The Arizona Orchidist Newsletter 

published by

The Orchid Society Of Arizona, Inc.

Founding Editor Clarence S. Lindsten, 1966 



The Arizona Orchidist Newsletter June 1999

The next OSA Board Meeting will be held on My 23 at 1:00 p.m. at Peggy Stejskal's house. Peggy's address is 3401 E. Palo Verde Drive in Paradise Valley (south of Lincoln Drive just east of 32nd Street).
Prior to the Board meeting will be a short planning meeting for the annual November show.   As always the Board meeting and Planning meeting are open to all members.

        The next regular society monthly meeting will be Thursday, June 3, 1999, at the Valley Garden Center, 1809 N. 15th Avenue, Phoenix, Arizona, (phone 252-2120O.  The meeting, open to all plant enthusiasts, will start at 7:00 p.m.

Refreshements will be provided by:  Nelda Caldwell (beverage), Willie Stimmell and Catherine
Nelson (edible items).  Thank you Refreshment Committee.

Grower on Call for June is Lou Ann Remeikis, phone 892-0263, Email:  lou_remeikis@tempe.gov and remeikis@dancris.com


A Recap by the First Timers' Club

The World Orchid Conference Rookies (1st timers) will recap their visit to Vancouver.  We may even persuade Ron to tell us about the 16th WOC compared to previous ones!  

Silent Auction

We will have a silent auction of blooming plants during our June meeting!!!!!

REMEMBER, MEMBERS do NOT bring divisions of plants for sale when OSA holds a silent auction.

So, if you're not interested in hearing us babble about our trip to Vancouver, you can still come and bid on the silent auction and take home something special.  Hopefully our meetings can offer something for everyone! 

Lou Ann Remeikie

        It appears that summer is here!  Hot Arizona temperatures and orchids, as you know, do not go hand-in-hand.  For the sake of your orchids, make sure you have adequate air circulation and humidity to help them make it through our  summer!  Watering will increase during these hot months, as your orchids will dry out faster with the very dry air that we have.  This is the toughest time of year for our "babies" and with a little extra attention they will do just fine!

        I want to further explain the expenses involved with the San Diego trip.  We are asking for a $100.00 deposit as insurance to the OSA treasury.  OSA will be paying HALF of each member's total transportation expense (approx. $90.00 airfare and $10.00 ground transportation to and from the San Diego airport).  Members arriving in San Diego will receive the monies paid by OSA ($50.00) on their behalf.  Please consider that if a member decided they will not participate in this field trip, and cancel after Saturday, July 24, OSA is responsible for $100.00 in transportation expenses for that member.  This is why we are asking for the $100.00
deposit on the trip.  This deposit will be refundable but only up to Saturday, July 24, and then the deposit will be forfeited (non-refundable).  To safeguard your deposit, make sure you are able to go on the field trip, or cancel your reservations BEFORE the deadline !!! DEADLINE:  JULY 24, 1999!!!  You may make your reservation, with the $100.00 deposit, at the June or July meeting.  See Keith Mead at one of the meetings, or feel free to call him to make your reservations at 496-5762.

        The San Diego trip will be a new experience for us all this year.  The orchid show and sale will be held at the Del Mar Fairgrounds this year.  I'm sure there will be a little more room to wander around the vendors and select what you want to spend your money on.  I have never been disappointed in what the vendors have on hand, and it is a wonderful opportunity to see so many different types of orchids.  You can also purchase different types of potting materials, pots, fertilizers, potting tools, gadgets, books, etc.  Just about anything you could want you will find there.

