Welcome to the Palomar Orchid Society Website!

The Palomar Orchid Society, incorporated in December of 1965 was formed when a few people banded together to talk about orchids. We then grew and bloomed into the roughly 200-member group of orchid enthusiasts that we have today. We represent everything orchid in North San Diego County! Come and join us!!

The Palomar Orchid Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the understanding and cultivation of both hybrid and species orchids. We welcome members of all levels to join us for orchid fun and learning! Our mission is to promote interest in the appreciation of orchids and to provide an opportunity for their display and the exchange and dissemination of information relating to their culture.

Next Monthly Meeting

Next general meeting: June 7, 2023

The Palomar Orchid Society generally meets at 6:30 pm the FIRST WEDNESDAY of every month in the Gowland Meeting Room of the Carlsbad City Library. The George and Patricia Gowland Meeting Room is located in the Carlsbad City Library on Dove Lane, just off El Camino Real in southern Carlsbad. The address is 1775 Dove Lane, Carlsbad, CA 92011.

June 2023 – Jack Zhu

Jack ZhuJack ZhuOur society is delighted to welcome Jack Zhu for the first time as our speaker on Wednesday, June 7th at 6:30 pm. Jack is a shared speaker with SDCOS and will speak with our sister society on Tuesday evening June 6th in Balboa Park. Jack will speak with us on the ‘Form and Color of Asian Cymbidiums’.  He will give a brief introduction of Asian cymbidium history as well as the main species typically accepted in the Asian cymbidium culture. Then, Jack will go into details about the various flower forms and colors of various Asian cymbidiums. In the end, Jack will briefly go over another talk he is working on, the leaf variegation of Asian cymbidiums and conduct a potting demo on Asian cymbidiums. It is a talk not to be missed. Jack also will supply this month’s plant table.

Jack Zhu is an orchid hobbyist from the Los Angeles area, who focuses on growing Asian cymbidiums and is also very interested in the culture and history of Asia cymbidiums. In addition to growing cymbidiums, Jack also grows a variety of orchids and plants including Neofinetia falcatas, Phalaenopsis, and novel clivias, just to name a few.  He is currently an Associate Judge in the AOS Pacific South Judging Region and has more than twenty AOS awards for his Asian cymbidiums and related orchids, some of which are highlighted in this newsletter.  

Wed, 06/07/2023 - 6:30pm - 9:30pm

May 2023 – Fred Clarke

Fred ClarkeFred ClarkeWe welcome back this month, Fred Clarke of Sunset Valley Orchids, one of our most favorite and impressive speakers. Fred will present a new talk entitled ‘Modern Blue Cattleyas’ that reviews the successes he has had in developing novel blue and spotted blue cattleyas by using several of the blue or coerulea cattleya species available to hybridizers. Fred also will discuss orchid culture and repotting which is a very timely topic as we enter the spring repotting and dividing season.  Fred will be providing the plant opportunity table so bring yourself and friends for a very interesting and stimulating talk. If you are unable to attend in person, we will be streaming Fred’s talk on zoom.

Most of our members know Fred Clarke well, since he is a frequent speaker, a life member, friend and long-time supporter of our society.  For those of you who do not know him, Fred has been growing orchids for 42 years and has been hybridizing for 38 of those years. With over 34 years as a professional grower and manager in the horticultural industry, Fred applies these skills at his orchid nursery, Sunset Valley Orchids, located in Vista, California, just north of San Diego. His website has a wealth of information on growing orchids, many pictures of his award-winning orchids, as well as a variety of orchid genera for sale.   Read more »

Wed, 05/03/2023 - 6:30pm - 9:30pm

April 2023 – Gilberto Castro

Gilberto CastroGilberto CastroWe are delighted to welcome Gilberto Castro, a native of Brazil, to speak to our society for the first time on Wednesday, April 5th. Gilberto will talk about the Brazilian Amazon and share with us some of his extensive knowledge of the Amazon to tell us what it is like, show some pictures of the area and highlight some of the orchids that can be seen there. 

