News # 34
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 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?
MC: 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
ON: The hybrids made by Everglades are famous all around
the world. How many AOS awards have you won? And other awards?
MC: 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
MC: Our hybridizing program has consisted mainly of “trial
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
ON: How many hybrid have registered and which ones you
consider as the best?
MC: 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
MC: 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?
MC: 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
ON: Thanks, Milton Carpenter
Cym. Carpenter's Golden Anniversary 'Green Pastures'
'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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