The Arizona Orchidist Newsletter 

published by

The Orchid Society Of Arizona, Inc.

Founding Editor Clarence S. Lindsten, 1966 



The Arizona Orchidist Newsletter August 1999

The next Board meeting will be held on Saturday, August 7, at the Veteran's Administration Medical Center in Prescott.  A caravan will be forming at the Valley Garden Center between 7:30 AM and 8:00 AM that morning.  It will leave promptly at 8:00 AM.  For further details see From the President's Desk or Special Insert.  As always, the meeting is open to all members.

The next regular society monthly meeting will be Thursday, August 5, 1999, at the Valley Garden Center, 1809 N. 15th Avenue, Phoenix, Arizona, (phone 252-2120).  The meeting, open to all plant enthusiasts, will start at 7:00 p.m.

Refreshments will be provided by:  Jane Heckel and Janet Jurn (beverages) and Candy Pelz (edible items). Thank you Refreshment Committee.

Grower on Call for August is Jane Heckel at 480-839-6696.

OSA Web Site is



You bring your plant and pot!  OSA will provide the pre-soaked bark and all the assistance you need to learn how to repot your orchid.  A repotting clinic is something everyone can participate in.  From the novice to the experienced orchid grower, everyone has AT LEAST one orchid that needs repotting.  Some orchids need to be moved to the next size pot.  Some orchids need to be divided.  Some orchids just need fresh potting medium.

This clinic affords the experienced grower a designated time to
repot that orchid that has been desperately in need of transplanting, but you just haven't found the time to do it.  THIS IS THE TIME.  This is also an opportunity for the novice grower to observe and practice the correct techniques for repotting their own orchids.

Since OSA doesn't know the size of the orchid YOU have that needs
repotting, we are asking you to bring the pot of your choice for this project.  You know whether your orchid needs to be moved up to the next size pot or if your "baby" is happy in the same size pot.  Whatever pot you bring, make sure it has a hole (or holes) for proper drainage. 

Come to the meeting and share your knowledge - it is valuable!  Or, come to the meeting and learn one of the basic requirements to growing happy and healthy orchids - repotting!

Lou Ann Remeikis

I hope everyone enjoyed July's presentation of The Fatal Flower as
much as I did.  I hadn't seen this documentary before, and, quite frankly, I hadn't even heard of it; however, I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I think it was delightfully educational and, at times, humorous.  I apologize for the static heard over the audio portion, but I hope everyone found it worthwhile to watch!  It was pretty nice to have the big screen so we could view the video!

I want to thank those who donated raffle items at July's meeting.
The contributors were Nelda Caldwell, Willie Stimmell, Shirley Engberg, Alan Ladd, the family of Bernice Ehrlich, OSA, and me.  A big "thank you" also goes out to our three gals who sold raffle tickets:  Peggy Stejskal, Julie Rathbun, and Jane Heckel.  We had quite a few nice items on the raffle table, and we of course encourage all of you to contribute when possible.

I've been told that Deacon Bell really enjoyed the birthday card we sent him!  I know he misses us as much as we miss him, and I want to thank everyone who took a moment to sign his card.  I think it brightened his day when Willie took it to him on her annual jaunt to New Mexico.  I wonder if Willie had to pack the card in her luggage or took it as a carry-on!  Now that would have been a sight watching her maneuver that big card onto the airplane!

Willie has been busy conducting our community service programs.  Did you know that by the end of July OSA will have presented hands-on programs for over 750 Arizona school children!   This number does not take into account the programs that have been presented to adults -- just kids!  Every program has been such a success -- an attained goal we can be very proud of! 

Thanks to every member who has taken the time to assist with any of the programs.  Our community service programs are extremely rewarding to not only the audience but to the OSA members presenting the programs.  I wish to invite and encourage any of our members to contact Willie if they can assist with even one program!  Willie can be reached at 480-947-8479.

While on the subject of the community service programs, thanks go to Keith Mead for making sure Willie had the lava rocks needed for the recent programs.  OSA's supply was running short and Keith stepped in to save the day!  Thank you for the donation, Keith!  What would we do without you? Glad we don't have to find out!

OSA has received a very nice plant donation from a non-member.
Deborah Mulholland donated two large Colmanara orchids, each in 10-inch pots, to our Society.  Keith Mead accepted them on behalf of OSA. Apparently Deborah is a flight attendant for United Airlines and has recently relocated to the Phoenix area from Denver.  Deborah told Keith that due to her work schedule, and the fact she did not think her orchids liked the change from Denver to Phoenix, she made the decision to donate them to our Society.  I hope we have the opportunity to meet her at one of our meetings, should she be in town at the time, and thank her personally.


