l frog

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I have a get-out-of-jail-free card! My husband got me a C Jose Marti for Mother's Day. By the end of the year we owned 50 orchids, and it was all downhill from there. He can NEVER say anything about my addiction -- because he started it!
 

Wendy

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I went to see a lady about some cacti she had advertised in the local newspaper. (fall of 2000) She had orchids as well. I ended up with one cacti....which I killed....and a couple Cattleyas. After that it became an obsession.

I met John M a couple years later and after pestering him endlessly he finally took me under his wing. I've learned most of what I know from him and am still learning every time I visit. Also picked the brains of other growers in our local orchid societies. I came to favour multifloral Paphs a couple years after meeting John.....love every Genus but Paphs are special.

I have several orchid books but the best is Lance Birk's Paph Growers Manual. Love it.
 

Happypaphy7

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I grew up with orchids.
Family on my mother's side were all in the agriculture industry ranging from rice field, fruit orchard, live stock to orchid facility.

The kind of orchids they specialized in were the large flowering cymbidiums.
They were (still are to a certain degree) big time cash products with low cost for heating in the winter and huge margin in export trade with China and Japan.

My first orchid was a phalaenopsis. I bought a small seedling with a leaf span of about 3 in for $10 in late 80s, which was expensive.
I killed it by placing it to close to the window. The poor thing just turned to mushy mess overnight. This happened the same month I bought the plant. lol

At the time, orchids were very very uncommon and very expensive in Korea.
The most common were the Chinese cymbidiums and neos since these are also native to South Korea, but they were expensive and reserved for high class people for the most part.

Phalaenopsis, cymbidiums and yellow dancing lady oncidium were gaining popularity for big event, hence big money. Early 90s, dendrobium Sonia became popular and available even to the general public. About $90 for a potted plant with a single spike in bloom.

Ok, back on track, the next orchids I bought were Dendrobium nobile and cymbidiums. I lived in an apartment with unheated sunroom, so they did very well. I eventually gave them away as we moved around a few times.

I always wanted certain paphiopedilums, but they were not to be seen in Korea at the time. At least I had never seen them offered anywhere.
They were big in Japan, though as they are now.
 

PaphMadMan

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I'm a self-built orchid addict. I had many mentors and teachers for other types of plants over the years, through family, high school classes, the garden center where I had my first job, and college professors as I got a horticulture degree, but my interest in orchids developed in a vacuum starting with a National Geographic issue from 1971 when I was 11. I read whatever I could find at the library, acquired some mail order catalogs through ads in general horticulture magazines, and sent for my first orchids (from Hausermann's) in 1975. I read every back issue of AOS Bulletin when I discovered them in the college library, and much more. By the time I finally joined an orchid society when I was about 30 I had far more theoretical knowledge than most people in the room, and 15 years experience growing orchids. One member of the society was somewhat a mentor when I first got into Paphs, and of course I learned from many people over the years, but ultimately I have no one but myself to blame.
 

eOrchids

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My obsession of orchids was self inflicted. Prior growing orchids, I was growing carnivorous plants (and still do today). The culture of the CPs were similar to orchids so I thought why not give them a try. Bought and killed a maudiae Paphiopedilum and it all went downhill from there.
 

Linus_Cello

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My obsession of orchids was self inflicted. Prior growing orchids, I was growing carnivorous plants (and still do today). The culture of the CPs were similar to orchids so I thought why not give them a try. Bought and killed a maudiae Paphiopedilum and it all went downhill from there.

Are these tropical or cold hardy CPs?
 

KyushuCalanthe

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The Slipper Orchid Forum. Pretty dead these days.

As for me, my dad did it. I grew up in southern NY state on 1.5 acres of second growth deciduous forest that my father had developed into what became essentially a botanical garden. In particular I remember summer mornings starting with a chorus of songbirds, chickens crowing, Japanese goldfish and frogs splashing around in the pond, the humic smell of woodland - all just outside my window. Dad had orchids in every windowsill. I remember raiding his AOS bulletin stash in the hall closet in search of any article I could find on NA native terrestrials. His collection dated back to my birth year, 1962.

There was pretty much no way I could not fall in love with orchids and nature in general since they were so much a part of everyday life. The funny part was that as a kid I thought everybody grew up in a similar fashion. Now I live in an urban landscape in southern Japan, go figure.
 

NYEric

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First of all, I am not addicted!



My Dad is a huge gardener and we had a few gardens in peoples' back yard and on office building roofs, in in the country house in upstate NY. Since I could grow most garden plants I tried a more challenging group of plant. I was not very good and have killed a TON of orchids. A large part of it is being in an apartment and having light and humidity issues. I finally , found slipper orchids and STF helped me learn to grow other things.
 

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