of Los Osos Awards
the Haven article about Michael Glikbarg
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Tropical Treasure Becomes a Blooming Los Osos Business
by Richard Palmer
Central Coast Sun Bulletin
most exciting thing is this," said Michael Glikbarg,
holding up a spike of spectacular flowers, "When
you make your own hybrid and see it bloom for the
flower he's holding is his own hybrid, Dollgoldii
'Oso Grande'. The
lush blossoms look like they were cut from yellow
velvet etched with purple silk. Such orchids can take
years to develop. Glikbarg should know, he's been
growing orchids in Los Osos for 20 years, and Paph.
Dollgoldii 'Osos Grande' FCC/AOS is one of his most
outstanding efforts to date. The American Orchid Society
(AOS) rates orchids on a 100 point scale. No orchid
has ever received a perfect 100, but orchids that
score in the 90s belong to an elite group that are
bestowed a "First
Paphiopedilum Dollgoldii 'Oso Grande' FCC/AOS
is one such orchid.
bought Orchids of Los Osos when he graduated from
Cal Poly with a degree in ornamental horticulture.
Today, it's one of the largest orchid farms on the
Central Coast. It covers about nine acres, including
one acre "under glass," that is, covered
with greenhouses. Though many people associate orchids
with tropical islands and rain forests, Los Osos is
a great place to grow orchids.
climate is ideal, said Glikbarg: not too cold, not
too hot, and blessed with moisture-laden ocean breezes.
And while most people wouldn't associate orchids with
beer, they both share one critical influence: water.
To get good orchids and good beer, you need good water.
Los Osos water "is very pure," said Glikbarg.
"The wells we have are very good."
passion for orchids may be an inherited trait. He
speaks of his father with admiration as he describes
how the senior Glikbarg was traveling down the Amazon
by boat some 25 years ago, when he "looked into
the trees, and saw these plants." He didn't know
what they were," said the son, "he didn't
know anything about plants then." But the elder
Glikbarg was fascinated by what turned out to be wild
bromelaids, and even climbed into the trees to get
a closer look. He took a couple of plants from the
profusion growing there, and discovered a passion
that would take him all over the world in search of
unique orchids. Collecting orchids in the wild is
now strictly regulated in most countries, though collectors
have actually saved some species from extinction.
"One of the jobs of the orchid grower is to preserve
the species," said Glikbarg.
30,000 species, orchids make up the largest family
of flowering plants in the world," said Glikbarg.
Famed for their showy flowers, orchids are also popular
for their scent. "Fragrant orchids have been
treasured in Asia for centuries," said Glikbarg.
"There, fragrances can be valued more than the
flower." And not just floral scents, but coconut,
chocolate and vanilla. Hedy Avant, who's worked at
the orchid nursery about four years, can think of
just one drawback to orchids. "The only problem
is you get addicted to orchids and you keep buying
them," said Avant with a smile.
for growing your own
can grow orchids," says Michael "Glikbarg,
who owns Orchids of Los Osos. "The myth is they're
hard to grow."
offers these orchid growing pointers:
orchids for beginners are "lady Slipper,"
"moth orchid," and "dancing lady."
They do fine indoors, where they are less likely to
the orchid weekly, just like any other house plant,
and fertilize it every other week. About 90 percent
of the problems people encounter stem from not fertilizing
their orchid, said Glikbarg. Without fertilizer, the
plant won't bloom.
are pretty resistant to bugs, he said, though aphids
and mealy bugs are attracted by the flowers. Insects
can be controlled and in some cases enlisted as an
aid to the plant..
to spend about $15 to $25 for a blooming orchid. If
it's rare, or a new hybrid blooming for the first
time, the sky's the limit. Glikbarg said he's heard
of orchids selling for upwards of $20,000.