The Arizona Orchidist Newsletter March 1998
THE GROWER ON CALL FOR MARCH IS: JIM JOHNSON
NEXT OSA BOARD MEETING: Feb. 22, 1998, at the
home of Ann Cherny, 6225 E. Keim Dr., Paradise
Valley, at 1 p.m.
RESCHEDULED MARCH BOARD MEETING: From March 29
TO March 22, at the home of Ann Cherny, 6225 E.
Keim Dr., Paradise Valley, at 1 p.m.
NEXT OSA MEETING MARCH 5, 7 P.M. Valley Garden
Center, 1809 N. 15th Ave., Phoenix
REFRESHMENTS FOR OUR MARCH MEETING WILL BE
PROVIDED BY: Bernice Ehrlich, Jaye Lynn Garrison,
and Norma Kafer.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY WISHES to our members celebrating
birthdays in March: to Sara Heberling, Alan Ladd,
and C.W. Moody on the 1st; to Wilella Stimmell on
the 4th; to Joe Civello on the 14th; to Shirley
Norman on the 21st; to Roger Scott on the 25th; to
Jack Callison on the 26th; to Julie Rathbun on the
28th; and to Jarka Kazda on the 31st.
In Remembrance: OSA extends our deepest sympathy
to the family of Robert S. Thompson, Past President
and Co-Founder of the Volusia County Orchid
Society, Lake Helen, Florida, and to the members of
"The Volusia Orchidist" reported in the January
issue that the memorial service, held on December
30, 1997, was "packed with family and friends".
The inspiration behind many of the corporate
donations received by OSA for our December, 1996
fund-raising auction, was "Bob T." His e-mail
messages were always filled with words of
encouragement, wisdom, and a liberal dash of humor.
During the evening, after the close of the first
day of our November, 1996 holiday orchid show, Bob
sent a congratulatory message regarding our
authentic recreation of a rain forest. When asked
how he came to know so quickly the details about
our show, he replied, "Easy. Good news travels
A tireless worker, Bob never asked more of
others, than he asked of himself. He set the
standard and served as VCOS President for eight
years. He was truly an Ambassador of Orchids, and
he will be missed.
FROM THE PRESIDENT'S DESK
Members and guests who attended our February 5
meeting were treated to a combination
slide/hands-on program presented by our speaker,
Dr. John Law. We appreciated the liberal infusion
of cultural tips in the slide portion of the
program, and we observed in the "lab" which
followed, clever, inexpensive techniques for
potting tall dendrobium keikis so that they would
not fall out of their small pots. All keikis and
potting supplies were furnished by John, and we
thank him for his generosity.
Plants and orchid-related items on our raffle
table were donated by: Ken and Marge Jantz, former
OSA members who have relocated to Casa Grande, the
Santa Barbara InternationalOrchid Show Committee,
and from members: Joe Freasier, Leith Plunkett, and
me. Thanks to all donors and ticket purchasers for
your continued support of our monthly raffle.
1998 OSA FIELD TRIP!
During OSA's Board Meeting on February 1, the
vote was UNANIMOUS: There will be a field trip to
the 4th ANNUAL SAN DIEGO ORCHID FAIR, on Saturday,
September 26, 1998. Stay tuned for more details and
note the date. We will try to schedule our flights
to allow for more time for trip participants to
also tour Quail Botanical Gardens, the host site
for the SDOF. And... we will include another
activity that is sure to delight our travelling
COMMUNITY SERVICE PROGRAM SCHEDULE UPDATE:
On March 10, OSA will present an "Orchid
Appreciation 101" program at MountainBrook Village,
Gold Canyon, at 9:30 a.m. Thanks to Mary Ann and
Carl Hom for handling the details in arranging for
the program. (Mary Ann also wrote the promotional
copy about our program for MountainBrook's
newsletter.) The program to be presented for Deer
Valley Senior Center on March 20 was noted in the
February issue of our newsletter.
We have available for ALL interested members, a
complete record of all programs presented from our
first on April 20, 1995 to the present schedule.
Copies of our Community Service Record are
available at monthly meetings and board meetings.
