Grahame and I have been seriously growing orchids for over a decade now and in that time we have received eighteen national awards, the 2012 OSNSW orchid hybrid & species of the year, countless show champions and in 2014 we were privileged to win the G. Hermon Slade Hybrid trophy for our Dendrobium. Touch of Gold ‘Laura’ HCC/AOC. We have devoted our time to growing top quality orchids and in 2012 we founded Elermore Orchids. In the past three years we have developed a trust with the Australian orchid community that will continue with Down Under Native Orchids.
Down Under Native Orchids has been a solid pillar in the national and international orchid communities for sometime now. Under the ownership of Neil Finch the orchid community saw some of the largest advancements in the development of Australian Native orchid species and hybrids to this date. These hybrids are still relevant to the show bench and more importantly breeding lines in 2015. More recently Phena and the late Brian Gerhard provided equal advancements in hybridisation and the line breeding of species. Under the guidance of Phena and Brian we saw some of the most monumental developments, I think most would agree that the national awards, Ira Butler Trophy titles and countless club prizes prove this statement and this is not only visible in the Down Under collection but in countless recognised collections of Australian Native Orchids both here in Australia and the USA, where Phena and Brian campaigned endlessly to put their work and the work of others on the map. When Brian’s health began to deteriorate the operations slowed before coming to a Holt. While many thought breeding at Down Under had also ceased, this was not the case. Brian continued to flower spectacular Native orchids and this led to new breeding lines, most of which were grown in our laboratory at Elermore Orchids. The business was placed on the market in 2011-2012 and as we headed into December of 2014 Phena and Brian entrusted us to continue the legacy of Down Under Native Orchids.
I feel it necessary to pen my thoughts on the previous work of Down Under Native Orchids as I myself revisit the history. Not to ‘big note’ but rather promote and remind the orchid community of the fantastic results that have been produced by those before us.
Over time Down Under Native Orchids has produced many Dendrobium hybrids that have made a mark on the show bench. Dendrobium. Brinawa Charm ‘Lucky’s Toy’ AM/ANOS was maybe the first of many benchmarks to be set by Down Under. Still to this day ‘Lucky’s Toy’ grows happily in the collection and its progeny has not disappointed. Dendrobium. Tie Dye was a success all round producing two outstanding show bench clones, ‘Genesis’ and ‘Royal Purple’ and while unfortunately ‘Genesis’ is no longer in existence ‘Royal Purple’ HCC/AOC and Ira Butler Gold Trophy 98’ was an existing fixture here and now joins the Down Under collection. Some more recent standouts have been the Dendrobium. Awesome lines. These include D. Bergen, D. Cundall, D. Eclipse, D. Trahair and D. Jackaroo. Dendrobium. Eclipse has cemented its reputation in Australian orchid history, no one can question this hybrids brilliance! Dendrobium. Jackaroo ‘Ride Em’ won champion phalanenthe at the 2013 ANOS Conference and I strongly believe this plant will provide excellent genes in future Australian Dendrobium hybrids. One other Down Under hybrid worthy of a mention is Dendrobium. Dunokayla, I’m yet to view a ‘bad’ cultivar out of any of the many parental variations of this particular Grex. Both Neil and Brian really did see the future when this hybrid was crossed, and already we have seen its potential with Dendrobium. Duno Marilyn.
Dendrobium section rhizobium hybrids made massive advancements in terms of colour, size and shape in the stables here. Brian focused a large amount of his time on developing these particular Dendrobiums to an award standard. Dendrobium. Oliver Jack is a prime example of Brian’s work with ‘Gerard’ receiving a HCC/AOC in 2005 and later in 2014 Mr. Neville Roper’s division receiving an AM/AOC. Dendrobium. Harmon ‘Mark’ is a perfect example of these efforts with its large flowers of salmon pink colour with bold brown striations on all segments and Dendrobium. Grey Ghost ‘Tumbi’ AM/ANOS and Ira Butler Gold Trophy 06’ does not disappoint either. I think that maybe the most influential hybrid to appear from Down Under in this particular area has been Dendrobium. Australian Ginger, a primary hybrid between Dendrobium. fuliginosum and Dendrobium. striolatum. Over the years this particular Grex has been remade with a vast array of Dendrobium. striolatum parents including D. striolatum ‘Ruffles’ FCC/AOC and D. striolatum ‘Tassie Gold’. More recently many hybrids have been developed with out standing quality including D. Tweetas, D. Sharday, D. Lauren and D. Australian Lemon Pepper. I believe with the ever-expanding knowledge of Dendrobium section rhizobium and its hybrids we will begin to see great improvements in the future.
Dendrobiums have been the main focus of breeding at Down Under and I strongly believe the effort that has been invested has truly paid off.
The line breeding of species here at Down Under Native Orchids is a passion that has been shared by Neil, Brian, Grahame and myself. It is truly inspiring to see the work done by others succeed. There are two main plants that I believe stand out. They are, Sarcochilus. hartmannii ‘Bee Ess’ HCC/AOC and Sarcochilus. fitzgeraldii ‘Magnificent’ Bill Murdoch Gold Trophy 06’. These two plants have proved ever successful in breeding over the years and also on the show bench. All the seedlings that have ‘Bee Ess’ as a parent have been amazing growers and I think the selfing seedlings (‘Baby BS’) have produced the best S. hartmannii flowers seen for a long time. Both previous owners spent a substantial amount of time developing Dendrobium. kingianum. The forms that Neil and Brian developed while at the wheel of Down Under can still be found in most collections today, these include ‘Speckles’ AD, ‘Fluro King’, ‘Chew Bacca’ and ‘Black Snake’. It is these results that motivate Grahame and I to continue to develop species in cultivation, to push boundaries and open new doors.
The plants produced by Neil and Brian now join our established collection of quality Australian Native Orchid species and Hybrids that we have both collected and bred ourselves, to create a somewhat new Down Under Native Orchids.
So here we begin a new chapter. While Grahame and myself are thrilled to be continuing with the work of both Neil and Brian this position comes with a certain expectation and a whole different level of pressure, however we feel confident that we can continue to present you with the quality product you have become accustomed to and with the support of Phena Gerhard we will continue to protect Brian’s legacy while creating our own. We hope you do join us for this exciting journey into the future of Down Under Native Orchids.