        The Orchid Society of Arizona has been honored recently by the Arizona Federation of Garden Clubs (AFGC) and the Pacific Region of the National Council of State Garden Clubs (NCSGC).  It should be noted that the Pacific Region of the NCSGC is made up of eight states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.    OSA received a First Place Certificate of Achievement in the Pacific Region Award #1.B (1) ( c ) Publications
- Newsletters.  OSA actually received two awards for our Newsletter, as we received a second Certificate of Achievement from the AFGC.  OSA also was awarded a First Place Certificate for having the Greatest Number of New Members, presented by AFGC.  The fourth award was presented by the AFGC to the "Orchid Society of Arizona for their Outstanding Youth Projects".  We can
all be proud of what our "family" has accomplished this past year, and we are honored that other organizations have acknowledged our achievements.  In addition, this is the first year any submissions from Arizona had been received at the Pacific Region Conference.

        May was certainly a month of tragedies and illnesses.  I am sorry to announce that a friend of OSA's, Dan DeCoster, suffered a heart attack and died.  Dan, as many of you may remember, was of great assistance during some of our annual Orchid Shows.  He was an assistant to C. W. Moody, one of OSA's Honorary Members.  We also had news that Vic Polk had brain surgery due to a benign tumor that was pressing against his optic nerve.  I am happy to report that the tumor was removed successfully and Vic is at home and doing well.  Dee MacLeod also has suffered from a fall resulting in a compressed disk in her spine.  This all happened before Bob MacLeod, our new 1st Vice President, was to officially be presented to our membership at the May meeting.  Deacon Bell, an OSA Life Member, now living in Sante Fe, NM, is doing much better after having a blood infection.  Antibiotics are taking care of this problem (and I'm sure the pills are not real small)!  By now I hope Leith Plunkett is able to read this edition of the Newsletter.  Leith had a problem with his vision after seeing his eye doctor.  Isn't
that always the case!   At the May meeting, we also found out that Amy Stejskal is going to be undergoing surgery in June for scoliosis.  Our hopes and prayers go out to her for a successful and speedy recovery.  

        Please keep in mind that if you have anything you wish to donate to the VAMC, the OSA Board meeting (open to one and all) will be held in Prescott, August 7, and any Board member can be given your donations.  We will see to it that they are taken to the VAMC that day. Specifically, the VAMC has requested plastic corsage tubes (florist tubes), along with potting materials (sphagnum moss, bark, terrestrial mix).  However, if you have any orchids you wish to donate to them, any Board member would be happy to make arrangements to take your donated plants to them.  Although it does get warm in the summer, they do have cooler temperatures in the winter which is ideal for cymbidiums and the like.   In addition to basic orchid related items, the residents at VAMC can also use donations of personal items such as toothpaste, hair shampoo and conditioner, shaving cream, etc.  Any donations will be greatly appreciated.  

        I want to thank Keith for getting the new Membership Rosters updated, printed, collated and available at the last meeting.  Keith does a great job for OSA, and gets paid NOTHING!  Our gratitude will have to do Keith!  

        Don't forget to utilize our Grower on Call if you have questions which need answers! That's what we have the Grower on Call for!  By the way, the Grower on Call for June will be ME, so don't hesitate to call. However, since my work hours have changed dramatically, you can reach me at home (892-0263) from 8 and 10 am or from 8:30 and 10 pm.  I am at work between 10:30 am and 8:00 pm, and should only receive emergency calls there (350-8121).  If that sounds strange or confusing, you're not the only one who thinks that!  Isn't it terrible when work
gets in the way of my fun !

        I look forward to seeing everyone at the June meeting, and hope everyone stays happy and healthy.



Plan on joining us for our annual field trip to San Diego on Saturday, September 25, to attend the orchid show and sale to be held at Del Mar fairgrounds.  The cost to society members is $100 of which $50 will be refunded to you IN CASH upon arrival at the fair.  Space is limited. Send checks to Keith Mead at 12054 South Appaloosa, Phoenix, AZ, 85044, or see me at the June meeting to reserve your spot.......Keith


        The following article on the effects of amino acids on orchids was intended as a preliminary report by Clarence Lindsten the Founding Editor of our newsletter and the First President of OSA He had conducted his experiments in 1968 and originally published his results in the September, 1968 issue of The Arizona Orchidist.  Unfortunately, Clarence died in September of 1988, before he published a complete report of conclusions drawn from his experiments.