Also, if requested to do so, any board member would
be happy to mail a copy of our Community Service
ADDED TO OSA'S LIBRARY: Thanks to Mary Alice
Baumberger for sharing her copy of "Plants &
Gardens News", Volume 12, Number 4, Winter 1997,
published by the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. There are
two articles about orchids contained in the
booklet: In the first, an orchid "addict" reveals
that his passion for orchids began with the
purchase of his first orchid - at age 9! In the
second, the author discusses "hot" new trends in
phalaenopsis breeding, and appropriately titles her
article, "Yellow Fever".
ORCHID SEEDBANK PROJECT: OSP is a sort of
"clearinghouse" between growers who have orchid
seed and those who want seed. Donors send excess
seed to OSP in return for credit towards free seed
from OSP. Upon receipt at the seed bank, volunteers
inspect and assay the seed and store it under
supposedly optimal conditions for the particular
genus. The name of the species is posted on the
internet or a list of available seed is sent via US
mail to growers who request a list. There is no
charge to those who send seeds or redeem credits.
OSP also sends at no charge, seed to
conservation, research and educational groups.
The seed bank deals exclusively in seeds of
species, not artificial hybrids. For those who
would like to read the full text of an introductory
letter from OSP, copies will be available at our
March 5 meeting. You may also send an e-mail
message to OSP Director, Aaron Hicks at:
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit OSP's website at:
LAST CALL TO RECYCLE XMAS CARDS/ALL OCCASION
CARDS: For those of you who forgot to bring your
discards to our February meeting, bring them to the
March 5 meeting. Bernice Ehrlich will happily
accept them. She will send them to St. Judes Ranch
for Abused Children, where new cards will be
produced for sale in the St. Judes Ranch gift shop.
SPECIAL THANKS AND APPRECIATION TO CAROL CLAPP
FOR SERVING AS ACTING EDITOR OF "THE ARIZONA
ORCHIDIST" for our January, February, and March,
1998 issues. Carol and husband, Maury, operate a
Desktop Publishing business in their home near
Tucson. Their lives are filled with deadlines for
newsletters! We are fortunate to have had three
newsletters produced by a professional.
HOT OFF THE PRESS! The 1998 Schedule of
Orchid Show Dates for Oahu and Neighbor Islands, is
available. Our thanks to Wilbur Chang for sending
the schedule. Copies of the show dates and meeting
dates of the 21 orchid societies in Hawaii, will be
available at our monthly meetings. If you visit
Hawaii, try to include time to attend an orchid
show and/or meeting. Haoles are welcome!
OSA MARCH EVENTS: On Saturday, March 14,
we will participate in the (8th) Annual Spring
Garden Fair. The event is open to the public from 9
- 3 p.m., and is held at the Maricopa County
Cooperative Extension Office, 4341 E. Broadway,
Phoenix. We will discuss at our March 5 meeting,
the time blooming plants for our display should be
brought to the Fair and the time workers should
appear for duty. We need your help and cooperation!
On March 26 through March 29, we will
participate in the 8th Annual Desert Bloom,
sponsored by PHOENIX HOME & GARDEN MAGAZINE.
Set up for the display will be in the afternoon of
March 25. Since this event is open to the public
for FOUR days, we will need more workers than we
have needed for previous displays at Desert Bloom.
A schedule for the event will be circulated at our
March 5 meeting. Sign up for as many time slots as
your non-orchid life schedule will permit. We will
also need blooming plants for our display.
Arizona Federation of Garden Clubs Food and Fun,
March 28, 1998, 10 a.m., Mesa Country Club. Because
OSA will participate in Desert Bloom, the date of
AFGC's major fund-raiser simply means that OSA's
participation in AFGC's fund-raiser will be
passive. We will purchase cut orchid blooms so that
the Federation can sell or auction them to raise
funds and also donate for auction several
collectibles that will befit the "heritage accent"
theme of this event.
ASU's Lyric Opera Costume Department will
furnish vintage clothes for some AFGC workers to
wear at the event. It's not too late but don't
delay making reservations for the event! Telephone
Juanita Harelson, Chairman, at 491-0487. Tickets
for the event are $25.00 each.
Can't attend the AFGC fund-raiser but would like
to make a contribution to AFGC's scholarship funds?
