The Arizona Orchidist Newsletter 

published by

The Orchid Society Of Arizona, Inc.

Founding Editor Clarence S. Lindsten, 1966






"wired" growers may also direct questions to our web site: http://welcome.to/orchidsocietyaz


NEXT OSA BOARD MEETING: The next scheduled Board Meeting will be Saturday, August 1, at the home of Gerda Gallob, 305 Flaming Arrow Way, Sedona, at 1 p.m. Note: this is a combined Open Greenhouse and Board meeting. We will be motoring to Sedona in a caravan, and we will meet at the Valley Garden Center at 10 a.m. on the 1st.

Those of us who will be riding up north with other members may park their cars in the VGC parking lot until we return from Sedona. Gerda was informed on July 25 about the number of members who would arrive at her home on August 1. If members who did not inform Jane Heckel (839-6696), Norma Kafer (252-6197), or Willie (947-8479), have had a change of plans and CAN go to Sedona on the 1st, call Gerda immediately: (520) 282-6739. Hours for the Open Greenhouse will be from 1 - 4 p.m.



The next regular society monthly meeting will be Thursday, August 6th, 1998, held at the Valley Garden Center, 1809 N. 15th Ave., Phoenix, Arizona, (phone 252-2120). The meetng, open to all plant enthusiasts, will start at 7:00p.m. Refreshments will be provided by: Nelda Caldwell, and Julie Rathbun



OSA extends our sympathy to the family of Marion Sheehan as we mourn the loss of Marion who died from a heart attack.

Marion, a botanical illustrator, and husband of 48 years, Tom, are both familiar to us as the contributors of the “Orchid Genera Illustrated” column in the AOS monthly magazine Orchids. Also, Marion’s superb watercolors shine forth in the significant 1994 hardcover book, (421 pages), “An Illustrated Survey of Orchid Genera” as well as some 40 other books.

The AOS will soon be publishing a definitive Encyclopedia of Cultivated Orchid Species and Marion had been preparing 300 line drawings to augment the 2000 color photographs.

Besides her husband Tom, Marion is survived by one son & daughter.



The August 6th monthly meeting will be your last opportunity to register and pay for our upcoming educational field trip. On September 26th we will attend the Quail Gardens Orchid Sale in San Diego. The sale is a fund raiser for Quail Gardens and is the result of the efforts of Greg Luetticke of Luetticke Orchids and Billy Baker of Billy Baker’s Orchids. The San Diego Orchid Society, the Palomar Orchid Society and the Cymbidium Society will have booths at the sale. The trip will include a stop at the San Diego Zoo for a guided tour of orchid sites on the grounds and their newly refurbished orchid house. The $115 per member fee for this experience includes round trip airfare from Phoenix, bus transportation to the Gardens and addmission to the zoo. Upon arrival at Quail Gardens each paid member will be reimbursed $65 in cash to help with the shopping! Watch the September newsletter for flight information, departure time and meeting location. Please call Keith Mead at 496-5762 to reserve your place for what promises to be a great day.



1998 Orchid Society of Arizona membership cards will be available to all paid members at the August 6th meeting. Please see Keith Mead for your card.



Vic Polk, a long_time member of OSA, has graciously donated a flask of Dendrobium Joseph Teresi for our use. To that end, our August program will be a demonstration on deflasking the seedlings and potting them up.

As many of you know, deflasked seedlings need a little extra care to insure they establish their root system and grow properly. The seedlings need higher humidity than can be afforded growing exposed on your windowsill.

This does not mean you cannot grow and nurture a seedling, it just means that adjustments need to be made to insure their growth.

One example of insuring the necessary humidity is available to the seedlings is a simple little "greenhouse" which can be constructed with very little trouble, and with items you already have around your home. The materials needed to construct this "greenhouse" is a plastic milk jug (preferably a one_gallon milk jug) which has been well cleaned, a clear plastic bag, a handful of rocks or gravel (I use pumice stone), and a small wire or plastic mesh to fit the inside bottom of the jug. If you have these items, you can prepare a WONDERFUL little greenhouse environment for your little seedling to be very happy in!


