The Arizona Orchidist Newsletter 

published by

The Orchid Society Of Arizona, Inc.

Founding Editor Clarence S. Lindsten, 1966





The Arizona Orchidist Newsletter February 1998





NEXT OSA BOARD MEETING WILL BE HELD FEBRUARY 1, 1998, at the home of Ann Cherny, 6225 E. Keim Dr., Paradise Valley, at 1 p.m.


ALSO IN FEBRUARY: The board meeting previously scheduled for March 1, has been rescheduled for February 22. Please make a note of this change. The meeting on the 22nd will also be held at Ann Cherny's home, at 1 p.m.



HAPPY BIRTHDAY WISHES to our members celebrating birthdays in February: to Fred Evans on the 9th; to Wayne Baker on the 13th; to Cathy Nelson on the 17th; and to Frank Bopp and Jim Johnson on the 19th



REFRESHMENTS FOR OUR FEBRUARY 5 MEETING WILL BE PROVIDED BY: Joe Freasier and Wayne Baker, Sue House and Isabelle Kast, and Lu Robinson.


Note to those members who have not yet committed to bring refreshments for our monthly meetings: Janet Jurn, our very capable refreshments chairperson, will bring the 1998 sign-up list, to the February meeting. Because so many members and guests attend our monthly meetings, we need three people bringing refreshments to each meeting to ensure that we have sufficient liquid and munchies for everyone in attendance.



NEW OSA DIRECTOR FOR THE VALLEY GARDEN CENTER: NORMA KAFER has graciously consented to serve as OSA's representative on the Valley Garden Center's Board of Directors. Thanks, Norma! Each member garden club and plant society of the Valley Garden Center has a representative (director) who attends a monthly meeting at the VGC. Most recently, Lois Sauer has been OSA's Director. We thank Lois for serving as our representative. The Director's job is often a frustrating experience, so Norma needs to know that we appreciate her efforts on our behalf.


As of January 8, 1998, The Valley Garden Center has a new caretaker : Alfonso Garcia. We will give Alfonso as much help as possible to keep our meeting place looking tidy.



WE'RE INVITED! Harry Tolen (Chula Orchids) sent an e-mail regarding "another blast at George's" on February 11th, 12th, 13th, and 14th. For those who may not know, George Kenner (Kenner & Sons of La Mesa, Calif.) was the site host for the gathering between OSA and SDCOS members following our field trip to the San Diego Orchid Fair on September 27th. There will be sodas and cookies for refreshments and five or six vendors selling orchids and supplies. So if you're in the San Diego area anytime between the 11th and 14th, give George a call for directions to his house - (619) 660-0161 or e-mail him at:



CIRCUS OF ORCHIDS: The 53rd Annual Santa Barbara International Orchid Show (and sale) will be held March 20, 21, and 22 "under the big top" at the Earl Warren Showgrounds, Highway 101 and Las Positas Road, Santa Barbara, California. Commercial and hobby growers from the West, Pacific Rim countries and England will display their orchids against a "colorful backdrop of circus memorabilia". The SBIOS Committee has sent OSA two complimentary admission tickets and a color poster suitable for framing. These items will be placed on our February raffle table. Show flyers will also be available at our February meeting for any members interested in attending the show in Santa Barbara.



RECYCLE YOUR CHRISTMAS CARDS! St. Judes Ranch for Abused Children, 100 St. Judes St., Boulder City, Nevada, 89005, is in need of the fronts of all kinds of greeting cards, but will be happy to accept new cards. The fronts are used to make new cards to sell in the St. Judes Ranch gift shop. St. Judes Ranch is a 501 (c) (3) organization.


OSA Secretary, Bernice Ehrlich, brought the request from St. Judes - for the fronts of greeting cards - to our attention at the February 2, 1997 board meeting. On several occasions during the past year, members have brought cards to our meetings and presented them to Bernice, who forwarded them to St. Judes. Bring your donations to our February 5th meeting and give them to Bernice.


 NEW EDITOR OF "THE ARIZONA ORCHIDIST": Beginning with the April, 1998 issue, KEN GETTYS will serve as the new Editor of our monthly newsletter. This is a very important job for several reasons: Non-active members are able to keep current on OSA activities through reading our newsletter. Active members consult our newsletter for details regarding OSA participation in events, other orchid news, and articles. Also, complimentary copies of our newsletter are often the first introduction non-members have to OSA. Trite but true - first impressions are lasting impressions. "The Arizona Orchidist" is OSA's mirror image! Bear in mind that an editor cannot edit copy he does NOT receive. Formatting the newsletter is the job Ken agreed to do. All OSA members are encouraged to submit material and/or offer suggestions for articles they would like to read in "The Arizona Orchidist".




