History – About Us

Hills District Orchids is open to the public four times a year, on our seasonal Open Days. Visiting at other times (for country, interstate and overseas visitors) is by appointment only, arranged in advance.

Hills District Orchids was originally registered as a partnership in 1978 between Graeme and Lynette Banks. The nursery was first located at Winston Hills, but moved to the current address on half an acre at Northmead in 1980. Later their son David, who started growing plants at the age of five, became part of the business and subsequently took over its ownership and operation in 1996.

Northmead is located in the Hills District of north-western Sydney, New South Wales, Australia and is roughly 30km from the coast. Temperatures at Northmead have fluctuated from lows of -3ºC in winter to 47 ºC on rare occasions in summer – a variance of 50ºC! We experience numerous frosts during winter, however these do not last long as the weather generally warms up quickly and is aided by breezes due to the location on top of a ridge that Windsor Road runs along through this section of the route.

A wide array of orchids and other interesting plants are grown, with emphasis on species and hybrids that grow “out of doors” in Western Sydney without the need for artificial heating or cooling. Our plants are tough!

The nursery specialises in species orchids – including the genera BulbophyllumCoelogyne, DendrobiumDendrochilumDockrillia, EpigeneiumEriaMaxillaria, PaphiopedilumPholidota, Sarcochilus and Stanhopea and plus a very comprehensive collection of varieties and cultivars of “softcane” Dendrobium hybrids. Graeme Banks, who has been growing orchids for over 50 years, continues his fine complex Paphiopedilum breeding, with selected plants released (in bloom) at our Winter Open Day.

Over the past two decades David has been involved with the absorbing hobby of growing and breeding horticulturally superior colour forms of Clivia miniata. Seedlings from his breeding are often available for sale. We also have an extensive collection of carnivorous plants (especially Nepenthes species and hybrids) as well as bromeliads (the genera Billbergia, Neoregelia and Tillandsia being favourites), and a comprehensive assortment of the South African succulent genus Haworthia. There is a further array of other rare, desirable and collectable plants.

In late 2023, look out for a major opus on Species Orchids of the World.

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