Although the deadline date of July 24th is past, we can still take
reservations with your non-refundable deposits.  I do not have the specific cut-off date for taking the non-refundable reservations, but I know we will definitely be able to take your reservation up until our August meeting. So, if you plan on attending the San Diego Orchid Fair, get with Keith as soon as possible so you don't forfeit the opportunity to go on this wonderful trip!


For those of you who are planning on making the trip to Prescott on August 7th to the Veteran's Administration Medical Center this is a reminder that the caravan will be meeting at the Valley Garden Center between 7:30 and 8:00 AM.  The caravan will be hitting the road at 8:00 sharp.  The Board members are due in Prescott at 10:00 AM to assist in the greenhouse.  There are a lot of the residents there looking forward to our visit and we do not
want to disappoint them by being late.  Up until August 7th, if anyone has donations for us to take to the VAMC, please contact one of the Board members and we will try to make arrangements to obtain your donations.  The residents at the VAMC are desperately in need of a great many items (all mentioned in previous newsletters) and are truly grateful for the generosity of OSA's members.

We want to thank Betty Stephens, Lead Recreational Therapist, for
all her help.  She has been our contact with the VAMC for the past five years.

After the Board assists in the greenhouse and delivers the goodies
to the VAMC, we will be holding our monthly Board meeting (ALL members ALWAYS welcome).  Our meeting will be held at the VAMC, weather permitting, at the picnic area outside of the VAMC's greenhouse.  We will also be using the picnic area appropriately -- we're having a picnic!   Please join us if you can.  I may even have to go to Bucky's Casino before coming back to the valley!  (If my husband doesn't stop me from dropping a few coins into the
slot machines!)

We will be conducting a Silent Auction at our general meeting on Thursday, August 5th.  We hope to have a nice variety of blooming or near blooming orchids for our "friendly" silent bidding.  Come see for yourself!!!

Keith Mead

On the afternoon of June 18th  Lou Ann Remeikis, Willie Stimmell, Karen Berger and I departed Phoenix on a trek to Gubler Orchids located outside of Landers, California.

We spent that night, Friday, in Palm Desert.  After an enjoyable and leisurely breakfast on Saturday morning, we loaded up Lou's Expedition for the last leg of our journey.  The fifty miles from Palm Desert to Gubler's has to be some of the most hostile, desolate real estate on earth.  Just when I was beginning to think we MUST have taken a wrong turn because nothing but snakes, lizards and chuckwalla's could possibly inhabit this area we saw the sign to Gublers.  There, on the edge of Joshua Tree National
Park, sat greenhouses.  We were warmly greeted (no pun intended) by Cecile (CeCe), a 23-year associate of Gublers, and we were soon joined by Chris Gubler.

The first building we entered (a 6300 square foot solar greenhouse) housed the retail sales area, boutique and row upon row of recently deflasked seedlings of  both orchids and carnivorous plants.  The structure resembles more of a sunroom than a greenhouse.  The frame, roof, and siding are made of bonded zinc and aluminum.  Less than 50 percent of the roof is glazed.  The walls are unglazed.  The interior walls, ceiling and benches
are white, allowing about 10 percent more sunlight to be reflected.  A series of single-glazed, fiberglass, solar-collecting vaults (similar to quonset houses) sits atop the greenhouse and runs the length of the building.  The vaults toward the rear of the building are about 3 feet tall and 3 feet wide.  The ones in the front are about 18 inches tall and 18 inches wide.  This enables Gubler to raise high-light requirement plants under 3000 footcandles and plants requiring much less light under 1500
footcandles.  Twin wall polycarbonate runs under each vaulted structure just above the greenhouse ceiling.  An acrylic diffuser panel, located underneath, filters sunlight as it enters the greenhouse.  A 9-inch layer of insulation in the walls and ceiling provide an R value of 30, which is about a third higher than the rating of a conventionally heated building. 

"We don't have the cooling problem in the summer because we don't
let the heat in."  (Wouldn't we all like that!) When the outside temperature is 115 to 120 degrees F, the inside temperature is about 91F.  Heating in the winter is accomplished by a series of blower fans mounted under the ceiling which collect warm air and transfer it into the floor through pipes that surface under the growing area.  The cost of heating this building is far less than a conventional greenhouse.

