Michael’s love of plants started at an early age when his father built him a greenhouse made from wooden poles and covered in plastic! It rapidly doubled in sized and was more of a jungle than well organised collection of orchids but in the greenhouse he grew orchids, and vegetables.
Growing up in Southern Africa, the greenhouse was filled with indigenous African epiphytic orchids, Cymbidiums, a few Cattleyas and a prized Coelogyne cristata which grew wildly in a hanging basket but all flowered profusely every year.
The orchid bug had bitten and soon after finishing his Military service and tertiary education he followed his dream and started work at McBeans Orchids, near Lewes in Sussex.
After working in Japan for several years and before returning to the UK to set up The Exotic Plant Company, from where he continued his consultancy work in Japan, Michael was breeding orchids and other plants from his nursery in Sussex.
In 2002 Michael returned to South Africa where he was owner of a wine and flower farm in Noorder Paarl, before moving his nursery to the beautiful Moreson Wine Estate in the famous Franschhoek Valley, just outside Cape Town, renown for its quality wine and famous following as the ‘Gourmet Capital’ of South Africa.
The very beautiful nursery, which was voted as ‘one of the best places to visit’ in Franschhoek by the tourist association, concentrated on breeding new orchid hybrids for the commercial markets around the world and offered indoor landscaping services to local hotels, restaurants private homes and supplying garden centres with orchids and tropical plants.
The company also sourced and supplied fresh cut flowers and pot-plants to one of South Africa’s multinational chain of supermarkets.
In 2015, Michael returned to the UK as a Consultant sourcing African plant material for international clients and continued breeding orchids in the Netherlands.
Today, Michael works as a Consultant on New Product Development and Technical Reseasch for a UK based horticultural company specialising in the supply of fresh cut flowers to UK supermarkets, but continues to breed and test other flowers such as Agapanthus, Knipofia, Peony, Chrysanthemums, Astrantia, Eryngium, Gentiana, Gerbera, Helianthus and various foliages at their various farms in South Africa, Kenya, UK and Europe.
Michael also consults on and breeds orchids; Cymbidiums, Zygopetalums, Ansellias, Disas and intergeneric Oncidiums for the commercial pot-plant trade.
He has been engaged by private individuals, nurseries, businesses and corporate clients advising them on greenhouses, however big or small, corporate landscaping with a particular interest in the production of juniper for gin projects.
As a Senior Judge in the American Orchid Society and a judge in the South African Orchid Council, Michael was previously on the RHS Orchid Committee and is a regular invited Judge at Tokyo Dome International Orchid Festival and Taiwan International Orchid Show (TIOS) each year.
Michael continues to lecture on all topics orchidaceous and has won some of the premier awards for his orchids, worldwide. See the awards page for more info.
His next big project is the launch of his online orchid book and website ultimateorchid.net due for release later this year. The website will be the first of a kind offering a premium learning experience, a contemporary look at orchids, modern methods of cultivation and an online video course and magazine and an online blog.
Growing fresh vegetables and preparing good food is Michael’s other passion and he has been known to have grown 17 different kinds of tomatoes amongst all the other fresh produce that he searches out wherever he visits. Watch out for recipes and yummy treats!
A full c.v. is available on the Contact page