We will be demonstrating how to make one of these "greenhouses", in addition to the deflasking and potting of the seedlings. If you would like to make a greenhouse to take home with you, please bring your clean milk jug and hopefully we'll have enough of the other materials to get you set up.


I hope all who wanted one (or more) of Bernice's plants was successful at the July silent auction (and the live auction, too). Of all of her plants, I was unsuccessful in getting even one! However, the memories of the times I was graced by having known Bernice will live in my heart forever! Bernice was a special person, who always gave of herself to help those of us new to orchids, and to those of us who have grown orchids for years who still found an occasional challenge. She gave and gave and gave to OSA and our members in every way she could, and she will greatly missed, and always remembered. Enjoy and pamper those wonderful plants that were once Bernice's, and know she now takes great atisfaction in knowing her plants are being cared for by her OSA family!


I want to take just a little of your time to thank those of you who brought plants for Show and Tell. I also wish to apologize for not allowing the time for us to be told about the GORGEOUS orchids you brought for the display! I think so many people were eagerly bidding on the silent auction that it overtook the evening's itinerary! I will try to rectify this problem. The Show and Tell plants are very important to our members _it not only gives us a chance to see various orchids in bloom, but it gives us encouragement to achieve the same results. I want to encourage anyone to bring their plants for Show and Tell. Again, I apologize for not getting around to Show and Tell and hope to see all of those beautiful blooming orchid displays at our future meetings.


Stay cool _or at least try to keep your orchids cool!

Lou Ann Remeikis






Wilella Stimmell


Our July 2 meeting was well attended by members and guests who were apparently more interested in bidding on plants donated by the family of our late, beloved Secretary, Bernice Ehrlich, than they were in July 4th holiday festivities. Bernice would be pleased to know that we raised many dollars from the sale of her plants. We placed 130 plants on the silent auction, 2 special plants were reserved for a live auction during the meeting, and 12 plants were placed on the raffle table. Non-plant items, such as back issues of ORCHIDS magazine and ORCHID DIGEST, were also placed on the raffle table. Future raffles will feature other such items donated by Bernice's family. Other non-plant items will be sold at our November 14 & 15 show and the remainder placed in our Annual December Live Fund-raising Auction.


Silent auction sales on July 2 generated $797 for our treasury, and the live auction of the two special plants, ably conducted by Lou Remeikis, generated $100. It was unanimously decided at OSA's June 28 board meeting, that the proceeds from the live auction would be an additional donation to the AFGC Scholarship Fund in memory of Bernice. Our sincere thanks to the OSA members who assembled at Bernice's greenhouse on June 28, gathered up the plants, tended them, and brought them to our meeting: Ann Cherny, Jane Heckel, Kathleen Luther, Keith Mead, Lou Remeikis, and Peggy Stejskal. Jane had the distinct pleasure of entering Bernice's greenhouse at the very moment the misters turned on and...she looked like a drowned rat! One of Bernice's children had apparently set the misters so that the maximum amount of water would be dispersed. Though her clothes were soaked and her hair was matted, Jane laughed at her "good fortune" and never missed a beat at gathering up the plants she agreed to tend.


Thanks is also due Leith Plunkett and Natalie Warford. Leith hauled non-plant items from Bernice's house to Natalie's garage, and Natalie is storing the items. To date, OSA has commandeered half of Natalie's garage! To accommodate the new "load", we needed to remove the many cartons of cotton batting we had saved from previous plant shipments. Natalie contacted the Episcopal Church Women of The Episcopal Parish of St. Barnabas on the Desert, 6715 N. Mockingbird Lane, Scottsdale, and the ECW Chairman, Mary Heldenbrand, picked up ten 39-gallon bags which were filled to capacity (and beyond) with the cotton batting. The batting will be used to make items for the ECW Christmas Bazaar. Thanks to Natalie, the cotton batting was not wasted. The handicrafters were pleased to receive our donation and wrote us a letter of thanks. (ANY group that could use the cotton batting we accumulate from plant shipments, is welcome to have it.)


If any OSA member knows about a group that would appreciate a donation of polyfill for use in making handicrafts, feel free to let any OSA board member know. The first name we receive will get the next accumulation of "fluff". All we require for our records - to account for what happened to the cotton batting - is a simple note of thanks from the group receiving our donation.)


