One of the best things you can do once you’re bitten by the orchid bug is to become a member of the American Orchid Society (AOS).
The mission of the AOS is to:
• Increase member satisfaction and participation
• Extend the knowledge, production, use and appreciation of orchids
• Collect and disseminate information
• Support education and research
• Support the preservation and perpetuation of orchid species
• Recognize outstanding achievement
• Organize and maintain an orchid judging system
• Provide visitors to the Visitor Center and Botanical Garden with a positive, enriching experience
Your membership in this national society includes a 12-month subscription to “Orchids” magazine which has to be one of the most beautiful and informative magazines I’ve ever seen. It comes out monthly and includes a number of articles each month for beginning growers, a question and answer column, reviews of new books, and of course advertisements from all the biggest and best growers in the country.
With your welcome package you will receive brochures from the Orchid Emporium, a very good “Your First Orchid” book, and much more to acquaint you with the society and its services.
The AOS also has an excellent web site American Orchid Society. I encourage you to visit even if you do not join the society. There are lists of affiliated societies, an “About Orchids” section with lots of good advice and wonderful culture pages for each major orchid genus, listing of shows around the country by month, a listing of orchid vendors, a marketplace to locate AOS members by state, an on-line store for orchid gifts, books and supplies and a discussion forum. Use the “Affiliated Societies” link to find a local society in your area of the country and many of them have e-mail addresses and web site addresses for those societies. I will expand on the value of local societies in one of my next articles. The information in the “About Orchids” section is clear, concise and there are culture sheets which can be downloaded and printed easily. The “Calendar and Events” area has a month by month listing of events and shows around the country. The “Bookshop and Emporium” is the on-line store for the society.
I recommend that you spend time looking at the information on this website, checking out the vendors’ websites to give you an idea of what types of orchids you are drawn to, and review pricing from various vendors. Most of the vendor websites will have cultural information on the major species; some will even accept questions via e-mail. Take advantage of the wealth of information out there—the AOS has pulled it all together in one place in order to provide a resource for orchid lovers.