AFGC would be happy to accept a tax deductible
donation in any amount. To make such a donation,
call Amy Emary, AFGC Treasurer, at 391-3582 and/or
send a check to 10495 E. Terra St., Scottsdale,
SAN PEDRO RIVER PRESERVE DEDICATION,
Saturday, April 4, 1998, 10:30 a.m. - 12 noon: The
Nature Conservancy is offering field trips
exploring the San Pedro River at 8, 8:30, and 9
a.m. prior to the dedication service; a
presentation by Dr. William Doelle of the
prehistory of the San Pedro River Valley; and a
program on Sonoran Desert Ecology. The fee for the
day is $20, which includes morning snack, field
trips, lunch and beverages. Registration deadline
is March 16, 1998. OSA has received just one
registration form, which includes a map of
directions to the Preserve Headquarters from
Phoenix and Tucson. Keith Mead, OSA's "official
copier", will be happy to provide additional forms
for interested participants IF you contact him
BEFORE our March 5 meeting. Keith's; e-mail:
The San Pedro River is one of the few undammed,
free flowing rivers in the Southwest. Canelo Hills
is within the San Pedro National Conservation Area.
August is the peak bloom time for the Canelo Hills
ladies' tresses (spiranthes orchids), but
participants would see likely spiranthes habitats
and a variety of birds and both large and small
FOR YOUR INFORMATION: In Volume 48, March/April,
1998, of NATURE CONSERVANCY magazine, pages 6 and
7, there is a report of work being done by Dr.
Thomas Eisner and his fellow chemical ecologists at
Cornell University with scrub mint (Dicerandra
frutescens). The rare plant, an endangered species,
is known only in central Florida and its habitat
appears to be limited to a few hundred acres. The
exciting potential: oil from the mint "appears to
be a natural insecticide"! Ants and cockroaches are
apparently repelled by the scent.
(NATURE CONSERVANCY magazine is in OSA's
GARDENER'S SEED CATALOG OFFERS CORMS OF NATIVE
Some growers have searched in vain for a source
for native terrestrial orchids. At least one
catalog company is now offering corms (bulbs) of
Calopogon tuberosus. These corms are advertised as
"artificially propagated under CITES #688006". The
challenge in successfully cultivating these orchids
would be to provide a bog-like growing environment.
C. tuberosus was formerly known as C. puchellus
and is commonly known as Grass Pink Orchid. In the
article, "Orchids at Granny Squirrel Gap, North
Carolina", by Chuck McCartney, AOS BULLETIN, Vol.
53, July, 1984, page 706, the flowers of C.
tuberosus are described as: "...pinkish flowers
with the lip uppermost. This lip is topped with a
beautiful tuft of brightly colored hairs, mostly
tipped with yellow. The genus name, Calopogon,
means 'beautiful beard' in Greek, and alludes to
this tuft of hairs. These hairs imitate pollen,
which bees use for food. Native insects mistake
this 'pseudopollen' for food and land on the lip.
However, the slender- clawed labellum bends under
the weight of the creature, throwing it down onto
the gracefully curving column beneath, where the
bug picks up or deposits the orchid's true pollen."
The catalog of the company that offers C.
tuberosus corms will be available at our March 5
meeting for those growers who fancy fragrant
orchids with "leaves of grass". A call to the
company revealed that the corms are shipped from
South Carolina. And for more habitat/cultural
information, see a variety of orchid encyclopedias,
such as THE MANUAL OF CULTIVATED ORCHID SPECIES, by
Helmut Bechtel et al.