        "During the last eight months I have been conducting experiments on the feeding of amino acids to orchid plants and had intended to carry out the experiments for a full year before making a report.  However, due to an unfortunate cooler failure, which caused havoc in one of my greenhouses, seriously disrupting my experiments, I will give this preliminary report of what I have found out thus far.  I do, however, intend to start these experiments again, after I have fresh plants to work with, and I will give a complete report at the conclusion of
those experiments.

        I fully realize the controversial nature of some of my findings, so at the outset, I wish to make my position clear.  Not being a scientist, I do not wish to enter into any scientific discussions.   I realize that there may be scientific theories that would tend to attempt to disprove my findings, but I am interested in results, and results are what I am getting.  I will be very happy to discuss it at any time, however, on a layman's level.

        In an article by the late Dr. L.F. Hawkinson, appearing in the April, 1963, issue of ORCHID DIGEST (Vol. 27, No, 4), it is stated that in 1959, the Malayans experimented with beer as a supplementary feeding to orchids. They reported excellent results, with larger roots and flowers, and an over-all improvement in the condition of their plants.

        Again, in 1962, a brewer in Hawaii reported feeding beer to his orchids with similar results. At the same time, a Mr. Shigezawa reported feeding an enzyme material which was the by-product of a local enzyme manufacturing company. He sprayed it on his orchids, using two tablespoons per gallon, along with a 'shotgun' mixture of insecticide and fungicide, with excellent results.  Others, using a much higher dosage of the enzyme material, had even greater growth gains.

        'Results to date have been very encouraging. The leaves of Phalaenopsis assumed a more erect stance, and are thick and turgid. Considerably more light can he tolerated without harm, roots are thicker and have what appears to be a longer tip area of meristematic tissue. Dendrobiums and Cattleyas have also perked up.'

        Working with Farm Builders, Inc., a firm dealing in a bio-culture which conditions soil by adding enzymes and amino acids, my results are very similar to those of the Hawaiians and Malayans, with the exception being that I injected it at a ratio of one gallon of culture to every twenty-five gallons of water, once weekly. However, I find that this can be reduced to at least the same ratio that the Malayans used, which was one quart of beer to every ten gallons of water.

        My conclusions at this stage are: that it is the amino acids that cause the accelerated growth and well being of the plants. It is also my conclusion that the amino acids in the Farm Builder culture provides ample free nitrogen to take care of some, if not most of the plants' needs, without much having to be added, and that it is very effective when used as a foliar spray.

        WHAT ARE AMINO ACIDS? Amino acids are nitrogen containing organic acids, the 'building blocks' or units from which protein molecules are built.
PROTEINS, on the other hand, are complex organic compounds constructed from amino acids, and are composed of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and sulphur. Some proteins, called nucleo-proteins also contain phosphorous. Proteins are one of three groups of plant foods, and the chief component of protoplasm, which is the living material of a cell.

        ENZYMES are proteinaceous catalytic agents, which increase the rate of a particular transformation of materials in all plants, as well as animals. They break down the proteins to the various forms needed by the plant.

        The rate at which the enzymatic reactions proceed, however, is proportional to the concentration of the enzymes, provided other factors are favorable. What this means is, that ALTHOUGH ALL LIVING MATTER MANUFACTURES ITS OWN ENZYMES, IT DOES NOT FOLLOW THAT ENOUGH IS

        My plants were kept in three groups and fed once weekly. Group one was fed with regular dry chemical fertilizer only. Group two was fed with a fermented fish fertilizer, and group three was fed with Farm Builder's culture, with one level tablespoon of high phosphorous dry fertilizer to 150 gallons of water. Working on the theory that the amino acids could furnish some, if not most of the free nitrogen necessary for fertilizing, in my type of compost, I added the level tablespoon of high phosphorous dry fertilizer to insure enough phosphorous to the plants.

