Our purpose is to foster the growth and preservation of native and hybrid orchids in Sonoma County and around the world.
The Society is open to hobbyists and professionals, novice to expert, all are welcome. We are here to learn, share and have fun!
We meet on the second Tuesday of each month at the Veterans Memorial Building, 1351 Maple Avenue, Santa Rosa.
Doors open at 6:30pm with plant sales and skill sessions (if any) starting at 6:45. The meeting ends between 9:00 and 9:30pm.
Members may attend all meetings and guests are welcome.
October 13th General Meeting
We are very pleased to welcome Gary Meyer, Ph.D. as our October Speaker. His pre-Halloween presentation: Dracuphilia: A Gothic Romance, will cover the fascinating Dracula genus from their history and lore, current state in the wild, culture, and concepts in taxonomy and biology.
Gary’s interest in orchids began when he was a freshman in high school in Michigan. He had already replaced much of his dad’s beloved lawn with hundreds of perennials and North American native plants, partly in an attempt (futile, unfortunately) to attract hummingbirds. Among this plant collection were several Cypripedium species, which ignited his curiosity about orchids from other parts of the globe. He found a photograph of Masdevallia vietchiana in a library book that rendered him helpless to resist the pull to Pleurothallids. Shortly thereafter, he laid eyes on a line drawing of Dracula chimaera in a J & L Orchids catalog, and has been enslaved by Draculas ever since.
Gary started growing Draculas in his parents’ basement in 1990, with some degree of success. However, college, then medical school, and finally graduate school became unavoidable distractions for him. By the time he finished his Ph.D. in neuroscience in 2003, he thought he had managed to completely kick the orchid addiction.
In February 2003, Gary moved from Ann Arbor, MI to San Francisco, CA, and within two weeks of his arrival, found himself face to face with a pure yellow Dracula gorgona xanthina (owned by John Leathers) at the Pacific Orchid Exposition. The addiction was immediately revived, stronger than ever. Eight years later, Gary now has two overcrowded greenhouses in his backyard in San Francisco and several hundred Dracula plants (along with a reasonable dose Masdevallias, Lepanthes, Cyrtochilums, and Anguloas).
Gary has been travelling to Colombia and Ecuador once or twice a year since 2005 to observe Draculas in the wild and visit collections of South American Dracula growers. He has also been putting his science background to work, studying the molecular taxonomy of the genus with Ken Cameron, Ph.D., director of the herbarium at the University of Wisconsin, and describing new species in conjunction with his South American colleagues.
By day, Gary is a Research Manager at IntrinsiQ, LLC, where he tracks the oncology pharmaceutical industry. He is currently President of the Pleurothallid Alliance, owner of Colombian Orchid Imports, which imports orchid species from Colombia for sale in the United States, and runs the marketing and sales for Hawk Hill Orchids of Pacifica, California.
Hawk Hill Orchids will be providing the opportunity table.
The following photos are courtesy of Gary Meyer.