ARE ORCHIDS SOLD AT
GARDEN SHOPS IN HOME IMPROVEMENT CENTERS TO BE
After our February speaker concluded the main
portion of his presentation, members in the
audience were encouraged to ask questions. One of
our newer growers asked a question that involved a
plant she had purchased at a local home improvement
center garden shop. Although the speaker's response
was well-intentioned, the grower who asked the
question as well as other growers in the audience,
may now believe that they should ALWAYS avoid
purchasing orchids anywhere other than commercial
orchid nurseries. Surely our speaker did not intend
to discourage budding orchid enthusiasts. Often
blooming orchids can be purchased locally at a
variety of garden shops, and if they can be
purchased cheaply, and if the plants appear to be
in good condition (with or without name tags), it
is far kinder to a new grower's bank account to
experiment with inexpensive plants than to purchase
expensive ones that may well end their days on a
In the January, 1998 issue of "Chula Orchids
Newsletter", pages 15 and 16, Harry Seward, an
orchid grower and employee of Home Depot in
Reading, Pa., took issue with a few negative
comments Harry Tolen (Chula Orchids) made in the
December, 1997 issue, page 2, of "Chula Orchids
Newsletter". (Harry T. has kindly given us
permission to use "anything" he has printed,
"anytime without asking". You're a Prince of a
"Some thoughts on the diatribe about Home Depot
in December's newsletter. I am your customer. I
have been growing orchids for 25 years, and have
been an orchid addict for 2 years. I am a
horticulturist for over 30 years. I have an
Associates' degree in horticulture from State
University of New York/Farmingdale, a B.S. from the
University of Georgia and a Masters degree from
Michigan State. Five years as a manager in a
fertilizer company, twenty years managing a
wholesale flower house, and have worked at several
nurseries and garden centers on the East Coast.
I have taken an early retirement at 50 and now
work 40 hours per week at...HOME DEPOT! Yes, run a
Home Depot Greenhouse! It is neat and clean and
well run. Any time I see a customer in the orchid
section, I talk to them and encourage them. I hold
free classes on orchids, bonsai, cactus/succulents
and tropicals. The orchid class is the most popular
and usually has about 25 people. My manager has
taken the two year course at Longwood Gardens. He
too is a horticulturist.
I know that we are the exceptions in the system.
But we do exist! And we are making a difference! I
learned long ago that you can't change the world;
you can only change yourself.
Now the important part. Many of my customers
really develop an interest. It is at this point my
customers become 'your customers'. At the end of
each orchid class, we discuss resources, the local
orchid society...local greenhouses, AND mail order
sources. I open up to most customers a whole new
world. YOUR WORLD! I show them catalogs and lists.
I explain this is where they have the most purchase
choices. I know they will still purchase from me;
maybe less plants and maybe more supplies.
So you see, in the end, Home Depot and the other
mass marketers can actually ADD to your business.
And about those people growing a million orchids,
ready to sell them for peanuts...GOOD! Because this
is the pool of people out of which come your next
orchid addicts. The ones who MUST have something
different and don't mind a second mortgage to get
it! Get the idea???"
Recently I happened upon an experienced orchid
grower who was working in a local garden shop at
one of the large home improvement centers in the
valley. Not only did the young man impress me with
his knowledge of orchid culture, but also he
expressed an interest in educating his orchid
customers! One of the orchids for sale in the shop
was Onc. Sweet Sugar 'Emperor'. I noted that the
medium in the pot was cinders, and I asked if the
orchids were purchased from Hawaii. The young man
confirmed my assumption. Each plant had a name tag
in the pot, and each plant appeared to have been
grown under optimum conditions. I bought one! The
garden shop orchidist thought that the price on
this plant was expensive, until I told him that
some commercial orchid nurseries have advertised
this plant for 50% more. I bought this oncidium
because I wanted it in bloom for a special occasion
There ARE exceptions to the
avoid-orchids-at-garden-shops "rule". There are
garden shops where healthy, tagged, inexpensive
orchids can be found. From my experience, it is
rare to find such a shop, but if a seasoned,
open-minded shopper/grower is persistent, he or she
might find satisfactory orchids in a local garden
shop and/or general plant nursery. If the shop is
manned (or womanned) by an experienced orchid
grower, a "mother lode" of sorts has been struck!
Garden shops are NOT a substitute for commercial
orchid nurseries, but they do serve a purpose. Our
next most dedicated OSA member might have purchased
his or her first orchid from a local garden shop!
Our thanks to Harry Tolen the commercial orchid
grower for having the courage to print the response
from Harry the garden shop employee. Harry T. had
said that he "really stepped in it this time", but
if the "Chula Orchids Newsletter" had not printed
negative remarks about garden shop orchids, H.
Seward, serious orchidist and loyal customer of
Chula, would not have been inspired to make his
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