INQUIRING MINDS WANT TO KNOW: Suz Cramer wanted to know the name of the McLellan cattleya hybrid identified only as "# 336", which she purchased at our November show. If any other members and visitors bought a plant bearing the same number, the parents used in that particular cross were C. luteola 'Lorraine' x Lc. Elstead Gem 'Mem. Frank Gamble' HCC/AOS. (Lc. Elstead Gem is a hybrid of C. bicolor x L. xanthina.)


1998 OSA DISPLAY/EVENT SCHEDULE - At the December 14, 1997 joint board meeting of newly elected and retiring board members, OSA participation in the following events was unanimously approved:


MARCH 14 - Garden Club Fair, Maricopa County Cooperative Extension Office, 4341 E. Broadway Rd., Phoenix (This is the 8th year this event has been held, and OSA has participated every year.)


March 26 through 29 - 8th Annual Desert Bloom, Greyhawk Development, Scottsdale Rd. north of Bell, Scottsdale (the show will be open to the public for FOUR days, with set-up scheduled for March 25)*


April 11 - location to be announced (possibly the Valley Garden Center)


November 14 and 15 - Annual OSA Holiday Orchid Show and Sale, Valley Garden Center


*The Valley Garden Center Executive Committee and Board of Directors selected March 29 as the date for the VGC Spring Festival. Although the VGC Executive Committee and Board of Directors was informed in a letter read by OSA Director, Norma Kafer, at the VGC Board Meeting on January 8, that they had selected probably the busiest weekend to hold the Spring Festival, the VGC Board chose to retain the March 29 date. We regret that we are unable to participate in and support the VGC Spring Festival due to the fact that Desert Bloom will still be open on that day. Another conflicting event is scheduled for March 28 - the annual, MAJOR fund-raising event, FOOD AND FUN, of the Arizona Federation of Garden Clubs. As a member of AFGC, OSA is morally obligated to assist in the financial success of the AFGC fund-raiser. Read further details about "Food and Fun" in next month's newsletter.




Wilella Stimmell


Our February meeting is the first one this year - a delayed start of our orchid year because our January 1 meeting was cancelled. Now that the holidays are behind us, OSA members are ready for another active year filled with community service programs, donations, displays, our annual November holiday show, possibly another field trip, and non-stop orchid fun!


As you know from reading Suz Cramer's "In the Spotlight" regarding our February meeting, the subject will be dendrobium culture. When one of our members was informed of the speaker's topic, she said, "well it's about time!" (She has apparently been patiently waiting for TWELVE YEARS for a speaker to address the subject of dendrobiums!) John Law is no stranger to OSA. He spoke to us in September of 1989 on "growing orchids from seed", in May of 1991 on "African orchids", and in November of 1995 on "miniature orchids". Those who have heard John's programs know that he is informative and tries to include some hands-on participation from the members of his audience.


Joe Freasier will have divisions of cattleya hybrids for sale at our February meeting. All divisions will be priced at $5.00. Joe purchased the entire orchid collection of a former member and divided the plants about a month ago. This represents an opportunity for OSA to earn extra dollars because 20% of the sale of the plants is a donation to OSA. (Anytime anything is sold during a meeting by a member, 20% of the sale price is a donation to OSA.) Please note that since these divisions were made recently, they are NOT being sold as "established". Some, however, may have already developed new roots.



FREE WOOD VIOLETS! (Bring your own shovel.)The violets that seeded themselves in my yard and have resisted all attempts to eradicate them (including being doused with full strength bleach), are in bloom. These plants have never been fertilized, watered supplementally during the hottest summer months, or encouraged in any way to thrive. Large holes which resulted from clumps which have been dug out in the past (and transplanted to other areas in the valley), have filled in with...MORE VIOLETS! A note to pet owners: these plants may be trampled on, "dumped" on, and "sprinkled" on by Fido, and their response is to grow faster and larger. They're the next best thing to plastic! They will grow in ANY location in a yard, and they multiply quickly. If you want me to save a few clumps for you. Otherwise, next time my yard- barber appears, he has instructions to mow down everything in sight!


 COMMUNITY SERVICE REPORT: Our first program for 1998 was presented on January 14 for the Saguaro Garden Club, at the Pyle Center, 655 E. Southern, Tempe, at 10 a.m. We were pleased to discover that a few of the ladies in attendance had some orchid-growing experience. The members of the audience admired the blooming display plants provided by Bernice Ehrlich, Phillip Liu, and myself, and asked many questions about orchid culture. The lady who won the doorprize phal plant, water-jug greenhouse, copy of Bob Gordon's BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO GROWING PHALAENOPSIS ORCHIDS, and the small container of fertilizer, was thrilled to own an orchid! We also gave her several phone numbers to call for consultations, and we told her we would periodically check with her regarding the health of the plant.


Our NEXT community service program is scheduled for March 20, 10:30 a.m., and will be presented for the Deer Valley Senior Center, 2001 W. Wahalla, Phoenix. We have not presented a program at this location, but the name of the Activities Director may be familiar - Charlotte Hillhouse. She was formerly the Activities Director at the Desert West Senior Center, 6501 W. Virginia, Phoenix. We presented a program at Desert West on June 20, 1995.


