This topic has been created to pay homage to the small Brazilian growers, specially those coming from Rio de Janeiro. Besides, we intended to make a repertoire of the cultivation in Rio de Janeiro in a way that, all long the time, we could have an idea who was cultivating what, allowing, in this way, an interchange between the growers.
Since this issue, we decided to expand our criterions and we present growers from another states and countries, answering, as a result, the increasing request of our readers.

We started with Octave and Suzanne Defour, from Belgium, who started to cultivate orchids just 4 years ago and have already showed remarkable standard and care in their cultivation.

  Photo/Foto: Octave Defour   Octave and Suzanne Defour

Octave is a civil engineer who worked all round the world constructing airports having Suzanne as assistant. Nowadays, they are retired and spend their time traveling to know new orchids and their habitat (last year, they came to Brazil and Argentina) and taking care of their orchids.
They felt attracted by the orchids during a long trip they did to Thailand during the orchid show in Chiang-Mai. Growers just since 4 years ago, they have already been awarded with silver prize medal for their Dendrobium Venus (Dendrobium falconeri X Dendrobium nobile), in an orchid show, at the Val Saint Lambert, in Liege, Belgium where they live.
They are specially fond of Paphiopedilum, Phragmipedium and Cattleya (Hybrids and species), however they succeeding in cultivating plants with different conditions requirements in spite of the cool climate they have in their city due the adaptations they did in their greenhouse.

Orchid News (ON): How did you start cultivating orchids?

Suzanne and Octave Defour (S&O): We really started to cultivate later but in 1992, we went in a trip to Thailand and we were in Chiang-Mai, in the time of the biggest orchids exhibition. We bought 3 Cattleyas, they were our first orchids.
In 1998 or 1999, we joined the Club des Amateurs Wallons d´Orchidées - CAWO where we heard and learned a lot about orchids, and specially, from the club' secretary, Alex Olivier, who became a friend (same passion !!!).
He gave us ( and gives ) help and information. How many mistakes I did !!!

ON: So, this was a magic moment of attraction, wasn't?

S&O: Of course, visiting Chiang-Mai with this wonderful Orchids exhibition...

  ON: How many plants do you have?

S&O: In this moment, we have around 300 plants.
  Photo/Foto: Octave Defour
  Photo/Foto: Octave Defour Photo/Foto: Octave Defour Photo/Foto: Octave Defour
  ON: Which orchids do you have more?

S&O: Mainly Paphiopedilum, Phragmypedium (caudatum, besseae, longifolium, lindenii) and Cattleya (walkeriana, nobilior, loddigesii, labiata, intermedia, skinneri, harrisoniae, mendelii, amethystoglossa but also Aspasia, Miltonia, Bifrenaria, Angraecum, Brassavola, Laelia, Chysis, Coelogyne, Encyclia, Lycaste, Mormodes, Odontoglossum, Oncidium, Phalaenopsis, Phaius, Pescatorea, Pleione and so on...

ON: Between yours, which is the favorite plant?

Octave: The favorite of Suzanne (at this moment) is a hybrid of Paphiopedilum rothschildianum and mine, a Paphiopedilum armeniacum. But truly, it's always the last one the favorite.

Photo/Foto: Octave Defour
ON: Do you prefer hybrids or species?

S&O: Species and hybrids without preference (may be a little for species).

ON: How long do you spend taking care of your orchids, daily?

S&O:Taking care of orchids and try to cultivate them take time so we spend, with pleasure, more or less 3 hours a day and 3 or 4 days a week to repot and to water some of them and spray every day some other. We also spend time having meeting with some friends five days a week, doing computer organization and learning from Internet and books.
  ON: Besides this first attraction, was there another factor (person or an event) that influenced in your feelings regarding to the orchids?

S&O: We had four orchids and we should go for a long trip. We let our plants with one of the Belgian best specialist. When we came to get our plants back, he was dead and his wife didn't continue this collection. She gave back our plants and we bought some other. Besides, she gave us the address of a orchids club to learn about the orchids cultivation.
Photo/Foto: Octave Defour

  ON: Which are the climatic conditions found in your environments? Where do you live?

: We are living in the cold part of Belgium, Liege. During the winter, the temperature can drop less than 15°C ( -15°C) and during the summer, external temperature is +30°C. It rains at about 180 to 200 days per year and the sky is often cloudy.
Our green house measures 4 m x 5 m x 3 m and is in aluminum and with thermopane glass (double glass) in the south face. The southwest face is in front of a large valley. The internal temperature is
Photo/Foto: Octave Defour
Photo/Foto: Octave Defour
controlled by thermostat, the heat comes from a term pump air-fluid, 6KW, working till -15°C.
If the temperature is less than -15°C,
we added a electrical heater 5 KW.
An humidifier works all the day.
In winter, we get the sun from the sun
rises until 3PM.

Photo/Foto: Octave Defour

ON: Do you have a cultivation tip to share with us?

S&O: We should be happy to learn any tip from anybody. I have a "trick" to find out how to make easily taking care of each plant. I have a double face label in PVC, one face with the botanic species and name and in the back face: a symbol of the species, this list number and also with summer and winter temperature; Quality and quantity of light; kind of compost; dormancy period and blooming season.

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

Octave: The pleasant story for me, not for Suzanne I squat slowly, slowly, orchid by orchid, the whole verandah which was build completely for Suzanne and my computer !!!
In this moment it is completely full but I prepare for a new green house.

All photos by Octave Defour. ©Octave Defour 2003

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