Meet our Team
Bird’s Botanicals has a fantastic staff of family, full and part-timers, and volunteers. Without any of these folks, we wouldn’t be able to do what we love. We are grateful for the dedication and hard work these folks bring every day and know none of this could be possible without them.
David Bird, Owner
I always say, “Start with one, 20 orchids and your hooked, 60 plants and your obsessed, 10, 000, there’s no turning back, but there’s always room for one more orchid!”
It all started at an early age, when David Bird began growing orchids. On a family trip to Hawaii, David came home with 5 Dendrobium orchids and he was hooked.
Maintaining the NDSU orchid collection, and repotting the orchids at the Denver Botanic Garden, David knew what he would do when he graduated with a BS degree in Horticulture.
The International Peace Garden, located on the US, Canadian border, hired David as the Horticulturist for 8 years. Raising 150, 000 annuals yearly and designing the floral displays was challenging and rewarding. The orchid collection grew to 700 plants.
On to Des Moines, Iowa where David worked for the Des Moines Botanical Center. Here a 17, 500 square foot geodesic dome, with exotic tropical’s and orchids was the focus of his efforts for 5 years. At the same time David met Dr. Bannister, who had about 20, 000 orchids and David helped him grow and sell his plants.
Managing a greenhouse in Wayne, Nebraska for 18 months was intriguing, but the orchids suffered.
When the opportunity to work at Powell Gardens near Kansas City came, David jumped at the chance. Seven years of overseeing the production of the display plants and designing, and constructing the exhibits in the Conservatory, made it a dream job. David implemented an orchid show; that is still on display each year. Finally, the orchids won out.
When the greenhouse at home was bulging, David rented space in the Interstate Underground Warehouse and immediately brought in 1000 orchids. It grew from there and now with 10, 000 plants and 5 rooms, all 3 girls helping, a great staff and awesome volunteers, the orchids won.
“In 2012, I followed in my father’s entrepreneur footsteps and purchased my own company, now entitled Vashti Rose, Concrete Creations. In my studio, just out of my home, I create a large variety of garden art pieces. I have the privilege to sell these pieces at the local markets and shows alongside the orchids!”
A part of the business since she was a young girl, Vashti has ‘grown up’ in the Orchid world! Spending time in the greenhouse with her father, David, as a little girl, is still how things are today! Only in a cave and much older, she spends her time doing a wide array of things for the business, among those include being David’s personal assistant.
She received her Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Advertising at Missouri State University in Springfield, MO in 2010. Since then, she has been working full-time handling all the marketing, advertising & promotion for the business. She has a strong passion for the orchids, but thoroughly enjoys the selling aspect! She travels to every show with David throughout the year and runs the Overland Park Farmers Market every Saturday throughout the summer. Like her father, she is extremely creative and excels in booth displays, arrangements, and the creation of promotion pieces, organization of events, & more!
Savanna Bird, Interior Design Assistant
“My favorite orchid, I would have to say, is the Grammetophylum because when I was younger I was always motivated by incentives, or ‘bonuses’. These were always a ‘bonus plant’ because of their size, flower count, and price. After putting my skills to the test, I almost always received the bonus!”
The middle sister of the ‘bird girls’ is also a huge addition to the ‘bird team’. Every year she would spend her summers and holiday breaks working for Birds Botanicals. She excelled in selling and displaying at the orchid shows and the local markets.
Although driven by a different passion, Interior Design, she has also been a part of the business her entire life. Just a recent graduate from Northwest Missouri State University with a degree in Merchandising: Apparel, Furnishings, and Textiles she is currently working as an Interior Design Assistant at Thomasville Furniture! She will now be able to pursue her dream in design and looks forward to what her future holds.
“One of my favorite/scariest memories working at the cave is when I thought my Welsh Corgi, Parlsey ate my toad, ‘FlowerTop’. I came running into the other room screaming and crying ‘Parsley ate Flowertop’!! I was only like 8 years old! I’m pretty positive Flowertop is still alive to this day!”
The ‘baby bird’ of the sisters, Cheyenne will be a junior at Blue Springs South High School next year! She is a clarinet section leader in the schools marching band and also plays in the symphonic band. She has a love for herpetology and would often keep her critters at the cave in terrariums for show and tell. You can often find her working at the City Market in the summer with David, as he always likes to have with him a ‘buddy’ or ‘sidekick’. Her favorite orchid show of the year is the Springfield Orchid Show, which she has been working at for several years. She has a desire to attend the School of the Ozarks to pursue herpetology after graduation.
Linda Bird, Holiday Party Planner
“I love all plants but prefer the edible ones! If I had to pick my favorite orchid though, my favorites are the Orange Phrags!””
Linda has been hosting the annual holiday party the past 10 years. Her and David met in college and have been married 30 years! She grows a huge vegetable and herb garden at their home. ‘Parsley’ is her Welsh Corgi’s name. Linda is currently employed at Children’s Mercy Hospital as a Nutrition Specialist/Diabetes Educator.
“Wal-mart doesn’t have anything on us! Our greeter is cuter, works harder, and works cheaper!” –David Bird
Kahlua has been coming to the cave almost every day since she was a puppy. Her mother is Vashti, but absolutely loves all of the staff and volunteers at the cave. She greets every person that enters the cave and will often provide a combination of kisses, leaps, barks, and roll over’s (for belly rubs) to gain your attention and love. Once she has completed her greeter task she heads back to her other duties of watering (playing in water), mixing of the bark (digging), and helping with the unloading and loading of items (riding on the cart). She is the most dependable of workers and hardly ever misses a day of work! She is such a sweet addition to the team and is the friendliness, cutest corgi around!