        The results were nothing less than sensational. GROUP ONE, with the dry fertilizer, averaged one and one half new leads per plant. GROUP TWO, with the fish emulsion, averaged three new leads per plant, and GROUP THREE, fed with the Farm Builder culture, averaged three and one third new leads per plant, all large and husky. The root action of groups two and three was nothing short of fantastic, as was the abundance of flowers.

        What does this prove? Well, in my mind, it proves that fermented fertilizers such as fish emulsions have high concentrations of amino acids. Dry, harsh chemical fertilizers have none, but are instrumental in manufacturing them within the plant. This, however, as compared with fish emulsions, and the culture which I used in these experiments, creates at least one extra step and as a consequence acts much slower. Fish emulsions and the Farm Builder culture act much faster, with definitely far better results - a sort of a 'factory to you' situation eliminating the 'middle man', so to speak.

        As a result of my experiments, I have reached the following conclusions:
1.      Dry chemical fertilizers do not contain ammo acids and are dangerous to the plants at the amounts recommended by the manufacturers. The trace elements that are added tend to build up in older compost and weaken the roots to the point where fungus infections take over.
2.      Fish emulsions are rich in amino acids, are safe to use at the amounts recommended by the manufacturers, and contain sufficient trace elements for me plant's well being. You will notice an increased number of new leads and an over-all improvement m the flowers. It is especially effective when foliar fed.
3.      Weekly feedings at one-quarter of the monthly dosage is far more effective.
4.      By feeding amino acids directly to the plants, you are giving them something they would  otherwise have to produce, and therefore it is assimilated faster.
5.       In regards to the Farm Builder culture used, there was almost enough free nitrogen produced to take care of most of the plants' needs.
6.      The addition of the added phosphorous to the culture was just for insurance. For all I know, it might never have been needed. However, I shall find this out in my next group of experiments.

by Wilella Stimmell, CSP Coordinator

        On May 4, we presented a hands-on orchid program for approximately 18 pre-school children at the Prince of Peace School, 3641 N. 56th St., Phoenix. We were unsure whether children ages 4 and 5 would be attentive long enough to pot their orchid seedlings. However, we were pleasantly surprised!

        From the moment we placed our blooming orchids on  display, the children could not take their eyes off the flowers! After a brief introduction to orchids, the potting session commenced. 

        Before we departed, one 4 year-old boy said in a serious tone of voice, "I will try my very best to take good care of my orchid."
We also received the following thank-you letter from Ginny Martin, the children's
teacher:         "Just a note to thank OSA for doing the orchid educational day for my preschool class. The children loved it! (They aren't always that patient.)  And I really enjoyed the day and learned so much! I'm most impressed to have learned that our vanilla flavoring comes from orchids!

        For Mothers Day, we used vanilla flavoring in the dessert we made for our party, and the vanilla I bought at the supermarket even has an orchid pictured on the box! So that was another educational opportunity! We are enclosing a few orchid pictures the children colored. Many of them wanted to take their
pictures home, and I knew you'd understand. 

        Thanks again to OSA for a delightful learning experience!"

        The orchid pictures that the children colored and sent to us will be on display at our June meeting.
I received a message from Harry Tolen. He had requested that I send him one of our milk jug "greenhouses," and I did.  He said that he thought the greenhouse was "ingenious!" And he's "been showing it to everyone who would listen. Trying to drum up a similar effort in youth education in the San Diego County Orchid Society. I'm using it for an example of what can be done."


In addition to the programs we will be presenting for the Children's Departments at the Burton Barr Central  Library (July 6 at 2 p.m.), Century Branch Library (July 13 at 2 p.m.), Saguaro Branch Library (July 20 at 2 p.m.), and Yucca Branch Library (July 27 at 2 p.m.), OSA has been invited to participate in the Southwestern Low Desert Gardening and Landscaping Conference on
July 30, 1999. The conference will be held at the Camelback Inn Resort in Scottsdale.  The theme for the conference is Growing Through Knowledge, and OSA will present a teacher track session on orchids.