The July meeting was Suz Cramer's last regular meeting with us. Many of you already know that she is moving back to Telluride, Co., at the end of July. She has had made several trips north with her belongings, and in her absence from Phoenix, Norma Kafer has been tending OSA's plants in our greenhouse, which is still on Suz's property. Norma has volunteered to become the new caretaker of OSA's greenhouse, and in October, when we hope the outside temperature is less furnace-like, we will hold a greenhouse-raising party to move the greenhouse to Norma's property. We will present details on "the move" in the September newsletter. Norma lives even closer to the Valley Garden Center than Suz lived, so our sale plants will be easier to haul to the VGC.


Donations on our July raffle table were received from: an anonymous non-member, OSA, Anne Connor, the family of Bernice Ehrlich, Julie Rathbun, and me. Thanks to all donors and to members and visitors who purchased raffle tickets.


MEMBERS ON THE MEND: I announced at our July meeting that Vic Polk had broken a hip and leg and was still hospitalized, that Phun Krieger was going to have gall bladder surgery the following week, and that Pam Albright and Lu Robinson had had knee replacement surgery. You will be pleased to know that Vic is home from the hospital and mending, that Phun has gone back to work following a brief convalescence, that Lu is recovering, and that Pam Albright's new knees are working well.


JIM JOHNSON attended our July meeting, and we all gave him a round of applause in grateful appreciation for his design of OSA'S NEW WEB SITE! Jim said in an e-mail message, "What started out as a simple web site, quickly turned into a monster!" We appreciate Jim's expertise in web site design, and we are very proud of our web site! It contains comprehensive information designed for orchid growers in the low desert, and it also contains outstanding graphics and...music! There are two addresses for our web site: http://members.spree.com/jimni/orchids/osa.htm and a shorter address, which will "fetch" the first address: welcome.to/orchidsocietyaz One of the Master Gardener's who checked out our web site, stated: "Orchids in cyberspace - I love it!"


OSA LIBRARY ADDITION: Lou Remeikis took charge of binding the ICONES PLANTARUM: ORCHIDS OF COSTA RICA, authored by Dr. John Atwood. The Orchid Identification Center donated the work to OSA in grateful appreciation for OSA's monetary donation to OIC. The funds were used to purchase a badly needed herbarium scanner. If any OSA member would like to check out the ICONES from OSA's library, see Kathleen Luther, our Librarian, at our meetings. When you see the size of the ICONES, you will know that binding the work was not an easy task. Thanks, Lou!




OSA T-SHIRTS: If you have not yet purchased our "official" t-shirt, you will surely want to do so before our field trip to San Diego on September 26. Give me a call (947-8479) before our August or September meetings, tell me the size you need, and whether you want the fully colored shirt or the kit with paints or...both! I will bring the shirt(s) to the meeting of your choice. The cost to members of either shirt is $15.00. Those of us who have "our" t-shirts, will be wearing them on September 26!


BACK ISSUES of "The Arizona Orchidist" available for the current year: If you joined OSA in mid-year, you are welcome to request back issues of our newsletter. If you cannot attend regular meetings, we are amenable to sending the back issues to you via post. Contact Keith Mead (496-5762) who has been mailing our newslettersthis year or Jane Heckel (839-6696), OSA Secretary.


NEW VGC DIRECTOR: The ink was not yet dry on the letter I wrote to Bill Carls, the President of the VGC Executive Committee, wherein I appointed Anne Connor to be our Director on the VGC Board of Directors. At the July 2 meeting of the VGC Board, Anne was elected Junior Trustee, which left the position of OSA Director, vacant. NELDA CALDWELL has graciously accepted the position as OSA's Director on the VGC Board of Directors. Nelda is a Master Gardener and, like Norma Kafer, 2nd VP of the VGC Executive Committee, is concerned about the continued viability of the Valley Garden Center. Both Nelda and Norma live in the Encanto area.