Elaine Coleman, Orchid Sales
Lady Elaine K Coleman was born in Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey, England.
The Family’s Scottish Highland Estate comes with right to Title. She descends from a heritage where her horticulturist mother, Kathleen entertained many avid UK listeners on her BBC gardening radio program in the mid-1950s.
In the mid 70s, her mother was honored with a visit from Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth the Queen mother who came to see her London garden. Lady Elaine has some interesting antidotes of the Queen mother’s visit.
Lady Elaine spent many hours with her mother gaining a true appreciation of gardening. This learning experience has translated into prompting her to pursue an avid horticultural career. During these years, she has visited countless gardens, some as far away as South Africa as well as hundreds in the US and Europe.
In May of 2012, she led a Garden tour to England. Staying in Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent. Accompanying 17 people from the Kansas City area.
An accomplished author, she is also a horticulture lecturer and teacher at Powell Gardens in Kingsville, Mo. She is a Master Gardener Emeritus, Cornell University. Extension N.Y. and Kansas City, Missouri. She was a buyer of perennials, bulbs and roses at Winkler’s Nursery N.Y. for seven years.
Lady Elaine has worked for Birds Botanicals since the beginning and helped design the flower shop in the cave nearly twelve years ago. She continues to maintain the gift shop, provide customer service, and help schedule and conduct tours and classes.
Beth Nettleton, Water Woman
“My favorite orchid is… all of them! I love to see them in bloom and as I water one will catch my eye, then the next week another will become my favorite! But the easiest for me to raise at home are the Phals!”
Beth has worked at the cave for 6 years and she waters ALL the orchids for David, every Monday. David and Beth are neighbors and their girls use to play together in elementary school. One day at the bus stop David asked her if she would be interested in watering for him at the cave! She said yes and has enjoyed it every since! She says “My little bit of summer year round”!
The rest of the week she keeps busy cleaning homes. She has several that she does now and also enjoys that. Beth has been married to John for 25 yrs this June and has 2 amazing kids. Elijah 19 and Bry 16!
Rick Day, Orchid Sales
“The competition is intense as City Market and O.P market compete in sales each week! The wager is always loser buys springs rolls, which are delicious treats you can find at the river market! Needless to say, I have had my fair share of spring rolls these past couple of years!”
With over 250 orchids under lights in his home, Rick is an avid orchid grower. He specializes in Masdevalias, Draculas, and Phragmepidiums. He is a member of the Orchid Society of Greater Kansas City and is responsible for the Orchid Auction at the meetings every month and the Annual Orchid Auction event held each year!
He is a fairly new member to the team as he works the City Market a portion of the year. A very educated, enthusiastic man that serves as a back-up to David is a highly credible position that Rick, and his wife Debbie, excel at! His full-time occupation is a Courier and he is also a Marshall at a Golf Course on Sundays.
Michael Porter, M.D.
“Working with orchids comes naturally to me; my patients never spoke to me either. I have worked at almost every aspect of the business from repairing the toilet to making arrangements, and mastered almost none of them, though I’m still trying. My favorite orchids are Vandas and Dendrobiums, neither of which can I grow.”
Born in New York and raised in Kansas City, Michael attended Washington University in St. Louis and University of Missouri-Columbia, Medical School. He did his Residency in Anesthesia at the University of Miami. After teaching Anesthesia at the University of Miami, he moved to Kansas City in 1974.
He then practiced at Menorah Medical Center until retirement in 2010. Mike joined the “Bird Team” volunteering occasionally in 2009 and then started working two days a week in 2010. He claims it is the perfect job, since it doesn’t interfere with his retirement!
At home, he has about 90 orchids living with him, all of which are doing quite well! He has been able to re-bloom almost all of them!
“I have had a passion for flowers all my life, but seriously started to be interested in and collect orchids about 6 years ago after a friend gave me my first Oncidium, ‘the dancing doll’ orchid as a gift! It was love at first sight!”
Judy lives in Independence, MO, which is she says is probably not the best place for growing orchids. In the summer most of her orchids, about 100 now, reside outdoors under an arbor filtered light. As temperature drops, usually early in October, her orchid collection migrates indoor to a small 10’X12’ hobby greenhouse. What fascinates her most about orchids is their diversity, the wide range in color and shapes of the flowers. Especially the challenge of meeting their optimum growing conditions in her small space.
Judy is a retired RN, specializing in psychiatric nursing. Her other hobbies are photography, and painting (watercolor & acrylics), and “yes” many of her subjects are orchids! When the opportunity to volunteer at “Birds Botanicals” came along last fall, she eagerly took it, because for her it is a labor of love and an opportunity to learn more about the love of her life!
“I really got my first interest in orchids about 30 years ago when my daughter was born and I got my first orchid, a Cattleya!”
The newest member of the ‘Bird Team’ just came to us about a month ago. After purchasing an orchid from us at the Flower Lawn and Garden Show in February and taking David’s Orchid 101 Class he decided volunteering might me a neat way to learn more about growing orchids. He retired from Armco Steel in 98’ and currently has 12 plants at home. His favorite is the Phargmedpium species and is fairly new to it all. Bruce is now our Wednesday volunteer!