February Speaker: Ron Parsons – Orchids of Southeastern Australia
Ron Parsons has been growing orchids for more than 40 years, and has been interested in species orchids for most of that time. Ron loves to photograph orchids and most other flowers whenever he can, whether it be on trips to see them in nature or in collections. He loves to travel to see orchids in the wild, and does so as often as possible. Ron has close to 60,000 digital images, most of which are of orchids, and still retains a slide library that exceeds 100,000 botanical images. He has at least 3000 published photos that have appeared in magazines, periodicals, journals and books. Ron has co-authored three botanical books, all with Mary E. Gerritsen. The first two, published by Timber Press, are Masdevallias, Gems of the Orchid World and Calochortus, Mariposa Lilies and their Relatives. Most recently, the third book, a large, luxurious, two-volume set, A Compendium of Miniature Orchid Species was published by Redfern Natural History Productions in January of 2014. The latter has nearly 1200 pages, 1800 photographs, and features more than 500 species.
For five weeks of the austral spring of 2011, from early October to mid-early November, I traveled through southeastern Australia. My trip started on the island state of Tasmania (the north and northwest part) where friends took me out to see and photograph orchids I would not have found on my own. From there I traveled to Victoria where I was take to Grampians National Park in the west, the Anglesea Peninsula west of Melbourne, and Wilson’s Promontory to the southeast of Melbourne, where again many exciting orchids were found. Next stop was Canberra for a few days, then to areas both north and south of Sydney in New South Wales where many fantastic ground, lithophytic and epiphytic orchids were seen. My incredible trip ended with several days spent on the beautiful isle of Bruny Island, southeast of the capitol of Hobart, an island off an island off an island!