Gilberto is definitely a longtime expert on the Amazon and, since 2006 when he built his Houseboat ‘Otter’, he has conducted many expeditions using the Otter including 5 trips since 2015 for the Orchid Conservation Alliance. SDCOS’s Peter Tobias, who organizes trips for the OCA, will be hosting Gilberto during his visit to San Diego.  Gilberto also will be speaking to SDCOS members on this same topic on Tuesday evening, April 4th in Balboa Park. 

Gilberto Castro was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on April 8, 1949. He lived in the US from 1965 to 1966, attending as a junior at Benson High School in Omaha, Nebraska. He returned to Brazil to continue his education and graduated in Natural History at the "Instituto de Biologia", “Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro" in 1972, and at the “Faculdade de Educação” of the “Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro" in 1973.   Read more »

Wed, 04/05/2023 - 6:30pm - 9:30pm

March 2023 – Culture Class

Our March meeting represents the first culture meeting of the year that features two our very experienced orchid growers, Ken Campbell and Jerry Spencer, who will share their orchid knowledge with us. Ken will speak to us about pest and virus management.  Ken has considerable experience in growing orchids in his small greenhouse that contains both mounted and potted cattleyas, phalaenopsis and hanging vandas. Ken says that if managing the temperature, the amount of light, and an irrigation and fertilization schedule isn’t enough of a challenge growing orchids, let’s not forget dealing with our friends the orchid pests.  Creepy little things like aphids, mealy bugs, scale, snails and the like.  In his presentation, Ken will talk about how to detect the presence of these unwanted visitors, identify who they are, and then successfully deal with them.   Lastly, no discussion regarding orchid threats would fail to include at least a few words about orchid viruses… so he will have a brief discussion covering that topic as well.      

Jerry Spencer will discuss his ‘5 Favorite Orchids’ why they are his favorites, where he grows them, what they like/dislike and when they bloom. As most of you are aware, Anita and Jerry Spencer are well-known for their award-winning orchids and their specialization in specimen size orchids that have won many local and AOS awards. Some of those award winners will be featured in Jerry’s presentation.

Both talks should be very educational for members new to growing orchids as well as our more experienced orchid enthusiasts and are well worth attending to broaden your orchid knowledge.

Jerry and Anita will be providing this month’s plant table.

Wed, 03/01/2023 - 6:30pm - 9:30pm

February 2023 – Brandon Tam

Brando TamBrando TamWe are delighted to welcome back our friend Brandon Tam, Orchid Collection Specialist at the Huntington Library, who will take us through a virtual tour of The Huntington’s Orchid Collection. As the Orchid Collection Specialist, Brandon curates one of the largest and most diverse orchid species collections in the world, including over 1500 unique species and 3,600 different varieties across 280 orchid genera. He oversees day-to-day horticultural operations, including acquisitions, propagation, conservation, and supervision of over 40 orchid volunteers. Under Brandon's stewardship, The Huntington has won over 100 awards from the American Orchid Society. He supervises numerous public education events, such as orchid shows, orchid judgings, and conferences. Additionally, Brandon co-curates the Amorphophallus titanum (corpse flower) collection of 43 mature specimens and has exhibited over ten blooming specimens. Brandon started as the Orchid Collection Specialist at The Huntington at age 16 while concurrently earning his bachelor's degree in plant science from California State Polytechnic University at Pomona, which he completed in 2015. Brandon is an extremely knowledgeable orchidist whose presentation is not to be missed, especially if you’ve never visited the extensive gardens of The Huntington.   Read more »

Wed, 02/01/2023 - 6:30pm - 9:30pm

January 2023 – Carol Klonowski

Carol KlonowskiCarol KlonowskiFor our first meeting of the year, we are pleased to welcome Carol Klonowski from the Bay area, who will speak on the ‘Orchids of South Africa’. Carol will take everyone on a tour of the orchid growing areas of this fascinating part of Africa and the world.  Long known as one of the garden hot-spots of the planet, South Africa has a diverse and fascinating number of habitats and climates that provide a robust setting for flora and fauna of all types.  Hear about the ‘other’ orchids Down Under and how to grow them in your collection. South Africa is the home of over 500 orchid species including the genera of Ansellia, Aerangis, Angraecum, Bulbophyllum, Disa, Eulophia, Mystacidum, just to name a few. Carol’s talk is one not to be missed.

