Apolônia Grade, 43 years old, was born in Cascavel, state of Parana but lives in Alta Floresta, in the extreme north of the state of Mato Grosso (800km far from Cuiabá), since its foundation in 1977.
Her family is pioneer in the colonization of the north of this state.
Biologist and Environmental teacher, she is an active member in the conservation of fauna and flora of her region specially through a pacific man insertion in the environment and preserving the human condition and by respecting the space and the nature.
She has been cultivating orchids since 15 years.
Learn with her how to be a Catasetum successful grower.

I started to cultivate orchids 15 years ago. My daughter was a baby and the nurse gave me a plant. It was a Cattleya forbesii, when it bloomed, I called a friend of mine to see it. It has been exactly taken from her! rsrs.
I became fascinated with catasetuns. My firsts plants were already turning to be a "embryo" of a collection when we clean up a waste land in the backyard of our home. A gang of starving large brown rats devoured all my catasetineas in a few days!!!
We gave great chase: between the pots, under the staging, holes and cavities on the outside wall, 54 big rats!!!

Cattleya forbesii

Amazon Forest
Little by little, I received plants as gift... I used to fish a lot with my husband through the rivers of the region and always come back with some plants. My back yard became small. There was no place to kids playing nor orchids growing. We moved to this ranch and here we have an area with 24.000m2 with a third of virgin forest - true Amazon forest. And the back, a lake. Wonderful space.
The first orchid nursery built here, 10 x 5m, "was enough" for some years, but as it is next to the wood, it is too shady. It became a Bromeliaceae nursery.
Far from any orchid circle, the closest commercial nursery is located in Campo Grande, it means almost 2.000 km far from here, many times I acted an "orchid killer" instead of being a collector.
Just for lacking of experience.
Trying to improve my self, I decided to go to the university school.
With two small kids, working out I decided to study at night. BIOLOGY at the local University. Many times I attend the classes with youngest child sleeping in the baby carriage next to me, and the first born drawing seat on the mattress.
By the end of the course, we were four biologists at home: my husband who did the works, researches, went with me to the field classes and the kids who attend the course with me.
But I graduated in MONOLOGY, it means, biologist of just a subject: orchids.
The cares and respect to the nature, we always have, soon we started to be rewarded by the fauna of the region: cutias (Dasyprocta aguti) eat and playing in the back yard, alligators taking sun-bath at the edge, capivaras (water cavy, capybara)
graze and devour orchids, monkeys rob the fruits from our breakfast...
Capivara - admiring the flowers or posing?

Nest of Bem-te-vi (Myiozetetes similis) in the pen-work baskets of  Catasetum - be careful with the control of the cultural ailments, do not use toxic products.
O Galo-de-Campina (Paroaria dominicana) is always around.

The dazzle with catasetuns increased and a new nursery got the appropriated name of "Catasetum nursery" .
Those plants are very abundant in the region, they grow vigorous in the palms on the pastures. They finish for becoming cows ration.
And our orchidists called them "parasites" or even "carnivores", due to the fact that the male flowers discharge their pollinia when they are touched.

Ctsm juruenense

Ctsm fimbriatum

Ctsm appendiculatum

Ctsm albovirens

Catasetum schmidtianum

Ctsm galeritum

(appendiculatum x João Stivalli)

Ctsm osculatum

Ctsm confusum

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