OSMT Meeting, Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Time: 7:00 pm (refreshments at 6:30 pm)
Location: Cheekwood Botanical Gardens
Speaker: Steve Arthur of Steve Arthur Orchids
“Collecting in Central and South America”
Steve will present a program about orchid collecting in Central and South America. It will include photography of plants growing in the wild as well as at orchid nurseries he visited on his trips to the region.
About Steve Arthur
I started out very young with a passion for plants. At five I began breeding African Violets in my bedroom, at seven started breeding Roses. At nine I stumbled on to Orchids while trying to buy a fishing boat. My first ones were cut flower standard Cattleyas from Bob Sanker in Cincinnati. I grew them under lights and had mild success, but began purchasing various miniature orchids from J&L so that I could have more plants in my limited space. After I got my degree in Biology from Xavier University, I moved to Kentucky to help them to make Bourbon. I spent 27 years in the Bourbon industry with Schenley Distillers, Heaven Hill Distillers and Jim Beam. Jim Beam wanted me to move to Chicago and I emphatically said no, so I have bounced around with some local companies since.
Anyway back to Orchids. I bought my first house when I was 24, and within 3 weeks of moving in, I enclosed the front porch to make a greenhouse. I again started with miniature species mostly, until I filled it up and then added a greenhouse to the back of the house. With all this new space, I went wild and purchased hundreds of compots and flasks; mostly Cattleya allied hybrids, and they thrived. I waited for them to grow up and then they started blooming!
Winter of 1989, while I was spending Christmas with family in Gatlinburg, the electricity went out and the entire greenhouse froze! It took me a while to recover and get started again but I did, this time I built a greenhouse 3/4 underground. It is approx 600 square feet and has withstood two episodes of a week at a time (and a couple shorter episodes) with no heat and as low as -2F, with only minimal damage to my plants. My collection is diversified but centers on Cattleya allied, with approx 1500 in that group. I do some of my own breeding and sow my own seeds. With such a small greenhouse, I normally only grow out maybe 30-50, but have shared many flasks out to other growers and have already had an award to a plant of one of my crosses.
I am an accredited AOS judge, I have served as show chair for many shows including four Mid-Americas, I have been the Training coordinator twice, Auditor, Vice and Center Chair for the Cincinnati judging center. I am married, with two grown children, four grand children ages 15-22, and one great grandson almost 2.