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Meeting Location:

University Of Tennessee, Plant Science Department

Building: Plant Biotech Building

Room: 156/157.

Address: 2431 Joe Johnson Drive; Knoxville,  TN 37996.

The September 2023 Meeting - will be at the UT Vet School, Sequoyah Room (former meeting room prior to 2020). Access is through the College’s brand-new building/entrance there on the plaza. This is the Teaching and Learning Center, go up the stairs to the Sequoyah Room. Access to the elevator also on the first floor. Park in the UT Garden's parking lot.


2023 Officers:

President - Ken Lister

Vice President - Paul Johnson

Secretary - Cassie Hall

Treasurer  - Angela Snow

Assistant Treasurer - Mary Ann Lang

Membership - Bonnie Armstrong

Board Members - Alice Stipe, Bob Hydzik, Dawn Thomas

Next Meeting:

December 17, 2023 from 2PM - 4PM SMOS  Pot Luck

Smoky Mountain Orchid Society will be hosting a pot luck in the Plat BioTech Building from 2-4pm. We hope to see you there! 

Upcoming Meetings:

January 2024 - We'll see you there!

Previous Meetings:

January 15, 2023 at 2PM - Phragmipediums and Their Culture, Presentation by Graham Ramsey.

Graham Ramsey of Western North Carolina Orchid Society will speak on  “Phragmipediums and Their Culture”. Graham will share his knowledge of growing phrags, which is his passion. He also does his own propagation and breeding. To date, he has registered 8 new Phragmipedium hybrids and has received over 35 AOS awards, including 3 culture awards and one FCC. Graham is a member and past-president of our sister society, the Western North Carolina Orchid Society, as well as a member of the AOS Membership and marketing Committee and the Affiliated Societies Committee. 


March 19, 2023 at 2PM - Orchid Culture by Bill Thoms

March 19, 2023 at 2PM - Cold Growers by Geraldine Powell.

April 16, 2023 at 2PM - Odontoglossums: A Brief History and Culture by Russ Vernon.
Russ grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. Early on he had an interest in plants, helping in the yard and growing cacti purchased with his allowance. His parents and grandparents were all interested in various aspects of horticulture. When Russ was 12 years old, his uncle arrived with 6 orchids saying,”If you can grow those darned cacti, you ought to be able to grow these.” And a career was launched.
Russ is a graduate of Ohio State University majoring in horticulture/floriculture. He has worked for Orchid by Hausermann, A&P Orchids, Ball State University’s Wheeler Orchid Collection and Species Bank, and Jim Davis, the creator of Garfield the Cat.
In 2004, Russ and his wife Anita started New Vision Orchids. The company specializes in Phalaenopsis, Odontoglossums and their intergenerics, Miltoniopsis, Cattleyas, and Lycastes. The biggest area of focus is hybridizing, wholesale and retail sales. Russ also lectures to various orchid societies across the country and conducts workshops on orchid culture.
Russ is a judge of the American Orchid Society and is past President of the International Phalaenopsis Alliance, and Past President of the Mid-America Orchid Congress and serves on their Conservation Committee. He and Anita have two daughters.

May 21, 2023 at 2PM - The AOS Judging Process or Why Did That Orchid Get an Award? by Bob Hydzik
Bob Hydzik is an American Orchid Society Judge in the  Carolinas Judging Center and a member of several Orchid Societies in the region (including Smoky Mountain OS).  Bob has been growing orchids for just over 10 years with the hobby (addiction) starting after receiving a back-bulb division of a Cattleya from a friend. He has received both AOS Cultural and AOS Flower Quality awards including the highly coveted First Class Certificate (FCC/AOS) for his Catasetum Diana’s Dots ‘Yosemite Sam’. He currently grows indoors under LED lights and has a collection of around 175-200 orchids including seedlings from several crosses he made as an amateur hybridizer.  His favorite orchids are novelty Phalaenopsis and species Chysis but his collection includes a variety of other genera including Dendrobium, Cattleya, Catasetinae and Paphiopedilum.