Our next stop was the 50,000 square foot, conventional, fiberglass
greenhouse.  Chris is in the final stages of completing the conversion of part of this building from a hydroponics system.  Final repairs are also being made to the extensive damage from the 1992 earthquake.  The road approaching Gublers was moved eleven feet by that earthquake.

The greenhouse utilizes a rolling bench system that allows an increase in growing area of 40 percent.  There appear to be very few aisles for the size of building; however, by rolling pipes under the benches the bench tops move to create an aisle and access to the plants wherever needed. The entire row of plants is moved with the turn of a wrist.  The requirement was that Chris's young niece had to be able to turn the pipes.  This building houses a large offering of orchids, bromeliads and tillandsia (aka
Spanish Moss).  Gubler is a major supplier of these plants to the retail market including HomeBase and Home Depot.  They also supply orchids to several Las Vegas casinos.

It was difficult to leave the greenhouse, but the next stop on the
tour made it worthwhile.  We were allowed to tour the lab and received a detailed explanation of the flasking process.  It was a memorable experience to view the hundreds of flasks containing thousands of seedlings..orchids you and I will no doubt be purchasing in the years to come.

Before departing we returned  to the greenhouse for some extended
shopping time.  We were all very thankful to have been treated to what was an all-day, personal tour of the operation conducted by Chris Gubler.

We look forward to returning for the Orchid Festival to be held
there on October 8th, 9th , and 10th....want to go along?

Note: credit for building construction notes should be given to a
July 1991 article published by Greenhouse Manager.

by Wilella Stimmell, CSP Coordinator

For many people, July is a vacation month.  Not so for OSA!

On July 6, at 2 p.m., Shirley Engberg, Debbie and Niki Hamilton,
Keith Mead, and I presented our orchid appreciation/hands-on program in the Children's Department at Burton Barr Central Library, 1221 N. Central Ave., Phoenix.

When we had scheduled this and the succeeding three programs at
branch libraries in the central library district, we had requested of library personnel that the programs be limited to 30 children per program. With four OSA members providing the hands-on assistance for the youngsters, it is not possible to give individualized attention to more than 30 children.  We did not imagine that the demand to be admitted to our program would be so great that Patty, the library staffer in charge of seating
reservations for the program, would report to us that she had told some parents that the program was already fully booked. Patty observed our presentation, and following the conclusion, asked us if we could do another program at the central library.  There were also parents who observed our program, and several of them requested that we present a program at various schools.

The children were clearly mesmerized by the blooming orchids on
display and excited about potting their seedlings.  They were not nervous when a camera man from Channel 5 filmed them working with their seedlings!

This is the first program where one of our youthful OSA members
assisted in the presentation. Niki Hamilton distributed supplies to each child and proved to be an excellent, experienced worker!  We hope Niki will help us with future programs.  Niki, age 7, is one of four OSA members under the age of 10.

On July 13, at 2 p.m., Nancy Burnett, Shirley Engberg, Keith Mead,
and I presented a program for children at the Century Branch Library, 1750 E. Highland, Phoenix.  The "conference" room at the library was much smaller than the room at the central library where we presented a program, and we considered it fortunate that not all 30 children who were registered for the program, were in attendance.  However, a small room filled with people certainly encourages friendliness! After the conclusion of the program, one
young boy, with a sad expression on his face, returned and showed us his UNpotted seedling.  He blamed his mother for dropping the milk-jug greenhouse in the parking lot.  We repotted the seedling and told the young man to NOT let his mother carry the plant.

Reports on the July 20 program at Saguaro Branch Library and July 27 program at Yucca Branch Library, and on OSA's participation in the Low Desert Conference on July 30, will appear in our September newsletter.

Any OSA member is cordially invited to assist in our program
presentations or to observe a program in progress. We have already scheduled a program for February 10, 2000!

If we did not limit the number of presentations we schedule per
month, we could find ourselves doing programs several days each week! However, we are pleased that there is such demand for our programs.  We are spreading the word that orchids are NOT difficult to grow in Arizona!

August Birthdays

7th     Ron Norman and
        Ashley Schwimmer
8th     Ann Cherny
13th    Al Hamilton
23rd    Vic Polk
24th    Joe Freasier

Happy Birthday Everyone!

OSA member profile in the June 4 edition of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin:
Wilbur Chang
Deep-rooted Passion for Orchids

A copy of this article will be available for viewing at the August meeting.

For "wired" members who want to read the article, visit the following web

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