We need members to donate small phals for doorprizes for our community service programs.If any member has a doorprize phal to donate for use in the Deer Valley program, bring the plant to either the February or March monthly meeting. Members who have day jobs and are unable to actively participate in our program presentations, may nevertheless feel they have made a significant contribution to the continuing success of our community service agenda by donating one or more plants for doorprizes.


Our Community Service Schedule sometimes changes quickly! Since we limit the number of such programs to two per month, the sooner a request for a program is made, the better. We welcome requests for future programs, and any member may feel free to suggest to an Activities Director or school teacher that he or she contact us. Also be aware that we are not limited to presenting programs in the Phoenix metro area. Have orchids, will travel!



NEW ONLINE ORCHID DISCUSSION GROUP: Thanks to Harry Tolen for sending along the information regarding Orchid Discussion Online (ODO). This is a discussion list in digest form conducted via e-mail in REAL TIME. To subscribe to ODO, send a blank e-mail with the subject "subscribe" to: The orchid chat group is active almost every night, usually between 8 pm and 11 pm EST.


In addition to the chat group information, on Venger's web site (URL: you will also find many orchid photos, culture files (from Angraecum calceolus to Zygopetalum mackayii), Sander's search (for the parentage of two hybrids of your choice - FREE), and information on a twice monthly orchid auction. This is a very comprehensive, user-friendly web site. Check it out! No computer? No internet access? No problem! Don't be shy! We happily share all information - from the internet or from any other source.


With Rod Venger's permission, we have placed a hard copy of the following subjects from his web site, in OSA's library: "A Basic Guide to Home Orchid Culture" and "Working With Compots". The copies are contained in a notebook which may be checked out by OSA members.


Also with Rod's permission, we are including here the results of his experimentation with water culture. OSA members may recall that Deacon Bell experimented with water culture of phalaenopsis, and he wrote two articles for "The Arizona Orchidist". The first article appeared in the December, 1996 issue of our newsletter, and the second (final report) appeared in the August, 1997 issue. (If any of our newer members have not read these two articles, please let us know. We will be happy to supply copies of Deacon's articles. Growers receiving complimentary copies of the February, 1998 issue of our newsletter are also welcome to request copies of Deacon's articles on water culture.) In exchange for Rod's permission to reprint the results of his water culture experiments, we will send him copies of Deacon's articles. Rod expressed an interest in comparing Deacon's results with his.





Rod Venger

Venger's Orchids

1220 Pando Ave.

Colorado Springs, CO. 80906

(719) 576-7686


"Water culture is something we've been experimenting with since Nov. '95. The idea is simple. Culturing orchids in no media except for water. The water is present all the time. For those wanting to experiment with this method of orchid culture, we're presenting a few guidelines to help you.




The container we prefer most is glass though we've even used Rubbermaid containers with as good a success as with glass. The container needs to be deep enough to accommodate a large root system and the rim of the container should support the bottom leaves of the plant if possible. For pseudobulbous plants, a stake can be tied to the plant which will support it in the container.


Starting Out


Once you've selected which plants you want to grow and the containers you want to grow them in, consider these basics:


(1) Always use tepid water when initially filling or replacing the water in your containers. 'Tepid' has no discernable temperature. It will feel neither warm nor cold.


(2) Fertilizer strength and type should be the same as for potted plants. We keep fertilizer in the water at all times.


(3) Water changes should be done weekly with daily additions if needed. Do not allow the water level to drop below the top of the roots for any length of time. So long as the water level is correct, there is virtually no risk of bacterial or fungal infections. Do not remove the algae growth from either the roots or the inside of the container. It's our feeling that it assists with gas exchange within what is basically a stagnant body of water. At the end of each week just dump the water and replace.


(4) Temperature and light is exactly the same for water cultured plants as it would be if the plants were potted. In other words, follow the same cultural guidelines for the hybrid or species you're growing. Bear in mind that the water will quickly reach room temperature. A cold room will stunt the growth of the plant. A hot room will also stunt the growth of the plant. 65-85 degrees should be the outside ranges of the room with the max in the 80-85 degree range for intermediate growing orchids.


(5) 'Repotting' is basically not needed until the root system has so overwhelmed the container that getting the plant out of the container would cause damage doing so. The roots in these containers will not rot and only rarely die so expect to see more roots than you're used to seeing.


(6) Miscellaneous thoughts: We have yet to have a plant die in our experiments. Some plants do seem easier than others though. Phrags especially seem fond of the method, while phals, though growing nicely, seem somewhat slower than pot culture. Cattleyas, catasetums, dendrobiums, mormodes, oncidiums, paphs, zygos ALL do well. Bear in mind that plants just won't be suitable for this method if they need a rest period. Give it a try, have fun, and be sure and let us know how things work out! If you have any specific questions, feel free to e-mail me." <>


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