May Meeting

Please join us for our next meeting on Sunday May 4th.  Our guest speaker is Carson Whitlow and he will be speaking on Cyprepediums. Lunch starts at noon and the meeting begins at 1PM. Please bring your blooming plants for the show table.

Carson will not be selling plants, so the sales table is open for a farmer’s market. Bring anything you want to sell or trade and give 10% of the proceeds back to the society at the end of the meeting.

About Carson:

Carson became interested in orchids in 1958 when he was a sophomore in college. The following years he worked on the weekends and summers repotting orchids for a firm in Springfield, Illinois. After graduating in 1960, Carson went to Santa Ana, California to work for the prestigious firm of B. O. Bracey and Company. A year later, he changed his direction and entered upon a career in government service with the Orange County (California) Health Department. Career-wise, he has been an administrator in public health since that time, changing in 1988 to highway safety from where he retired in 2005. Educationally, he has a Bachelors of Arts degree in education and mathematics (1960) from Blackburn College, Carlinville, Illinois, and a Master of Science of Public Health degree in biostatistics (1973) from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

After leaving the Bracey firm, Carson established his own collection, mostly of blue Cattleyas, with which he undertook hybridizing in association with Fred A. Stewart, Orchids, in San Gabriel, California. From 1964 thru 1969, he produced in excess of 60 blue cattleya hybrids, many of which are still in collections, arising from the original seedlings or as mericlones. Many are used as basic parents in today’s blue Cattleya breeding.

In 1973, with his move to central Iowa, Carson took a distinct change in direction, working with the hardy terrestrial orchids, primarily the Cypripediums and Calopogons. His worked resulted in the first registered artificial hybrids of Cypripedium in 1987 and Calopogon in 1991. He continued to hybridize these genera and built a small business, Cyp. Haven, as retail outlet for his work. His business closed in 2009. However, he does continue to hybridize blue cattleyas and white paphs and provides the seed to other growers to offer.

In 1995, Carson’s interest in the internet and an easier means of finding orchid related sites on the world wide web brought about the birth of “The Orchid Mall,” which today has become the definitive index site for orchids on the internet. In addition, the “unClassified Ads” offers everyone an opportunity to share their plants and/or find things they are looking for.

Carson’s hybrid work is recognized throughout the world. He has published over 30 articles in U.S. and European journals.