The Arizona Orchidist Newsletter 

published by

The Orchid Society Of Arizona, Inc.

Founding Editor Clarence S. Lindsten, 1966




The Arizona Orchidist Newsletter July 1998





NEXT OSA BOARD MEETING: June 28, 1998, at the home of Keith Mead, 12054 S. Appaloosa, Phoenix, at 1 p.m.




Wilella Stimmell


Those members and guests who attended our June meeting, learned when they arrived that Lou Ann Remeikis, OSA's enthusiastic 1st Vice President whose job description is in-house programs, was "grounded" with an ear infection in Illinois. We were sorry that she was not present to see how we utilized her program notes from the June newsletter. When OSA members perceive a need to "circle the wagons", we demonstrate team work at its finest! Arriving at the Valley Garden Center with their "alternative growing areas" in tow, were: Ann Cherny with two aquariums (orchid rocks on the bottom of one aquarium, her plants, and a small fan - the other aquarium was used as the "lid"); Joe Civello with a growing case originally designed to house "critters" - filled with blooming orchids and a special light fixture atop the case; Jane Heckel with pictures mounted on a board which showed her bay-window growing area; and Bob MacLeod with the indoor greenhouse he built using Deacon Bell's design. Keith Mead brought pictures of his light stand and revealed his resourcefulness. He purchased components for his light stand at...a restaurant supply store! Phillip Liu brought his high-efficiency humidifier and described his patio growing area. (Inquiring minds want to know what became of the previous, furry "occupants" of the rabbit cage wherein Phillip's orchids are growing?) And without hesitation, members eagerly described their growing areas and any problems they were having. Other members who also use alternative growing areas but did not bring their equipment, also freely participated in an open exchange of creative ideas for improving their own growing areas and those of members who mentioned problems. Many members and guests commented that they would like more such programs wherein we share our orchid culture successes and failures.


A few members discussed problems they had encountered growing orchids outside. Orchids OUTSIDE? Here? Yes, we have members willing to experiment. However, it would be wise to heed the advice of Phillip Liu, who successfully grows his orchids outside: "It can be done, but I don't recommend new growers try growing orchids outside. It takes a lot of time, and any mistake can be deadly to orchids." Phillip spends a lot of time daily observing his plants for signs of stress, monitoring and adjusting humidity around his plants, and compensating for increases in ambient air temperature. As noted earlier, Phillip uses a high-efficiency humidifier in his growing area, but he also uses rocks/pebbles in a "doodie" tray in the rabbit cage. Ever the scientist, he conducted a study of the various porous rocks available in the Phoenix metro area and determined that some were actually coated with a substance that prevented maximum evaporation. Quite a few growers would have lost interest in outdoor orchid culture before they found the most suitable, porous material.


We learn from "imported" speakers, but we also need practical culture information which can be dramatically different from culture advice from growers who do not grow their orchids in the low desert. (Each year on her OSA renewal form, our late, devoted member, Bernice Ehrlich, mentioned the need for more culture information for our newer growers. She would have been immensely pleased with the June program!)


I also mentioned during the meeting that we had received a thank-you note from Kathy Ehrlich, Bernice's daughter. Kathy wrote on behalf of the Ehrlich family and thanked us for "the beautiful display of orchids" we provided for their mother's memorial service. She also said that their mother would have appreciated our demonstration of friendship. In subsequent conversations, other family members echoed Kathy's appreciation for our efforts. On behalf of all OSA members, I told family members that we were pleased to honor Bernice's request and that bringing blooming plants to a service was hardly commensurate to theYEARS of service their mother devoted to the welfare of the Orchid Society of Arizona.


A wide variety of plants and orchid-related items on our raffle table were donated by: Beth Brown, a visitor who has attended several of our displays, meetings, and November shows, and from members: Pearl Bays, Deacon Bell, Nelda Caldwell, Joe Freasier, the late Pat Isbell, Leith Plunkett, Julie Rathbun, and me. Thanks to Phillip Liu and Jesper Osther for selling raffle tickets and for handling the drawing of the tickets. One of our guests purchased just three raffle tickets, and each of the tickets was a winner! Giving us the benefit of the doubt - that we had not "rigged" the drawing - he assumed his good fortune was a sign, and he joined our orchid "family" forthwith! OSA members continue to support our monthly raffle with their donations and ticket purchases, and for that we are grateful. We are also appreciative of the generosity of visitors who purchase tickets and also donate plants to OSA.


Special thanks to Suz Cramer for tending, inventorying, loading, and hauling the major portion of our sale plants to our meeting. Additional thanks is due Keith Mead for assisting with inventorying and crating the plants, and Norma Kafer and Peggy Stejskal for loading and hauling the plants to the Valley Garden Center. Several vehicles resembled rain forests on wheels! We sold ALL of the robust brassias and all of the gorgeous oncidium intergenerics. We could have sold more if we had purchased more!


NOTE: ALL of the plants sold on the silent auction had been housed in greenhouses where the relative humidity is rarely less than 80% - and was sometimes even higher. Many of those plants are probably now living in a less humid environment. Do not be alarmed if one or more of the buds blast (drop before opening). A dramatic change in environment takes it toll in various ways, one of which is bud blast. Be patient! Give your new plants time to acclimate to YOUR growing environment.