OSA TO PARTICIPATE IN THE MASTER GARDENERS' LOW DESERT CONFERENCE AT THE WIGWAM RESORT: At the June 28th OSA Board Meeting, it was unanimously decided that OSA should participate in the Low Desert Conference at the Wigwam Resort, Litchfield Park, on August 7th and 8th. For this event, we will not mount a display. We will sell books and blooming plants, as well as distribute free culture information. Your OSA board also decided that since our August 6 meeting is the day before the start of the LDC, that we would purchase ADDITIONAL PLANTS FOR SALE TO OUR MEMBERS AND VISITORS AT OUR AUGUST MEETING.


Also at our August meeting: Look for two special bare root divisions of Lc. Jungle Elf 'Cheryl Isobe' AM/AOS. Deacon Bell sent the divisions via his recent visitors to Santa Fe, for our raffle table! His mounted plant was in need of either being mounted onto a larger slab of cork or being divided. Deacon chose to donate divisions of the plant to us. At the time he made the divisions, his plant was in bloom. The sepals and petals of the flowers are yellow with light flecks of rose, and the color of the lip is rose.


UPDATE ON THE AFGC SCHOLARSHIP FUND IN MEMORY OF BERNICE EHRLICH: 18 individuals and OSA donated $1000.00 to the AFGC Scholarship Fund in memory of Bernice Ehrlich. All donations have been turned over to the AFGC Treasurer, Amy Emary. AFGC usually awards $750 per scholarship student per semester. We have written a letter to Amy in which we stated that the full $750 should be paid out to a scholarship candidate of our choice, for the 1998/1999 fall semester. The remaining $250 will remain on deposit drawing interest in the AFGC Scholarship Fund until the 1999 spring semester, at which time OSA will add the additional $500 necessary to award a scholarship for the spring semester.


OSA has also awarded Kristin Huisinga, our scholarship candidate for 1997/1998, a $500 scholarship for the 1998 fall semester (Kristin's final semester of graduate work at Northern Arizona University). We are pleased to share our excellent financial health with the youth of Arizona, and every OSA member can take pride in the fact that we value education. Of the AFGC candidates eligible for AFGC scholarships, we select the student whose field of study most closely matches our interests, whose need for funds is documented, and whose grade point average exceeds 3.0.



NEW PUBLICATION AVAILABLE FOR VIEWING AT OUR AUGUST MEETING: Jack Kramer, a prolific horticultural author, has grown orchids for over thirty-five years. He wrote his first book on growing orchids at home, in 1965. Some of you probably own culture books written by Mr. Kramer. The subject of his latest orchid tome is: BOTANICAL ORCHIDS AND HOW TO GROW THEM. There are color photographs (many are courtesy of Trudi Marsh) and illustrations together with descriptions and cultural information on how to grow over 350 different species (as opposed to hybrids) orchids. This is a user-friendly book that minimizes taxonomy in favor of practical information for the successful cultivation in the home or greenhouse of species orchids.


In "Appendix 2", page 191, Mr. Kramer states that he has utilized the classification system of orchids devised by Dr. Robert A. Dressler because many orchid scientists consider the Dressler system as the "correct" one. (Dr. Dressler will be our speaker at our November 5th meeting.)


CULTURE CORNER: Those who purchased plants of Brassia Edvah Loo at our June 4th monthly meeting might be interested to know more about the culture of this magnificent brassia. The following information was posted on the Question and Answer page of OSA's web site:


Brs. Edvah Loo is a primary hybrid of two species: Brassia longissima and Brassia gireoudiana.


"Brassias, with their exotic fragrances and striking flowers that resemble spiders, are native to Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Brazil, and Peru. Brs. species and hybrids thrive in intermediate to warm climates and are good choices for the low desert. Ample air circulation and humidity of a minimum of 40% around the plant, will help ensure success in maintaining your plant's health. A number of orchids are sensitive to location, including brassias. In general, they can be grown with cattleyas or a mixed collection of intermediate to warm growers.


While the plant is in active growth, continue to provide ample, weakly-fertilized water. Cut back on watering after the new growths have matured (possibly by late Fall), but do not let the medium dry out completely. This will stimulate the plant to initiate the flowering sequence. After new flower spikes appear, resume liberal watering.


