Presentations to Orchid Societies
Here are some of the talks currently available to be shared with orchid societies. All talks come with a handout so that attendees can follow along and have something to take notes on or write questions down to share at the end of the talk. Please bring a pen or pencil.
  • Tips and Tricks for Better Growing
    This talk is not a normal how-to-grow talk, but a compilation of tips and tricks learned over the years to make any grower, both novice and expert, better enjoy the art of growing orchids. Keith shares tips on specific culture that makes the difference between regular ho-hum blooming to having blooms worthy of awards both by the AOS and on show tables. There are several tricks discussed and demonstrated from how to make upside-down cattleya blooms turn over for a perfect display to how to make a plastic pot hanger be able to support a 25 pound pot without slipping. Other tricks include how to easily find those lost souls in the midst of the masses that we all seem to accumulate, how to make more back bulbs sprout without cutting or using harmful hormone pastes... and much more. This is more of a demonstration talk with some slides to assist in the explanations. It runs about an hour or slightly longer, but no one has yet to ever get up to leave before it was over. It may be best to cut meeting announcements to a bare minimum so that the overall length of the meeting does not go over the normal allotted time. This is a very fun and interactive talk that no one will want to miss.

  • Demystifying the Bifoliates Cattleyas
    The bifoliate cattleya species are an odd sort and have a reputation for being difficult and finicky to grow and maintain. This fun talk goes into details on how to distinguish between some of the confusing species such as guttata vs. leopoldii and harrisoniana vs. loddigesii. The discussion goes into some of the idiosyncrasies of growing and maintaining the more difficult plants, similarities between some, and specifics on certain species that are unique in their cultural requirements. Some exceptional clones will be shown, so bring a bib if you drool. The talk mainly gears towards the species, but some hybrids are discussed. This talk will help the grower take some of the mystery out of this group of cattleyas so that you can enjoy the fabulous blooms that they can reward you with.

  • Exceptional Cattleyas for the Discriminating Collector
    This is a talk for those who want to have the best of the best. You don't necessarily have to own an oil well on your land (it does help), but Keith will show you how to collect very fine things over time that will refine your collection into something where every bloom will trip your trigger. The talk goes into how to choose what is truly exceptional vs. ordinary, what makes some plants so valuable, heirloom cattleyas and their unique place in a collection, what 2N, 3N and 4N can mean to you and your collection, how to educate yourself and not get ripped off, and the difference between mericlones, seedlings, siblings and original mother plants. Also there will be a discussion on how to check for virus and how this affects the value of your collection. If you are tired of being an ordinary orchid grower, come to this meeting.

  • How to Grow the Ghost Orchid
    This unique talk goes into details on how to grow, flower and maintain longevity for your ghost orchid, the Dendrophylax lindenii that is native to Florida. The talk somewhat parallels Keith's article A Ghostly Pursuit that was published in the July 2009 issue of AOS Orchid Magazine. Specific details delve into the most difficult aspect of the lifecycle which is the first year out of flask, the importance of selecting the mounting substrate, watering, fertilizer, pests, etc. If you enjoy taking on a challenge that is most rewarding, you will want to try this mysterious, unique beauty. The lecture will arm you so you will be ready to take on the challenge. Here are some culture tips on how to grow and flower this orchid.

  • Growing Award Winning Cattleyas
    Ever wonder how some growers seem to have all the "luck" with their cattleyas getting awards every time you turn around? Well, the fact is, it is not so much "luck" as it is skill in knowing how to grow those plants, how to prepare the plants and blooms ahead of time and initial selection of the plants to grow for possible awards. Awards can be had on the society show table, an orchid show where hundreds of people will view your plants, or even with the AOS judging system. Some more reclusive growers just enjoy the blooms for their own pleasure and satisfaction which is more satisfying if the blooms are at award quality. Then there is the great satisfaction of recording a pristine, award quality bloom in a photograph that you can lust after and share for years to come. This talk will cover all these basics and many other cardinal rules to growing award winning cattleyas.

  • Don't Be Intimidated - Part 1
    This is the first part of a series dealing with certain orchid species that many consider to be intimidating to grow because of past failure or what they have heard from other growers. These species have very specific needs and all we need to do to learn how to grow them is to learn how those needs are provided in Nature. In this talk, we discuss Mexipedium xerophyticum, C. dowiana and C. warscewiczii (gigas). Observant and educated growers can proudly grow and flower these beautiful and unique orchids that are so seldom seen on a show table. Handouts are provided with the details discussed in the talk.
If you are interested, email me for arrangements and details on honorarium and travel expenses.

Brief Biography

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.

How the Orchid Fascination Began

It was 1980 when a visit to a yard sale in Corpus Christi, Texas, bought about a significant change in the life and career of Keith Davis. There he found hundreds of strange looking plants on sale for $1 each. He chose a dozen of these to take back to the greenhouse at the high school where he taught horticulture. After transplanting each of these in rich nutrient soil, Keith watched all but one die over the next several weeks. Thus began the search to learn more about these strange plants and the one surviving orchid of the Cattleya group.

Several years later, after refining his collection of orchids, mostly of the Cattleya alliance, Keith ran across a picture of a strange looking orchid, which looked like a ghost or a frog. This began his fascination with this mysterious plant, now known as the Ghost Orchid. This unusual plant received this name because it has no leaves and when in bloom the flower appears to be floating in mid air. It is rarely seen outside its natural habitat, but Keith has experimented, and after several attempts found the right substrate on which to get the orchid to grow and the right conditions to get it to bloom. In 2007, after successfully getting this plant to bloom two successive years, Keith gave the plant the name of dendrophylax lindenii ‘Glade Spirit’. Soon after, this plant was taken to an AOS judging in Greensboro, North Carolina, where it received the FCC/AOS award.

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