The Orchid Whisperer

A Blossom’s Journey: From Portugal to California - The Story of Jerry Kessler and His Cymbidium Orchid

In the serene town of North Andover, Massachusetts, resides a couple whose passion for orchids has captivated millions. Jerry Kessler and his wife Susan Anderson are not just orchid enthusiasts; they are the proud caretakers of a unique Cymbidium orchid, Cymbidium Pauwelsii ‘Kessander’, CCE/AOS. This exceptional bloom has traveled a long way and has an equally extraordinary story to tell.

The Beginning: A Love Story with a Bulb Text Here

Over three decades ago, during a trip to Portugal, Jerry and Susan purchased a single bulb. With patience, dedication, and a lot of love, they nurtured this bulb into a stunning orchid that now stands as a testament to their devotion. This is no ordinary orchid—it’s a recipient of the Certificate of Cultural Excellence from the American Orchid Society, an honor that few achieve.

The Journey to California

The story of this orchid took an exciting turn when Jerry approached us at Cole Landscape. He needed help transporting his beloved ‘Kessander’ to The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens in California. With over 1.2 million annual visitors, The Huntington is a fitting home for such a remarkable plant.

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The Arrival: A New Home at The Huntington

Once in California, the orchid found its new caretaker, Brandon Tam, the Associate Curator of the Orchid Collections at The Huntington. With his expertise, Brandon oversees the care of over 10,000 orchids, including the special ‘Kessander’. The orchid’s bloom will be on display for just six more weeks, offering a fleeting glimpse of its beauty to thousands of visitors.

A Community of Enthusiasts

This story has garnered attention from over two million orchid enthusiasts worldwide. The dedication and love that Jerry and Susan have poured into this orchid resonate with people everywhere. It’s not just about the plant; it’s about the journey, the care, and the community that surrounds it. You can follow the global movement of Kessanders amazing journey here.

Exciting News from Cole Landscape

At Cole Landscape, we are thrilled to have followed Jerry and his incredible journey. Cole assisted Jerry in finding sources to transport his orchid to San Marino, CA, and after learning about his amazing story, it was an honor to share it along with information about the Huntington Botanical Gardens. Stay tuned for more exciting projects and stories that bring people and nature closer together.

Connect with Jerry Kessler

Jerry is not just an orchid grower; he’s a storyteller and a passionate horticulturist willing to share his knowledge and experiences. Whether you’re a client or a fellow orchid enthusiast, Jerry is happy to connect via phone or email. Feel free to Google him or visit his profile on The Huntington’s website.

Meet Jerry Kessler – The Orchid Whisperer


The tale of Jerry Kessler and his Cymbidium orchid is a beautiful reminder of the dedication and love that go into nurturing nature’s wonders. From a bulb in Portugal to a celebrated bloom in California, this orchid’s journey is truly inspiring. We at Cole Landscape are proud to share this story and look forward to many more botanical adventures.

Photo Credit: Linnea Stephen

Thank you, Jerry and Susan, for letting us be part of this incredible journey. We wish you many more years of blooming success!

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