If the roots of the new growth would have no room to grow inside the pot, then after the plant is finished blooming, it can be repotted. Veteran orchid growers subscribe to the philosophy that every time an orchid is repotted, it is 'set back' (bloom time may be delayed or absent altogether in a growth cycle, and the vigor of the plant itself may take some time to recover). Brassias, like a number of other orchids, do not 'like' to have their roots disturbed, so only repot it when you think it is absolutely necessary (that is, if the medium has decomposed and/or there is no room for the roots of the new growth in the pot)."


For historical perspective on Brassia gireoudiana cultivation, one of the species used in the Brs. Edvah Loo hybrid, growers might find interesting the comments by George H. Pring noted in the AOS BULLETIN, June,1939, page 6: "My first collections of this species were made in the province of Chiriqui, near the Costa Rican border, in 1927. The finest plants were found at the time of flowering in February, along the banks of the river Caldera. They seem to prefer the small trees, which overhang the river or line the gulleys leading to it. Their favorite spot is on moss covered branches; the various-sized plants from seedling to mature specimens, attaching themselves by preference to the extended branches rather than along the trunk. In their chosen location they obtain a generous amount of sunlight in the early morning and late afternoon.


The genus is of no commercial importance... They adapt themselves readily to cultivation. ..."


Mr. Pring also notes that the genus Brassia is named in honor of William Brass, an early orchid collector.


While gireoudiana prefers higher elevations (3000-4000 feet), the other species used in the hybrid Brs. Edvah Loo is longissima, which grows at sea level.


Do Orchids take in food only through their Roots???


[ed note - the following article, on foliar feeding was extracted from The Arizona Orchidist Newsletter, Feb ’71, which took it from the Orchid Digest, Jan-Feb ’71, “Orchid Leaves, by Yeoh Bok Choon, which took it from the Orchid Society of Southwest Asia Bulletin, July ’70.]


A - Many view the idea of foliar feeding, [apply fertilizer, e.g. spray, onto leaves of a plant - ed], with great scepticism and frank disbelief. But the use of radio-active isotopes of Potassium and the tracking of their migration from leaves to stem to roots and back again, have proved beyond doubt that foliar absorption is a fact and not a wild theory.


Foliar absorption is also much more efficient than root absorption. It has been estimated that if chemicals are fed to the roots, 10 percent is absorbed and 90 percent is wasted or held in the soil. In foliar feeding, 90 percent is absorbed and only 10 percent is wasted. The efficiency of foliar absorption is very clear. The orchid has not suddenly changed its habits but has been doing this ever since the beginning of plant life; only, until now, we had not the means to discover the process.


The top of the orchid leaf is thicker than the bottom side and is covered with a slightly waxy layer. This allows water to run off the upper layer of the leaf more easily and displeases the foliar feeder who would like the chemicals to stay longer on the top of the leaf. Adding a wetting agent or a detergent to the chemicals is thus done to help overcome the wax barrier.


The underside of the orchid leaf, being the thinner and lacking the waxy layer, absorbs water and chemicals much more quickly than the upper. So that is where one should spray the chemicals for foliar feeding, [ed note - as well as for pesky bugs hiding underneath!!].


[ed note - Is the aforementioned information out-of-date and now incorrect? No!! The following information, section B, C; D, shows paraphrased excerpts from various publications during the 80's and on thru 1994, which further substantiate the fertilizing technique as legitimate.]


B - The following paraphrased excerpts were compiled by Robert M. Hamilton, Richmond, B.C.,Canada, and published in 1988, in the THE NEW ORCHID DOCTOR, page 34,35.


"...experiments show that 90% of the total potential absorption capable into an orchid leaf occurs within 30 seconds if the leaf is moist." Orchid Advocate, page 80, 1980. "cattleya leaf intake can be vividly demonstrated with radioactive phosphate moving into the leaf, then to the pseudobulb." AOS BULLETIN, 1985, page 974.


"controversy exists: one group believes it works, another doubts it and both are right to a degree because the run- off to the roots is half an hour after application on large plants, so the assumption is that other elements can be absorbed by the same pathway. Also, algae can be a build-up problem on the leaves in foliar feeding." THE FLORIDA ORCHIDIST, 1983, p. 11.


More proof: experiments showed that a cattleya hybrid absorbed a trace chemical through the leaves which suggests other nutrients will also be absorbed; mid morning is the best time to apply." AUSTRALIAN ORCHID REVIEW, 1982, page 107; AOS BULLETIN 1984, p.210 and 1986, p. 719.


