Humberto Antonio Epiphanio

physician, habitant of Rio Claro,
in the state of São Paulo,
orchidophile amateur,
if we can call an amateur
someone who has and takes
care personally of 40.000 pots
of orchids
is our guest.
Small professional profile:

- I am physician since 36 years ago but, for sure, gardener for affinity and passion for orchids.

- How did you start to cultivate orchids? Which was the magic moment of attraction?

- I started cultivating as a way to pay homage to my grandmother who was also passionate for flowers and owned, by this time, a flowers store and was a member of the Círculo Rio-clarense de Orquidófilos (local orchid association in Rio Claro), 47 years ago.
- How many plants do you have?
- The initial proposal was to occupy a room of 5 m² with 20 pots of orchids. Nowadays the semi-greenhouses occupy an area of more or less 1.500 m² and shelter 40.000 pots, between species and hybrids. Besides of the show-room, with 200 m² to put flowering plants which are all of them, exclusively under the care of me.
- Which orchids do you have more?
- I keep almost half of the installations for hybrids with special attention to Lc Sheila Lautenbach, Blc Toshie Aoki, Bc Vânia Muller and many others ) and the other half to the species (Cattleya labiata, warneri, trianae, luedemaniana, gaskelliana, guttata and so on.)
Potinara Esther Costa 'Orange Fantasy". Foto/Photo: Osmar Ribeiro
Foto/Photo: Osmar Ribeiro
C. trianae 'Rolf'. Foto/Photo: Osmar Ribeiro
Dendrobium tryrsiflorum 'Graeser". Foto/Photo: Osmar Ribeiro
- Between yours, what is the favorite plant?
- Between my favorite, I put Cattleya walkeriana 'Sabrina', Cattleya guttata 'Dark Princess Eduarda', Dendrobium tryrsiflorum , some Cattleya labiata var. coerulea and many hybrids with special distinction to Lc Sheila Lautenbach and Blc Galle Kramer 'Chips'. The last one has been awarded with a prize during the last orchid show in Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro, in June, this year, as the best plant of the event (we are very proud of it), besides C. trianae 'Rolf' and 'Vitória de Castro'
-How long do you spend taking care of orchids, daily?
Cattleya guttata 'Dark Princess Eduarda'. Foto/Photo: Osmar Ribeiro
Foto/Photo: Osmar Ribeiro
Cattleya walkeriana 'Sabrina'. Foto/Photo: Osmar Ribeiro
- If I am not at the consultation room, I spend all my time dealing with the plants, starting my routine during the weekends at 4:30 in the morning.
Cattleya walkeriana 'Special'. Foto/Photo: Osmar Ribeiro
- Houve alguma outra inspiração ou foi exclusivamente inspirado pela homenagem à sua avó?- Was there any inspiration or did someone inspire you to cultivate orchids?
- Another inspiration? No, there was not. Just a question of maturity, detecting that all of us, exposed to the pressures of the day by day, to the stresses of modern life, to the violence that rides over the world, should balance ourselves doing pleasing activities. Perhaps that is the origin of my conception, it is not enough TO HAVE orchids. It is very important to have a close contact with them, touch with hands and, if possible, cultivate them since the beginning, I mean, flasks or collective pots, following their grown until the first blooming. There is no word to describe this pleasure

- How long do you cultivate orchids?

- I started at about 12 years.

- Is there a short or amusing story connected to orchids that you want to tell us?

- As hilarious and odd fact, I remember that, in a occasion, due to a short travail, I asked my wife to water some pots with the rubber hose. The day after, I noticed that all labels of identification had disappearing. A divorce almost happened!!
A couple of a day later, I succeeded in finding them. They were taken by an owl for constructing its nest which was entirely conceived with my labels.
- Which are the climatic conditions found    in your environment?
- Our region is hot most time, with long periods of drought , that is why my nursery has some installations in order to partially avoid those adversities: such semi-greenhouses, with strong ventilation, others with less luminosity, small nursery for small plants, etc. besides a very useful watering system.
- One said that orchidophilia is the soft manifestation of madness, have you done any "orchidophilic"    insanity?

- Madness? Only the fact of cultivating such number of plants, is alone a manifestation of madness. Only overcame by the proposal of buying flasks, collective pots etc.
- Do you have a cultivation tip that you    can share with us?
C. percivaliana 'Farah Diba' - Foto: Osmar Ribeiro
- We advice when someone asks us about how to cultivate orchids, remembering that the most important for a successful cultivation is to have a good notion of the basic rules concerning ventilation, humidity, luminosity, fertilization and diseases and use them according to HIS OWN conditions, with discernment and, above all, using "his own feeling".
- Thank you, Humberto.
Foto/Photo: Osmar Ribeiro
Blc. Galle Kramer 'Chips'. Foto: Sergio Araujo
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