Some of the best information is free, posted on the web by knowledgeable growers and vendors. "Culture Sheets" are available from most vendors. These are my favorite information sites.
The first place to start is the American Orchid Society. This is the organization that sets the standards, trains the judges, and provides all of us with a multitude of information. The AOS monthly magazine called ORCHIDS is half informative articles, and half advertisements for plants, supplies, trips, photos, and anything else 'orchid'.
Click the OrchidWeb to AOS's informational site with departments such as Beginners' Corner, Orchids A-Z, and AOS Culture Sheets. The best assistance maybe the affiliated societies group, they can help you become a member of your local orchid society. Currently, there are more than 550 Affiliated Societies scattered around the globe. Connecting with local growers helps and nothing beats personal assistance.
The Denver Orchid Society, DOS meets monthly during the school year or the second Tuesday of the month. Members bring blooming plants from their collection for "show and tell." The DOS monthly newsletter is called "Orchid News from the Rockies."
AOS also sponsors the Rocky Mountain Regional Judging Center in Denver. This group meets monthly at the Denver Botanic Garden to judge plants for AOS Awards.
First Rays is a vendor who posts a great deal of information. His culture page starts with basic growing indoors or outdoors. Specific culture sheets are available for many species. Ray also offers beginners personal advise after they fill out a questionnaire.
If you really want to check out species, Ray suggests, Jay Pfahl's ultimate species website at www.orchidspecies.com."
The hybridization of orchids has a long history. There are plants which have been in cultivation over a hundred years. The parantage of a plant can be important to figuring out its culture requirements. Hybridizers who want to create "new colors or forms" also need to know. With such a large body of data researching the published hybrids and Awards Quarterly is difficult. The WildCatt database has plant histories, hybridization information and the latest awards.
You can also find the parantage of a plant at the Royal Horticultural Society's website. All hybrids are Registered here.
One other place to find assistance is the newsgroup known as RGO. The newsgroup, rec.gardens.orchids can be read at deja.com or subscribe through your newsreader. Most contributors are orchid growers, either amateuror professional, who are willing to chat with anyone around the world about Orchids. Regular posters come from Canada, Germany, Britain, and Italy as well as the California to Florida coverage in this country.