Marilyn, what is the focus of your work?
It is varied and mostly curiosity-based research
with a conservation education focus. Once
I learn something new, I publish either in
scientific journals, popular articles or
other media. Most of my work is based upon
long term behaviour of terrestrial orchid
populations in Canada where I first began
in 1985 with the introduced European Helleborine
orchid, Epipactis helleborine.
But your work includes much more than this. You have
received awards and honours for your ongoing conservation
work in the Ottawa area. In 2006 you received an
award for the dissemination of botanical and horticultural
information about native North American orchids.
What could you tell us about it?
investigations have included pollination biology
of the Large Yellow Lady's Slipper (Cypripedium
parviflorum v. pubescens), the Showy Lady's
Slipper (Cypripedium reginae), and of the
Helleborine Orchid. The impact of visitors, photographers
and even investigators standing on the ground around
terrestrial orchids concerns us so this is one new
area that we are investigating further.
Where we can find the results of your work?
visitor impact study is featured in an article in
the February issue of Orchids, magazine of the American
Orchid Society, and was also published in Lankesteriana
in 2007. I have also published in Eurorchis, Folia
Geobotanica, and conference proceedings. I am a member
of Garden Writers of America and contribute to the
Orchid Review, Orchids Australia, the Native Orchid
Journal and other magazines.
Among all those activities you still find time to
grow and cross plants?
also grow tropical orchids and have registered 20
hybrids. I have found the two parallel interests
helpful in the interpretation of some experimental
results. As you can imagine, I keep myself busy!
How did you become interested in orchids and their
I began my interest in orchids while living in the
Caribbean (Barbados) when I attended my first orchid
show. This eventually led me to write several books
including Growing Orchids in the Caribbean and Container
Gardening in the Caribbean and Tropics, published
by Macmillan Education. My interest in conservation
is from childhood.
Thank you very much, Marilyn