In the past several months, many comments have been made that OSA is "so different" from other orchid societies. The first thing guests and new members note about us is that we are NON-COMPETITIVE. Our meetings are a haven, not an arena. We are an educational group, not a social group. We are just as likely to bring a blooming, poorly-grown plant for the display table, as we are likely to bring a blooming, well-grown plant. There is value in seeing both, and we have fun with both. We speak up; we speak out; and we are not intimidated by "experts". Indeed, our outside speakers have all commented on the openness of our members during a presentation. They have found the interaction of OSA members to be a refreshing change to audiences wherein the members sit in silence throughout a program.


OSA values all members in our orchid "family" as equals. Some are not MORE equal than others. Even our hardest workers do not receive preferential treatment. For example, members who house, tend, inventory, and transport plants do NOT get "first pick" of our sale plants. They certainly have the opportunity to make a mental note of an exceptional plant they might want to buy, but their first chance to purchase an OSA-owned plant is when the "bell rings" and sales are open to the public. Our late plant-sitter, Bernice, tended HUNDREDS of OSA's sale plants over the years, and she enjoyed telling a story of how she completely missed out on purchasing any of our plants at one of our shows because when the "bell rang" and customers came rushing into our sales area, she was so busy writing sales tickets that she never looked up from her sales book for an hour. When the action slowed, and she checked the remaining plants on the sales tables, the plant she wanted had been sold, as well as all other plants in the particular grex she had admired. She laughed and said, "There'll be other sales and other plants."


OSA uses our financial resources to benefit as many members as possible, not a select few, and as many organizations in the state as request our assistance. Last year, 45 members participated in an OSA-sponsored field trip. ALL members are eligible to participate. Our financial health is the result of the team work of many members. And the fact that our membership has more than doubled in the past three years, would suggest that ever-increasing numbers agree with our people-oriented agenda.



APPOINTMENT TO OSA BOARD OF DIRECTORS: The death of Bernice Ehrlich created a vacancy in the office of Secretary. As per our bylaws, I have appointed a replacement to complete Bernice's term of office. Jane Heckel has agreed to serve as OSA Secretary for the remainder of 1998. Thanks Jane!!



OSA COURIERS AVAILABLE: If anyone wishes to send something to Deacon Bell in Santa Fe, bring the item to the July meeting. Ann Cherny and I will be visiting Deacon on his 94th birthday. The item should be smaller than a bread box and NOT perishable! Any member who won't be able to attend our meeting but has something he/she wishes Deacon's personal couriers to transport, may feel free to telephone Ann or me.



COMMUNITY SERVICE PROGRAM SCHEDULED: On September 10, at 10 a.m., OSA will present a program for the veterans at the Arizona State Veteran Home, 4141 N. 3rd St., Phoenix. This is the long-awaited program that the veterans had requested we present a week after we presented a program for them on October 7 last year. This program will involve potting phalaenopsis seedlings. We will need as many helpers for this program as possible. Leslie Goin, Program Manager for Recreation Therapy at ASVH, reported that 20 veterans will participate.


OSA will purchase a seedling for each veteran and also provide all potting supplies. BUT we need OSA members to begin collecting plastic, gallon water jugs for use in the program. We need 20, clean jugs. If you already have a few jugs to spare, bring them to the July meeting. Our August and September meetings will occur before the program at the ASVH, so also bring your jugs to either of those meetings. Why do we need water jugs for the veterans? For mini-greenhouses! The "greenhouses" will become homes for the seedlings we help the veterans pot that day.


FOR YOUR INFORMATION: "Linnaeus and the Collections" - From the 1997 Annual Report of the Linnean Society of London, no page number (inside back cover).


"As young men training to be physicians Linnaeus and his friend Petrus Artedi set themselves the task of classifying and naming all living things. After Artedi's untimely death in 1735 Linnaeus worked on alone and eventually provided a concise usable survey of all the world's plants and animals as then known. He distinguished and named over 8,000 species of plants and 4,400 species of animals comprising 828 molluscs, 2,100 insects, 477 fishes, and numerous birds and mammals including Homo sapiens whom he classified with the primates. His publications, by reason of their encyclopaedic [sic] scope, helped to establish the consistent-binomial nomenclature for species which is used today. His Species Plantarum (1753) and his Systema Naturae, 10th edition, volume 1 (1758) have accordingly been accepted, by international agreement, as the official starting points for botanical and zoological nomenclature. This confers a unique scientific importance on the specimens used by Linnaeus, many of which are in his personal collections now treasured by the Linnean Society. These include: 14,000 plants, 3,198 insects, 1,564 shells, 158 dried fishes, a library of 1,600 volumes and manuscripts and papers relating to almost every aspect of his scientific work, together with other 3,000 letters. The herbarium, especially important for its richness of type material, is used by botanists from all over the world.


The Linnean Society is proud to have the responsibility of maintaining the Linnean collections and library for the benefit of science and upholding the tradition of international scientific interest so well manifest by Linnaeus himself. However, in the interests of their conservation, they are housed in an atmospherically controlled strong room where, by prior arrangement, they can be, and regularly are, consulted for research."


Thanks to Natalie Warford, Fellow of the Linnean Society, for sharing this information with us. The Linnean Society's web site is located at:

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