Scheliga was part of the orchidophily family of the state of Rio de Janeiro
since the time of the Sociedade Brasileira de Orquidófilos (Brazilian
Society of Orchidophilics).
He was one of the associate-founders of the our local society OrquidaRIO and has always been an active contributor of the magazine Orquidário, since the beginning of its publication in many ways, translating, writing his own texts, participating in the editorial committee or even giving tips and telling his secret of fertilization.
He really encouraged the interchange between Germany, Switzerland and Brazil.
His contribution has been fundamental in the diffusion of the Brazilian works in those countries as well as in the diffusion of works originally published in German written by some researchers such as Rudolf Jenny, Karlheinz Senghas, Irene Bock, between others.
|Besides to do the contacts, he did the translations of the texts. Recently (in 2001), a new Brazilian species of Galeandra chapadensis Campacci (also presented in this issue) had his original publication did in the magazine Die Orchidee due to the translation and contacts promoted by him.|
During 47 years, he was the Sale Manager of Bayer do Brasil and retired
He cultivated orchids for almost 60 years and his favorite was Cattleya maxima, however he had an eclectic collection.
Waldemar was a skilled grower and was the image of the most important quality for an orchid grower: the patience. He waited for almost 20 years to see his Calista densiflora (or Dendrobium densiflorum) wonderfully blooming with 46 inflorescences.
In 1993, Alexis Sauer paid homage to him giving his name to a hybrid: Laeliocattleya Waldemar Scheliga, a cross of Laelia lobata and Laeliocattleya Canhamiana.
In a very good mood, in interview to Orchid News # 14, he told how has been the foundation of OrquidaRIO.
Photo date of October l987, from his private collection
|Everything started with the board of the old Sociedade Brasileira de Orquidófilos which remained in the power for 8 years. According to Mr. Scheliga, many associates were upset thinking that everything was too much neglected, with little interest and that the meets did not teach anything to the companions. So a group of 37 associates, included him, decided that, in the next election, they would elect a new board and they composed a slate called "Renovation" in which Siegwald Odebrecht (Zico da Florália) took part. However with a subterfuge, the old board succeeded in being reelected. The meeting would take place at 20 h. and the board arrived soon, did the election and won by two votes.|
|Those two votes came from two companions who went back on their own word. So, Mr. Scheliga and his group did not succeed in doing a new board. They felt very sad and went to Bar Luiz (traditional restaurant in Rio de Janeiro city ) to drink some beers to forget the "grief". Right there, they founded the new society, right there, every thing was decided. So, in 1986, OrquidaRIO was born, inside Bar Luiz, with this group drinking beer and eating potatoes salad. The first meetings of the new society took place in Luiz Clemente Ferreira de Souza's ranch. Then, they have been transferred to Sorocaba street, Tico-Tico School (owned by Carlos Eduardo de Britto Pereira's mother) where the members sat in very very small seats for children. They stayed there for some years. Until there, Waldemar's presence and activities were constant.|
After that, the meetings have been transferred to 19 de Fevereiro street
and by this time, with health problems, unfortunately, his presence became
rarely. Finally, when OrchidaRIO got the new headquarters, at Visconde de
Inhaúma street, he just went for a few times and did not have the
opportunity of enjoying this so important conquest of the society he loved
He occupied many functions inside the society, vice-president, from 1989 to 1992, temporary responsible for Researches, Cultivation and Courses Department (l990), President of the Council from l992 to l994 and member of the Editorial Commission since l992 until 2000.
Besides, he put himself at the disposal of Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro, for a while, to take care of the orchids nursery promoting its recuperation and enlarging the collection.
Brief, he was an extremely polite affable good temper person and everything, he did, he did with strong vitality, showing resolution , seriousness and dedication. He involved himself in the study of orchids as if he had a long way to be go through and not as a person who was about to celebrate 90 years.
an almost young enthusiasm, he was interested in recent publications, adopting
the alterations of nomenclature, loved keeping in touch with people who,
like him, were fond of orchids, even with those who know less than him.
Even with the difficulties he faced due to advanced aged and rarely coming to the meeting at OrquidaRIO, he went on actively participating in the magazine, translating text from German publications and being a member of the Deliberative Council.
Waldemar Scheliga knew how to do friends and conquer admirers.
Notebook with his notes
Raimundo Mesquita statement:
Farewell to Waldemar Scheliga.
heard a friend of Waldemar, that he treated his plants as the same discipline
of Prussian sergeant, no bulb or leave out of place. The sympodial growth
should be done in the direction he wanted, it means, towards, looking
for the apposite border of the pot... Nothing of the anarchist freedom
that the plants, sometimes, give to themselves.
Carlos Antonio Akselrud de Gouveia statement:
arrived at OrquidaRIO, coming from SBO, it had already two years of foundation.
Thus, I met many orchid growers who fascinated a beginner like me. Talkative
and communicative, Hans Frank, Alex Sauer and Álvaro Peixoto got
our attention with their histories (and stories) and advice. Then I found
out a gentleman, with gentle talk and soft tone, not to much talkative
who withhold a fantastic cultivation. Scheliga had plants that nobody
had, he succeeded to make flower plants considered as very difficult.
Which was the secret?