The Arizona Orchidist Newsletter 

published by

The Orchid Society Of Arizona, Inc.

Founding Editor Clarence S. Lindsten, 1966 



April Program
Orchids in Bloom, Getting the perfect photograph of them!
Doug Baldwin will be demonstrating how to get those beautiful pictures of  your orchid blooms.  Doug is a professional photographer and will show us some tips for getting good pictures.  Bring blooming plants and your camera so you can get in some practice. 

From the President’s Desk
Lou Ann Remeikis

February’s meeting was such a delight!  I genuinely feel badly for those who could not attend due to health problems or scheduling conflicts, but those who were in attendance thoroughly enjoyed meeting our speaker, Chris Gubler. 

OSA cannot begin to thank Chris for speaking to our group, particularly in light of his VERY busy schedule.  For those of you who do not know, Chris had an obligation to attend a meeting in Los Angeles during the day of our meeting, jumped on a plane that afternoon and arriving in time for our meeting.  He got a few hours of sleep after our February meeting and hopped on a plane at the crack of dawn to meet another commitment - attending a meeting of the Hawaiian Orchid Grower’s Association in Hawaii.  I sincerely appreciate Chris “squeezing” us into his schedule! 
Chris also brought GORGEOUS plants for our raffle table.  His generous donation of plants produced an all-time record for raffle ticket sales!  Those members who were rewarded for their raffle ticket purchases are enjoying some healthy and showy orchids!  Chris also kindly refused reimbursement for his travel expenses to our meeting and the honorarium customarily given to our speakers.  Chris, you are truly an OSA friend and we appreciate your generosity!
While I’m on the subject of last month’s meeting, I want to thank Bob MacLeod for everyone who attended.  Janet Jurn, our Refreshment Coordinator, had become ill and was unable to attend.  Obviously that meant we had no punch bowl, no plates, cups or napkins.  I’m happy to report Janet is now feeling better, but if it were not for Bob going to Janet’s and retrieving all of the necessities, it may have been difficult for us to enjoy the wonderful refreshments brought to the meeting. 

Wilella Stimmell has generously donated enough plates and napkins to, according to Janet, will last the rest of the year.  She also donated some holiday tablecloths that we can use during our annual holiday party/auction in December.  Thanks, Willie!

I made a sad announcement of Bob Caldwell’s death during February’s meeting.  Bob’s wife, Nelda, is one of OSA’s board members and has been faced with a great deal of sorrow these last few months.  Bob lost a long battle with cancer on February 21st at their home.  Wilella Stimmell, Norma Kafer, Bob MacLeod, Jane and Pete Heckel represented OSA at Bob’s memorial reception.  I, unfortunately, was unable to attend, but I am grateful to those members who did attend on OSA’s behalf.  Bob was a true friend to OSA and will always be remembered with a smile.  OSA is making a contribution to the Hospice of the Valley (Attn: Fund Development) in his memory.  Anyone also wishing to contribute may do so to 1510 E. Flower Street, Phoenix, AZ  85014.

It is my understanding that Wilella made a trip to the Arizona State Veteran’s Home with donations to their gift shop in OSA’s behalf.  Contributions for our members are ALWAYS welcome.  You can bring your donations to any meeting.  As I’ve stated before, they can use cans of soda/juice, individual snack items or candy, and other trinket type items that can be found in a gift shop. 
I’ve not heard a report of their meeting yet, but the Yuma Orchid Society was to have held their first official meeting on March 3rd, at 1:00 at the Public Library.  OSA is very proud of this effort by the Yuma group, and we will offer any support we can!   I’ll let you know anything I find out about their first meeting and the organization of this new orchid society.