June 18, 2023 at 2PM - "Species" by Russ Tom Harper - Stones River Orchids
Tom began growing orchids on a windowsill in 1967. By 1975, he had registered his first orchid hybrid and founded Stones River Orchids as a business. A long-time supporter of the Mid-America Orchid Congress, Tom served as its President, Vice-President and Mid-American Editor (the MAOC newsletter). Tom is also a founding member of the International Phalaenopsis Alliance (IPA), which began in 1989, and has served in many leadership positions including Vice President, President, and IPA Journal contributor on many occasions. Currently he serves on the Board of Directors as the Immediate Past President of the Alliance and is the Southeast Region 12 Representative. He has been an active member in the Orchid Society of Middle Tennessee since 1967, serving as President, Vice President, and Trustee. Tom assisted in writing and editing the Phalaenopsis species section of the soft cover Ortho book entitled Complete Guide to Orchids and was a reader/reviewer for the IPA publication Phalaenopsis: The Genus in Pictures. He has written many articles on Phalaenopsis for Orchids, the American Orchid Society journal, the Orchid Digest and the IPA Journal. Tom has traveled coast to coast and internationally speaking on various aspects of Phalaenopsis. He lectured at the 16th World Orchid Conference in Brazil and the 19th WOC in in Miami. Additionally, he lectured twice at the Taiwan International Orchid Show and Symposium in Hsin-ying, Taiwan, Republic of China. Most recently, he lectured at the 15th Annual International Phalaenopsis Alliance meeting in the United Kingdom. Tom is an avid orchid grower and hybridizer and has served as an accredited American Orchid Society Judge since 1984 based in the Atlanta Regional Judging Center. He has received many merit awards on his orchids and is highly regarded as an expert on the genus Phalaenopsis.

July 16, 2023 at 2PM - Auction at the UT meeting room.
More details to come. Contact Paul Johnson for more information

August  20, 2023 at 2PM - Orchid Pests and Pesticides by Peter Stegemann
Pete Stegemann was educated as an aerospace engineer and after working for a major airline for 11 years decided to strike out on his own, albeit in a totally different field. He started Coastal Marine Services, a heavy marine construction company, in 1983 and successfully operated that firm until his retirement in 2017.

Pete has been growing orchids for over 35 years, ever since his wife brought home a Phalaenopsis from a local big box store. After growing and reblooming that plant for a year or so the obsession was on.

Pete designed and built two greenhouses in Huntington, Long Island. His first was a glass house, used primarily to grow cold plant material, and subsequently a polycarbonate house, set to grow with intermediate temperatures. Pete has attempted to grow everything from Acineta to Zygopetalum, most times successfully, others not so much.

Prior to permanently relocating to Rutherfordton, North Carolina, Pete’s orchid collection averaged around 700 plants and Pete has come to specialize in Vanda’s, growing them exclusively as mounted or hanging specimens. In addition there were several hundred other tropicals ranging from Anthurium’s,  Hibiscus, Bougainvillea and Strelitzia to Key Lime and Passiflora and even Cactus in his collection.

Pete successfully transferred about 500 plants to North Carolina, about 400 of which were orchids. The remainder of his collection in New York was donated to the New York Botanical Garden, the Brooklyn Botanical Garden and the Long Island Orchid Society. Pete currently has about 200 hanging orchid  plants, primarily Vandaceous species, and an equal number of potted species orchids consisting of Angraecum, Cattleya, Dendrobium, Oncidium, Cymbidium, Encyclia, Phalaenopsis, Schomburgkia, Bulbophyllum, Phragmipedium and a bunch of other weird and unusual plants.

Pete was active in the Greater New York Orchid Society and the Long Island Orchid Society prior to relocating, as well as other local garden clubs. Pete served in multiple Board positions for both GNYOS an LIOS and was the President of LIOS for 14 years.

Pete is an avid wildlife photographer and has been fortunate to have visited all seven continents and taken award winning photos. Pete is an FAA licensed Private Pilot and a Coast Guard licensed Ocean Master Captain.

September 17, 2023 at 2PM - Keith Davis, Demystifying the Bifoliate Cattleyas

Keith Davis was born in California but moved to Mexico with his missionary parents when eight years old. In 1974 he attended North Carolina State University where he obtained degrees in forestry, horticulture and agricultural education. After school, he moved to Corpus Christi, Texas where he taught horticulture and purchased his first orchid at a yard sale. It was Lc. Molly Tyler FCC which he still has to this day. After moving to Reidsville in 1984, Keith worked for North Carolina State University as the grounds and greenhouse superintendent at Chinqua-Penn Plantation and taught high school. In 1997, he and his wife Dixie adopted their only child, April.

Keith then became a full-time stay-at-home dad but also continued part-time with Chinqua-Penn. In August of 2002, a disaster struck his orchid collection when the power went off at the  greenhouse he was leasing. The temperature soared to over 140 degrees and about 90% of his large collection of mainly cattleya alliance orchids was lost. Thanks to many friends and the generosity of orchid growers all over, he is well on his way back to having a respectable collection again.

Oct 15, 2023 at 2PM - TBA

SMOS Preparing for 2024 (future programs, 2024 show and, if time, general discussion on orchid growing. Contact Paul Johnson, our Vice President, for more information

Additional References:

The American Orchid Society provides a number of useful cultural reference sheets on their site for various genera:

Looking for general care for growing orchids indoors? See this link:

Have questions about watering? Try this link:


The St. Augustine Orchid Society also has a number of useful information on varying topics:

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