More proof: cattleya leaves and roots absorbed derivatives from phosphoric acid; absorption thru the leaves was transmitted to the pseudobulbs within 24 hours." ORCHID BIOLOGY, Vol. II, 1982, p. 209.


Other plants: "'Liquid Sunshine' formula = as used by rhododendron growers: 1 pint corn syrup (Dextrose), 1 pint hot water, 2 oz. seaweed liquid concentrated fertilizer, plus trace elements; mix well; use 4 teaspoons; has been used successfully on seedlings; fish emulsion may be substituted for the seaweed product." THE ORCHID ADVOCATE, 1982 , p. 73; 1983, p. 147.


Special mixes: "sugar sprays - these caused cymbidiums to bloom earlier with a stronger solution: 1 pint Karo corn syrup, 4 oz. fish emulsion or seaweed+fish fertilizer, 1 teaspoon boric (borassic) acid, 12 oz. water; mix well, use 4 teaspoons as a booster starting in June." THE ORCHID ADVOCATE, 1984, p. 85.


"sugars = use a mist sprayer to apply a solution containing 1 teaspoon of regular fertilizer plus two teaspoons of sugar at time of spiking; dilute molasses can also be used." THE ORCHID ADVOCATE, 1982, p. 73.


"who uses it? = at Kew it is mostly used in preference to fertilizing in the pots." ORCHID REVIEW, 1987, p. 7.


C - From "Fertilizers and Feeding of Orchids", by T.J. Sheehan, Department of Environmental Horticulture, University of Florida, in PROCEEDINGS OF THE 13TH WORLD ORCHID CONFERENCE, 1990, New Zealand, p. 124:


"Can fertilizer be given effectively to orchids by applying to the foliage? There are two schools of thought here. Some people feel that it is effective because the runoff from the spray goes into the medium and is absorbed by the roots. Other people say it is an effective way to fertilize orchid plants because the leaves take up the nutrients. Actually, both are right because fertilizer can be taken up by the leaves and by the roots. Foliar application is a very affective [sic] means of applying nutrients. Studies in our laboratory using radioactive phosphorous on Cattleya trimos plants showed that if radioactive phosphorous was applied to a leaf, in 24 hours, 50% of the phosphorous applied could be recovered in the pseudobulb below the leaf where it was applied. Hence, it is obvious that foliar application of nutrients works.


Caution: When foliar applications are applied, the leaves should be rinsed with clear water the next day. This removes the excess nutrients and rinses them down into the medium. If you do not remove the excess nutrients, algae will grow on the leaves, reducing the amount of light reaching the leaf surface and eventually weakening the plant.


There is no hard fast rule to use as to when and how often fertilization should take place. There are a number of factors that effect [sic] fertilizer use by the plants, such as water amount and growing temperatures."


D - From ORCHID BIOLOGY, REVIEWS AND PERSPECTIVES, VI, edited by Joseph Arditti, New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1994, page 383:


"Foliar application of fertilizer is a common practice in ASEAN [sic] orchid farms. Its effectiveness has been confirmed with radioisotopes...It has been suggested that better results could be obtained if foliar application were carried out at night when stomata of Crassulacean Acid Metabolism (CAM) orchids are open... However, the advantages offered by open stomata should be balanced against the impracticality of asking workers to perform late evening and/or nocturnal fertilizer applications. Further, stomata are only one of the suggested routes for the entry of nutrients into plants during foliar feeding... For practical purposes, local farmers spray all leaves, particularly the under surfaces, to the point of a slight run off and also a directed spray to the root zone..."





FIRST V P - LOU ANN REMEIKIS ------ 892 - 0263

SECOND V P - NORMA KAFER -------- 252 - 6197

SECRETARY - JANE HECKEL ---------- 839 - 6696

TREASURER - KEITH MEAD ------------ 496 - 5762

EDITOR - KEN GETTYS ------------------ 548 - 9715




ANN CHERNY ------------ 948-7944

MARGA LEMAIRE -------- 596-1885

KATHLEEN LUTHER ----- 840-0698

PEGGY STEJSKAL -------- 957-3951