I am truly looking forward to April’s meeting!  Doug Baldwin will be teaching us how to capture our favorite orchids for posterity - through photography!  If you are like most of us, snapping a candid shot of a favorite bloom never comes close to the real thing once the film is developed.  Actually, nothing comes closer to the real thing, but it is nice to have GOOD photographs to depict the fruits of your labors.  Doug has been a professional photographer for a couple of decades and will be able to offer assistance to the amateur photographer in all of us, giving us pointers on backgrounds, lighting, and positioning of the flowers.  Doug asks that you bring  blooming orchids to photograph, along with placing them on the Show and Tell table.  Doug also said it was no problem if you want to bring your camera, 35mm or digital, and have something to practice with. 
I look forward to seeing everyone at the April meeting, but until then…
Happy Growing, 
Lou Ann Remeikis

Virtual Goodies
This month’s website comes to us from 
Connie Hall
The site: Cindy’s Catolog of Garden Catologs

The Address:
This site has a lot of gardening and orchid links, info and catologs.  Easy to navigate and definetly a fun spot to spend some time surfing around.  A plus for all your gardening wishes!

by Wilella Stimmell, CSP Coordinator

On March 5, NORMA KAFER, GARY KOOISTRA, JAY MUNN, and I presented orchid programs for 74 eager Kindergarten students at PARAMOUNT ACADEMY, a new school located at 11039 W. Olive, in Peoria. 

Program team members have learned from experience that when more than one program will be presented at a school, we need to set up our display plants and work with the children in a central location. 

The various classes rotate in and out of the central location. At Paramount, we set up our display table in what appeared to be a teacher's lounge. 
Our original schedule set the first program to begin at 9:00 AM,  the second to begin at 10:00 AM, and the third program to begin at 11:00 AM. Half-way through the first program, with 30 children already repotting their seedlings, the door opened and in came 30 more excited children carrying their milk jugs. Although we were unsure whether these students were supposed to be in the first class, we accommodated them. In a relatively small room, there were 60 children all clamoring "help me next!" Our program team members took the situation in their stride and exhibited a minimum of stress.

And none of us apparently suffered hearing loss from the din made by 60 happy children. However, since our scheduled program times were  preempted in the confusion, all of us were glad that there were only  14 children in the next and last class. (OSA member, Meaghan Socaciu, is a Kindergarten student at Paramount and participated in the last orchid program presented on the 5th.) 

Only one of the students hesitated removing the old  potting medium from his seedling. When he discovered that he had to actually touch the medium and roots in order to remove the old fir bark, he intoned, "that's gross!" This was the same young man who had no objection to stroking the tip of the inflorescence of a display  plant, Megaclinium  maximum, because it looked like a rattle snake's rattles. 

This was the first time Gary Kooistra participated in our school programs, and he so enjoyed working with the children that he  volunteered to help with future programs. Thanks, Gary!
Special thanks to OSA member, JEANETTE SOCACIU, for providing lunch for our program team members. 
(A report on our next program, scheduled for March 20 at Spirit of Hope Montessori School, 14403 N. 75th Ave., Peoria, will appear in our May newsletter.)

Community Service in APRIL:  OSA has been invited to participate in "A Gathering of Key Players" working with Arizona's youth. The focus group will meet at the Maricopa County Cooperative Extension, 4341 E. Broadway, Phoenix, on April 18 from 9:00 AM to 12:00 noon. OSA will be represented at this meeting.

On Saturday, April 21, two classes of adults will repot orchid  seedlings, at the SOUTHWEST GARDENER store, 2809 N. 15th Ave., Phoenix. The first class begins at 10:30 AM, and the second class begins at 1:00 PM. If you can assist by providing blooming plants for a display table and/or helping with the presentations, feel free to volunteer!

