Orchid News # 34

Milton O. Carpenter
A native of the Florida Everglades, Milton has been growing orchids for 46 years and is the owner of Everglades Orchids, Inc. in Belle Glade, Florida.
He is a past president and life member of the Orchid Society of the Palm Beaches. He is also President, Trustee, life member, and accredited judge for the American Orchid Society.
Milton is a world-renowned speaker, author, hybridizer, grower, photographer and explorer, having made numerous trips to different countries of the world to study and photograph orchids in their habitat. His quest in hybridizing has been to “take the road less traveled” and develop new hybrids within the Oncidiinae and Cymbidiinae, which will thrive in warm as well as cool climates.

ON: Milton Carpenter, you have been cultivation orchids for more than 45 years. It is a long way and you cultivate orchids, specially Cymbidium and Oncidium intergeneric hybrids in Florida where the summer can be sultry and reach 100º F (38º). What is your secret?
No secret just a lot of time and patience as there have been many failures along the way. Of the approximate 15,000 hybrid attempts we have made, only about 10% made pods and many of those did not contain viable seed. Because we were “blazing the trail” there were few others we could call on for advice with the notable exception of W.W.G. Moir of Hawaii as it relates to the Oncidiinae. It took many years to locate and obtain the warm growing species we used from all over the world.

ON: Although you have high temperatures in summer, the winter is cold? The nights are cool?
Our Winters are seldom cold with average day temperatures in the 70’s (F) and nights in the 60’s – however we occasionally get a cold night (perhaps once a year) down to near freezing for a few hours, then when the sun comes up it’s right back to the 60’s and 70’ in the daytime.

ON: The hybrids made by Everglades are famous all around the world. How many AOS awards have you won? And other awards?
I believe our plants have been recognized with something like175 AOS awards. Many other awards have been given by World Orchid Conferences, regional orchid conferences, as well as national & local shows and societies in other countries and the USA

ON: Do you have a kind of hybridizing program? How does it work?
Our hybridizing program has consisted mainly of “trial and error” with the focus on quality blooms which will perform well in warm or cool conditions.

ON: You have interesting delicate miniature of Cymbidium. Which species have you used to obtain them?
As a result of our quest for warmth tolerance in Cymbidiums we have used species such as ensifolium which is quite small in plant stature and it’s resulting progeny are considerably smaller than the “standard” Cymbidiums. We now have a tetraploid Cym. ensifolium and are just blooming the first progeny from it.

ON: Everglades is no longer retailing however you keep a nice selection of breeding plants. So do you go on to make new hybrids for our pleasure?
MC: We ceased selling plants retail almost two years ago but have retained most of our breeding plants and continue to make hybrids. Carter & Holmes of South Carolina purchased many of our Cymbidiums and we occasionally send them seed pods of our new crosses.

ON: How many hybrid have registered and which ones you consider as the best?
The orchid encyclopedia indicates something over 442 hybrids registered by Everglades. Perhaps if time permits, I will write an article or two on our ten favorite Oncidiinae and our ten favorite Cymbidiums of our origination.

ON: Cym. Belissimo (Fifi 'Harry' 4n x Cariga 'Sorento' 2n) has a wonderful color and a delicate form. Is it a cool or warm growing? It has some cool species such as Cymbidium lowianum and eberneum.
MC: Cym. Belissimo is not my cross but the species madidum in Fifi should give this a fair shot at blooming warm. Cariga is a cool grower with excellent yellow color genes.

ON: The Cym. Florida Cracker (Wild Colonial Boy x Golden Elf) show in Everglades site has wonderful color varieties. What are the species involved? Is it a warm or cool growing?
Cym. Florida Cracker is a complex hybrid made by my good friend Andy Easton. It has a number of cool growing species in it’s background but has 37.5% ensifolium and 5/5% parishii also which gives it the warmth tolerance.

ON: Do you think that all those Cymbidium and Oncidium intergeneric hybrids you created can be cultivated under a warm or even hot climate, with warm nights during the summer with a very "soft" winter?
A great many of my hybrids were a failure when it came to the ability to be grown warm – to hot under our conditions. Many times an entire cross would be disposed of for this reason Occasionally there would appear one or two plants only from an entire cross which exhibited the necessary temperature tolerance and those individuals were then selected for the next generation of hybrids.

ON: Thanks, Milton Carpenter

Cym. Cabrintji

Cym. Carpenter's Golden Anniversary 'Green Pastures' HCCAOS

Cym. Christian Heritage
'Andy's Gift' (4n) #2

Cym. Cutesie 'Everglades Bounty' HCC_AOS

Cym. Dan Carpenter 'Odie'

Cym. Glittering Gold 'Mother Lode'

Alcra. Ann DeBooth 'Contrast'

Alcra. Florida Boy 'Everglades'

Alcra. Hawaiian Delight

Alcra. Marsh Delight 'Everglades'

Alcra. Mervyn Grant 'Talisman Cove'

Alcra. Petropolis Memories 'Trixie'

Photos: Milton Carpenter

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