Martin R. Motes Ph.D., author of The Natural Genus Vanda and a Research Associate at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, has maintained a lifelong interest in the genus Vanda. He began as a boy in the late 50’s collecting the new hybrids which were coming out of Hawaii and Singapore and growing them in a shade house in Miami. While still in high school, he started to import Vanda species from India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand in substantial quantities in order to select the best flowered forms for hybridization and for propagation. His
career in horticulture, like the careers of most American males of his generation, was disrupted by the war in Vietnam. Following a Ph.D., several years teaching college in Ohio, and a Fulbright lectureship in Kosovo, he was able to return to his beloved Florida and begin breeding with the remnants of his Vanda collection.
By the mid-70’s, thanks to the pioneering work of Rapee Sagarik, the center of Vanda breeding had shifted to Thailand and was producing large-flowered Vanda hybrids in a wide range of colors. Motes realized that only a limited number of species had contributed to these hybrids and he began to incorporate other species into his breeding program. A decade on the initial results of this were published in the American Orchid Society Bulletin. His insights into both the hybrids and the species evolved into the book Vandas, their History, Botany and Culture (1997). By the time of the 18th World Orchid Conference in Dijon (2005), the unique hybrids he had produced were striking enough to garner all of the medals given in the initial international judging and one, V. Mary Motes, was voted Best in Show and given a Gold Medal.
Dr. Motes continued his research into the taxonomy of the genus Vanda describing new species and clarifying the relationships of previously described plants. This collaborative work lead the publishing of The Natural Genus Vanda (2021), the first monograph of the genus. He continues both to breed improved Vanda species and hybrids, as well as, his research of the genus.
For hobbyist outside of Florida, one of the challenges of growing Vandas is their large size. His presentation will focus on his current efforts to breed miniature and compact Vanda hybrids.
We are attempting to arranging for a shipment of plants from the Motes nursery and will have them available at ~$15 per plant (you can’t get a no-name Phal at the grocery store for that price!). Bring your wallet or your checkbook (or both)!