 Growing Orchids Hydroponically
By Jen Busch
I have been experimenting with various methods of torturing and killing orchids for a few years now, so when I came across an ad for hydroponic orchid systems, I had to try it.  “STOP KILLING YOUR ORCHIDS,” the ad promised-and I was ready to prove them wrong! 
The basic premise is this:  the pot is designed so that only a small amount of the media (porous fired clay pellets) is exposed to the reservoir of nutrient solution (basically a weak balanced fertilizer solution).  The capillary action of the clay pellets draws the nutrients via the moisture to the entire root zone.  The clay pellets are never wet, just barely moist, so the roots are not ever sitting in water.  The clay pellets provide support, air movement and consistent moisture to the root zone.  In addition, the clay has a neutral pH factor and a smooth surface, which makes repotting much easier. 
The benefits of the hydroponic system include:  knowing when to water and how much (just watch the handy indicator), not having to replace medium that has broken down, being able to repot without drastically disturbing the root zone, watering less frequently, vacationing without having someone else water the plants and, of course, not losing plants due to loss of roots from improper watering practices.   I have also noticed that the hydroponic system provides higher humidity for the plant, which works well for plants growing in the home (as opposed to the greenhouse) here in Arizona.
Overall, the hydroponic system has worked great for me.  I have been experimenting with more economical, build-it-myself systems that are working as well as the expensive “pretty” ones.  I have had good luck with all the plants I have grown hydroponically, including a huge phalanopsis that has 31 buds (12 of which are open) on 4 branches!  I will bring this plant to the April meeting, at which time I will be happy to answer anyone’s questions on hydroponics.  For more information on hydroculture, visit

  by Jane Heckel
 For those of you who were unable to attend the March OSA meeting, you missed a real treat.   Our guest speaker was Chris Gubler.  Although it is wel l known that he does not accept many speaking engagements, he let it be known that we are one of the very few groups he will present to.   Even so, the last time he spoke to us was 15 years ago!!  He did promise that he wouldn’t wait as long till his next visit.                 His program was very informative and included a 5 page color handout which chronicled the history  of three generations of Gubler orchid growers starting with his grandfather way back in 1902 in Switzerland.  Although there have been hardships along the way as evidenced by the photo depicting the total devastation of the nursery by an earthquake, they were undaunted and have rebuilt the business and continue to expand.
 There are two distinct operations: the lab for propagation and hybridization, and the sale of blooming  plants.  Some of the photos depicted rows upon rows of blooming plants in the staging area where plants are first pulled for shipping, then groomed and packed. 
 The Gubler operation is dedicated to new innovations which will help provide more healthy plants to the increasing number of orchid growers.  One such innovation is a process where he can stimulate phals to mature and spike much more quickly.  Another is an impressive new shrink wrap he is using to pack his plants before shipment.  He gave an impressive demonstration of this as he unpacked a large box of specimen  sized plants in bloom - which he then placed on our raffle table - thank you so much, Chris.  Our raffle sales were hot and heavy!!!  Some other developments for the orchid market will be plants potted in decorator pots and bark and fertilizer mixes.  His goal is to appeal to new orchid growers to get people started (hooked!!).
All of us remember when we bought our first orchid - and look where that has led us!!  I have a feeling that Chris will make it possible for many future orchid growers to purchase their first plant and spread the orchid ‘fever’. 

by Wilella Stimmell

Internationally known scientists share their views on the urgent issues involving biodiversity conservation, in the spring 2001 BRIT lectures series, the Sixth Extinction. 
Dr. Daniel Janzen of the University of Pennsylvania presented the first lecture, "How to Grow a Wetland", in the series.

Dr. Stuart Pimm, Professor of Conservation Biology at Columbia University, New York, presented the second lecture, "On the Risk of Extinction - the Fragility of Life in a Human-controlled Planet", at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden Auditorium, on March 8th. During his presentation, Dr. Pimm noted that scientists have named only 1.5  of the earth's million species and that two-thirds of the species are in tropical forests which are disappearing at an alarming rate.  He stated that initially earth had 7 to 9 million square miles of tropical forests, half of which disappeared in the past 50 years, and that about 750,000 square miles is lost each decade. If this loss continues at its present pace, Dr. Pimm predicts that half the earth's species could disappear in 20-30 years. "They are not burning on the edge of the forest, but in the middle, and the area burned is two-thirds larger than the area cleared. It all could be gone in 20 to 30 years, and with that, a lot of species."*

