Carson E. Whitlow
Carson became interested in orchids in 1958 when he was a sophomore in college. The following years he worked on the weekends and summers repotting orchids for a firm in Springfield, Illinois. After graduating in 1960, Carson went to Santa Ana, California to work for the prestigious firm of B. O. Bracey and Company. A year later, he changed his direction and entered upon a career in government service with the Orange County (California) Health Department. Career-wise, he has been an administrator in public health since that time, changing in 1988 to highway safety from where he retired in 2005. Educationally, he has a Bachelors of Arts degree in education and mathematics (1960) from Blackburn College, Carlinville, Illinois, and a Master of Science of Public Health degree in biostatistics (1973) from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
After leaving the Bracey firm, Carson established his own collection, mostly of blue Cattleyas, with which he undertook hybridizing in association with Fred A. Stewart, Orchids, in San Gabriel, California. From 1964 thru 1969, he produced in excess of 60 blue cattleya hybrids, many of which are still in collections, arising from the original seedlings or as mericlones. Many are used as basic parents in today's blue Cattleya breeding.
In 1973, with his move to central Iowa, Carson took a distinct change in direction, working with the hardy terrestrial orchids, primarily the Cypripediums and Calopogons. His worked resulted in the first registered artificial hybrids of Cypripedium in 1987 and Calopogon in 1991. He continued to hybridize these genera and built a small business, Cyp. Haven, as retail outlet for his work. His business closed in 2009. However, he does continue to hybridize blue cattleyas and white paphs and provides the seed to other growers to offer.
In 1995, Carson's interest in the internet and an easier means of finding orchid related sites on the world wide web brought about the birth of "The Orchid Mall," which today has become the definitive index site for orchids on the internet. In addition, the "unClassified Ads" offers everyone an opportunity to share their plants and/or find things they are looking for.
Carson's hybrid work is recognized throughout the world. He has published over 30 articles in U.S. and European journals. He has been giving presentations on his breeding and propagation for over 30 years, throughout the United States, Canada, and in Scotland at the 14th World Orchid Congress in 1993. He is truly a world-class hybridizer, author and speaker.
Carson is available for presenting several programs to Orchid, Garden, and Rock Garden groups, usually only for travel expenses (see Presentations). Though he can often schedule on short notice, it is best to contact him well in advance of your expected program date. He is willing to stay with members of the groups to whom he is speaking to reduce costs. His wife and partner, Lorna, often accompanies him on his trips. Speaking costs are the usual travel costs.
A larger photograph of Carson for use in newsletters, etc., is found here (dimensions: 350 w x 488 h, 166KB). Please fell free to copy it to your computer.
Carson can be contacted at the address below, or by e-mail
Carson E. Whitlow
22957 - 280th Street
Adel, IA 50003-4491
Phone: (515) 993-4841
Fax: (call first)
Cell phone when on speaking engagements: (515) 681-3287