The Southwestern Low Desert Gardening and Landscaping Conference is a non-profit conference presented by Master Gardeners from the University of Arizona Maricopa County Cooperative Extension.  Master Gardeners, horticulture professionals and others from the general public are welcome to attend the educational programs on July 30 and 31.  For information regarding
registration for the conference, contact Suzanne Piper, Publicity Chair, phone 602-470-8086, ext. 824, or visit the Maricopa County Cooperative Extension web site at:  http://ag.arizona.edu/maricopa/garden/ and click on "Events" in Maricopa County.

NOTE: We have already filled the two slots allocated for community service programs in September!  Details will appear in our August newsletter. URGE any school contact person you know who wants OSA to present a program at his/her school in the fall to contact me ASAP!  Our scheduling policy is on a "first come, first serve" basis.  

In Vol. 63 (2) - April-May-June, 1999, there is a pictorial retrospective of Forty-Five Years of World Orchid Conferences: 1954-1999.  World Orchid Conferences are held every three years, and cities in various parts of the world bid on becoming a site for a future conference. 

The First World Orchid Conference was held in St. Louis, Missouri, in October, 1954.  In the photo of delegates to that first conference is none other than DEACON BELL!  (For OSA members who do not subscribe to ORCHID DIGEST, current copies are found in OSA's library!)

        Scientific papers presented at the First WOC were not bound separately as
"Proceedings," but were included in AMERICAN ORCHID SOCIETY BULLETIN, 1955 (various issues). Also in Volume 24, Number 7, July, 1955, pages 473-476, is the article Deacon wrote on Evaporative Cooling for Greenhouses.  This was the prototype research on the use of evaporative
cooling of orchids.  It is written in the language of an electrical engineer, but if any OSA member would like to have a copy of the article, I will be happy to make a copy for you.


Galeandra batemanii and G. greenwoodiana by OSA member Natalie M. Warford, Fellow of the Linnean Society.  Don't miss it! This is a pictorial review of the Mexican Galeandras - an adjunct to Natalie's previous work published in LINDLEYANA.


        I hope everyone enjoyed the article by Clarence Lindsten.  I asked Willie Stimmell if she had some articles, blurbs, or other filler information for this month's newsletter and she came up with this great article.  It is my understanding that Willie has saved all of the Arizona Orchidist newsletters since she has been a member (maybe longer).  If so, she has an invaluable source of history and information regarding OSA.  I'll have to peruse it and see about doing a retrospective.

        A very few OSA members are regular contributors to the newsletter and I know many others of you would like to contribute.  I will gladly accept orginal or reprinted (with appropriate recognition) articles, helpful hints, failed and/or successful experiments, cartoons, questions, etc.  If you have something you'd like to have printed in the newsletter, please send it to me by Email or snail mail (U.S. Post Office).  And please indicate whether or not you want your contribution acknowledged or if you want to remain anonymous.

        The above solicitation goes for the OSA web site also.  Jim Johnson will gladly accept written or photographic contributions to the site.  I'm sure you can contact Jim by phone, mail, Email, or at the OSA web site.

        Let's continue keeping the newsletter and web site up to date and award winning.  
        Nancy Burnett, Editor


10th -  Karen Becraft
12th -  Barbara Ahmann
14th -  Jerald Pendleton
19th -  Pearl Bays and
        Leith Plunkett
26th -  Suz Cramer
27th -  Virginia Coleman
29th -  Dan MacLeod and 
        Jen Hall

Happy Birthday Everyone!


Two Nature Conservancy projects are happening in June:

12-13 - Planting at the San Pedro
        River Preserve and Bingham

26th -  Greenhouse at the San
        Pedro River Preserve

Anyone who wants to help out with either of these projects, contact me, Nancy Burnett, for
further information.


Return to top of page