Carol is a shared speaker with our sister society, SDCOS, and she will speak to them on January 3 on ‘Tolumnias’ for those of you who would like to attend her talk in Balboa Park or via zoom.

Carol Klonowski has been growing orchids since the 1980’s when a friend in Berkeley, California, gave her a cattleya orchid and it bloomed out with three big, dark lavender flowers and an intoxicating fragrance. She built an entire greenhouse in her backyard to accommodate the precious plant, which only led her to buy more orchids. Then another friend gave her a gift membership to the Orchid Society of California, and it’s been a serious hobby ever since.   Read more »

Wed, 01/04/2023 - 6:30pm - 9:30pm

2022 Holiday Dinner

Our 2022 Holiday Dinner will be held on December 7, 2022 starting at 6:30 pm in the George and Patricia Gowland Meeting Room located in the Carlsbad City Library. Dinner will be catered at the cost of $30 per person, which includes soft drinks and water. Every guest will be gifted an orchid.

Please mail the completed RSVP form by December 1 to Bill Wong with your check made payable to the Palomar Orchid Society. We cannot accept payment and/or walk-ins at the day of the event.

Wed, 12/07/2022 - 6:30pm - 9:30pm

November 2022 – Arnold Gum

Arnold GumArnold GumWe are delighted to welcome back Arnold Gum as speaker for our November meeting.  Arnie will present the talk ‘Orchid Sherlock’ which addresses genetic influences of different species.  Arnie will teach us how to spot what's in the background of your orchids.  He will talk about tag sleuthing (broken tags, faded tags, lost tags, etc.) including Cattleya species influences and Phalaenopsis species influences. Arnie is an excellent and engaging speaker who readily shares his wealth of knowledge with the orchid community.  It is a talk not to be missed.

Arnie recently retired in July of this year from his career as a patent attorney at Qualcomm so he can spend more time with his plants, exercise, getting healthy, ukulele, gym, etc.  At Qualcomm, he was responsible for putting GPS in our smartphones and has a few hundred patents worldwide to his name.   Read more »

Wed, 11/02/2022 - 6:30pm - 9:30pm

October 2022 – Peter Lin

Peter LinPeter LinWe are delighted to welcome back one of our favorite speakers Peter Lin. Peter will be presenting his newest talk on: ‘Orchids Alfresco! Best Orchids to Grow Outdoors’. This fast paced PowerPoint presentation will show you some of the best orchid species and hybrids to grow outdoors in Southern California. Peter will also discuss some of the challenges to growing outside and some great tips to overcome them. 

Peter started growing orchids over 30 years ago, but then stopped due to school and starting a career. It wasn't until about 10 years ago that the orchid "bug" came back and he is now heavily involved once again. He is an accredited judge with the American Orchid Society and a hybridizer of mini-catts. He enjoys meeting with other orchid enthusiasts, and can often be found at various orchid shows and societies around the country. He also has hundreds of photos of his orchids that he maintains on Flickr. You can view them on his flickr pages.

Due to limited growing space, Peter likes to specialize in miniature orchids, both species and hybrids, and has received numerous AOS awards. His other interests in orchids include Dendrobiums, Angraecoids, and Neofinetias. He maintains a collection of a thousand or more orchids at his home in Southern California in 3 small greenhouses, as well as in the house under fluorescent lights.

This month’s plant table will consist of some nice divisions from hobbyist Joe Rupp. Peter will be selling some of his orchids at the meeting.

Wed, 10/05/2022 - 6:30pm - 9:30pm