On April 12, at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden Auditorium, the lecture series continues with Dr. Gordon Orians of the University of Washington. The title of his presentation will be "The Impact of  Human Behavior on the Diversity of Life". 
On May 10th, at Texas Christian University, Dr. Robert Johns of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, will present "New Guinea - The Last Unknown". 
The spring lecture series concludes on June 14th at Texas Christian University with the presentation, "Best Hope for Conserving Biological Diversity", given by His Excellency, Jose Maria Figueres, Former President of Costa Rica. 
There is no charge for admission to the lectures, and reservations are not required. If any OSA members are in the Fort Worth area on the dates of any of the above lectures, you are welcome to attend.

For more information, phone BRIT at (817)332-4441.
The mission of BRIT "is to conserve our natural heritage by deepening our knowledge of the plant world and achieving public understanding of the value plants bring to life". BRIT was incorporated in 1987 as a non-profit organization to house the Southern Methodist University Herbarium and botanical library. Over 500,000 specimens comprise the collections and represent "the lifetime work of Lloyd Shinners, one of the most influential Texas botanists of the 20th century. The core of the library (about 75,000 volumes) is made up of the personal collections of Lloyd Shinners and Eula Whitehouse and is rich in literature on botany and horticulture from the 19th century and the latter half of the 18th century. ...  In October, 1997, Vanderbilt University donated its herbarium of over 360,000 specimens to BRIT, and continuing additions to the collection will soon bring the total number of specimens housed at the institute to nearly one million." (                          *ARIZONA REPUBLIC, March 10, 2001, page A19

The outstanding variety of plants found on our March 1 silent auction tables was the result of significant price reductions of plants sold to OSA by the following vendors:

Bill and Dorris Bergstrom                                    
BERGSTROM ORCHIDS NURSERY                                 
P.O. BOX 1502             
Keaau, Hawaii          

John Oka                                                                    
KAORU OKA ORCHIDS                                
Honolulu, Hawaii 
Steve Skoien                                                                     
ROLFE HORTICULTURE                                                    
P.O. Box 255                              
Mt. View, Hawaii                                                           
e-mail: <

Bill and Dorris, John, and Steve continue to support our community service agenda through their generosity on plant pricing. We greatly appreciate their support!    ADDITIONAL Generosity of Pacific Orchid Exposition Vendors: Our APRIL 5 RAFFLE TABLE will feature DONATIONS of blooming and/or blooming size plants from: 
Dennis Olivas                         
D & D FLOWERS                                   
221 Netherby Pl.                                                           
Pleasant, CA                                                                       
e-mail: <
Sam Promarag                                                                    
SIAM ORCHIDS                                                                     
4506 Kiowa                                                                       
Pasadena, TX  77504

(Since last we saw Sam, at the Santa Barbara Orchid Fair in July, 2000, he suffered a myocardial infarction. Sam was moving in slow motion at Orchid Expo, but he seems to have recovered. We wish him continued good health!)
Many thanks to Dennis and Sam for the donated plants for our April raffle table! 

On March 3, approximately 15 growers attended the organizational  meeting that was held at the Yuma Main Library, 350 Third Ave. Sally Griffith was elected President pro tem.
Val Colvin, AFGC Western District Director, attended the meeting and gave the group organizational guidance. 

Sally stated that during the first meeting, each person present  reported some aspect of their orchid growing experiences. For example, one grower said that last summer she left one of her orchids in the care of a neighbor who proceeded to place the plant "outside in a flower bed with other plants." Her plant now has 10-15 flowers!

Another member stated that she never mists her flowers; another reported that she always mists her flowers. One member reported poor success with phals; another reported great success with that genus. 

Virtual Goodies
This month’s website comes to us from 
Willie Stimmell
The site:
The Eden Project

The Address:
The $150 million Eden Project in Cornwall, England is now open!  Check out this website for some interesting info on the project.  An easy site to navigate.

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