Orchid Digest Logo

The Orchid Digest is a
non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.

Sixteenth Orchid Digest Speakers Day

Saturday, June 9, 2018
12:00 pm to 8:00 pm

Ahmanson Classroom, Botanical Building
Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens
San Marino, CA

'Orchids in the Wild'


Brandon Tam
“Wild Orchids of Ecuador”

Mary Gerritsen
“Orchids of Sulawesi”

Phyllis Prestia
“Wild Orchids of France”

Steve Hampson
“Wild Orchids in China”

Ernest Hetherington Distinguished Lecture:
Norman Fang
“New Color Forms of Phalaenopsis Species”

Vendors: Andy’s Orchids, Cal Orchid, Gold Country Orchids,
Norman’s Orchids, and Sunset Valley Orchids

Tickets: $75.00

Event includes afternoon seminar, live auction, wine and cheese happy hour, dinner, and distinguished lecture


Brandon Tam

Brandon Tam is the Orchid Collection Specialist and Orchid Show Director at The Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California. He started in 2007 as a volunteer at age fourteen, and became a full-time employee two years later, shortly before the Huntington acquired the magnificent Weltz collection of 6,000 orchids. Since then, Tam has graduated from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona with a Bachelor’s degree in Plant Science, and has increased the size of the Huntington's orchid collection to over 14,000 plants, making it one of the largest in the United States. His responsibilities include the conservation, management and husbandry of the Orchids at The Huntington, and since 2014, Tam has exhibited Huntington plants which have garnered five FCCs, three CCEs, and over 100 other AOS awards.


Mary Gerritsen

Mary Gerritsen has been interested in orchids for over 30 years since her post-doctoral days in the late 70's in San Diego. She has worked in the biotechnology industry for many years, developing drugs for autoimmune disease, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Now semi-retired, she works as an independent biotechnology consultant and in her spare time, travels as much as she can to see orchids in habitat. In the past ten years she has gone on orchid trips/treks to various parts of the US and Canada, as well as Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, Brazil, Borneo, Western Australia, Thailand and southern and western China. She has also traveling to various parts of Europe/Mediterranean to photograph the terrestrial orchids there. Mary enjoys writing about orchids, and is a co-author (with Ron Parsons) of two books (Masdevallias, Gems of the Orchid World, and A Compendium of Miniature Orchid Species). She has also written articles for orchid magazines including Orchids and Orchid Digest. She has a collection of mostly miniature, cool growing species. Mary is currently the president of the San Francisco Orchid Society and serves on the board of directors of the Orchid Conservation Alliance.


Phyllis S. Prestia

Don Gos

Phyllis S. Prestia is an orchid enthusiast, collector, and grower. Her latest passion is the native orchids of Europe. She has traveled extensively in France collecting photographs and sharing conservation efforts with local French orchid societies. Back home in California she grows these extraordinary orchids, which are presently getting ready to bloom.
She is also an avid supporter of the World Orchid Conferences. In conjunction with the WOC’s, she has trekked the rainforests of Madagascar and the islands of the Galapagos.
In her orchid life, she is a member of the Editorial Board of the Orchid Digest and serves as Trustee for the American Orchid Society. She has been the President of the San Diego County Cymbidium Society and is the current Vice President of the Cymbidium Society of America. Further, she is an Accredited Judge for the Cymbidium Society of America and an Associate Judge for the American Orchid Society.
In addition to her dissertation, her publications include "Best Practices in Culture of Catasetum, Clowesia, Cycnoches, Mormodes and Their Hybrids," published in the Orchid Digest Volume 80, no.4. And "The First World Slipper Orchid Conference," also published in the Orchid Digest Volume 79, No.2.

In a previous life, she served children as an educator and Middle School Principal. She received a Doctorate of Education at Rutgers University, where she also served as instructor in the graduate education program. Originally from New Jersey, she moved to California with her husband to retire in the sunny, San Diego area and grow orchids.


Steve Hampson

Steve was born in New York and educated at the University of Delaware and then received a Masters degree in Horticulture at Penn State. After a stint running an apple orchard and plant nursery in Pennsylvania he settled in Southern California. He is senior horticulturist at the famed Roger’s Gardens in Newport Beach where he is a well-known and popular lecturer. He has a reputation for being very knowledgeable on sweet peas, dahlias and daffodils as well as orchids. He is very fond of the pleurothallid alliance and grows a large collection of those species.\

Steve travels extensively looking at flowers in the wild. In his talk here, he will recount two recent trips to China, one to Yunnan and the other to Szechwan looking for orchids. His talk is entitled Wild Slipper Orchids in China.



Ernest Hetherington Distinguished Lecture

Norman Fang

Even before 1988, when he received his degree in Ornamental Horticulture from California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, Norman Fang was already immersed in orchids.  While still a student, he managed the Raymond Burr Orchid Collection on campus.  Two scholarships to study plant tissue culture also allowed him to study under Dr. Murashige at the University of California and Dr. Tanabe at the University of Hawaii. 

In 1986, he started his renowned nursery, Norman’s Orchids, based in both California and Taiwan.  His parents, brother and sister soon joined him in the company as it grew, and he wisely was the first to secure the domain name of www.orchids.com.  Exhibiting at shows across the US, he has received more than 400 AOS flower quality awards and 20 AOS Show Trophies.  In addition, he was honored in 2005 with the Distinguished Alumni Award from the School of Agriculture at Cal Poly in Pomona.
As the second youngest judge to become fully accredited, Norman has traveled around the world to judge orchid shows, from Asia to South Africa, from Canada to South America.  In 1996, with Paul Bechtel, he initiated AOS Judging at the Taiwan International Orchid Show and since then has served as the AOS Judging Coordinator for the show.  He has also long served as the AOS Representative for the Taiwan Orchid Growers Association.  As a result of these relationships, he has been instrumental in bridging the license agreement with TOGA and the Taiwan Paphiopedilum Society to include their award records in Orchids Plus. 

As a former Vice President of the American Orchid Society and having also chaired their Development Committee, he is currently serving on their Public Relations Committee.  In addition to these AOS volunteer activities, he’s a Founding Member and Regional Director of the International Phalaenopsis Alliance, currently celebrating its 25th year! 

As an active member of several affiliated societies, Norman is a sought-after guest speaker for society meetings, shows and conferences.  He generously supports Judging Centers, societies and the AOS with generous financial, scholarship and plant donations.

Recently, he became the Orchid Advisor for the famed KBCC at Pintung,Taiwan 辜嚴倬雲植物保種中心