The Arizona Orchidist Newsletter 

published by

The Orchid Society Of Arizona, Inc.

Founding Editor Clarence S. Lindsten, 1966 



The Arizona Orchidist Newsletter September 1999

The next Board meeting will be held on Sunday, August 29, at Julie Rathbun's house.  Her address is 425 W. Port au Prince, Phoenix.
Phone:  602-843-0223 Time 1 P.M.

As always, the meeting is open to all members.

The next regular society monthly meeting will be Thursday, September 2, 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:  Gail Gesell (beverages) and Julie Rathbun and August Lorenzini (edible items).  Thank you Refreshment Committee.


mall and Beautiful -
A Discussion of Miniatures, Their Culture, and Growing Techniques
by Joe Civello

Joe, grows miniature orchids in a variety of ways and discusses his experiences encountered with these small versions of our favorite flower. If you do not have a greenhouse, or even if you do, learn about how you can make a home for more orchids when you have limited space.  There are also some very interesting species that only come in "small," even "tiny." You have seen Joe many times at our meetings as he is a member of OSA; however, we have missed Joe at most of the last few month's meetings due to his insistence of spending the hot months of summer in the northern Arizona pines.

Lou Ann Remeikis

This is the month!  The San Diego Orchid Fair!  Is anyone getting as excited as I am?  Our annual field trip is ALWAYS  a crowd pleaser - even if you don't buy one little orchid (although I've never seen that happen). For those of you going on the field trip with the group, the following is VERY IMPORTANT INFORMATION. Meet at the America West Main Ticket Counter NO LATER THAN 6:15 A.M!  Please do not be late!  As a group we will receive our tickets, boarding passes, and seat assignments-as done in previous years.  It is very important we are all together when this is done.  America West, and most other airlines, require a photo identification to obtain boarding so do not forget yours.
The America West flight number from Phoenix to San Diego is 2082 and departs at 7:35 A.M. The America West flight number from San Diego to Phoenix is 2091 and departs at 5:53 P.M..
A chartered bus will pick us up at the San Diego airport and take us to the Del Mar Fairgrounds for our orchid pleasures and will return us to the airport.  We will coordinate the time to meet prior to getting off the bus at the fairgrounds.  Don't forget your watch!!! If any members planning on obtaining their own transportation to San Diego, we estimate we will be at the fairgrounds around 10:00 AM.  Should any of you need to catch the bus in San Diego to get a ride to the fairgrounds, you should meet us at the arrival gate of flight 2082.  According to America West, we will arrive in San Diego at 8:52 A.M.  (FYI, we arrive back in
Phoenix at 7:08 P.M.) Keith Mead-our Treasurer-will no doubt be the most popular person upon our arrival at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.  At that time he will distribute $50.00 cash to all members to spend as they wish.  It's like having a little savings account ready and waiting for you!  I know we will all have a great time and leave San Diego anticipating next year's trip!

It was sooooo cute to see Calli, Julie Yocum's daughter, "Show and Tell" her phalaenopsis!  I wish I had been that uninhibited when I was her age-a long time ago!  We look forward to her next "Show and Tell."  Thanks to all for bringing in your blooming plants for us to drool at-they are all GORGEOUS !!!

What about that raffle table last month?  And the silent auction?  We had a beautiful selection on both!  Many thanks go to Willie Stimmell, Jane Heckel, August Lorenzini, Deacon Bell, Bernice Ehrlich's family, and the Orchid Society of Arizona for the donations to the raffle table.  It was quite a success, and "beginner's luck" rang true for Nikki Barker and her mother, Lorraine.  It was their first time at one of our meetings, and after purchasing raffle tickets, they both went home with multiple winnings! Silent Auction plants went like hotcakes!  I guess we should get a few more paphs from time to time.  It seems many people were interested in outbidding others for those.  I hope all of your orchids have opened their buds by now and you are enjoying their blooms!

Speedy recovery wishes to Ramona Szramek who had knee replacement surgery on August 16th.  We will miss Ramona and John for probably the next couple of months until she has recovered and rehabilitated enough to return to our activities.  Keith Mead is now doing better after his surgery, and I can't tell you how my own surgery went as it hasn't happened at the time of this
writing.  I'll say goodbye to my gallbladder on Wednesday (August 18th). I'm sure I will be healed up enough by the time we have our next meeting!

OSA Board members, general members, and a few guests had a great time at the Veteran's Administration Medical Center when the Board meeting was held at that location on Saturday, August 7th.  Three vehicles made the caravan packed completely full of donations.  Where there was room, we managed to put a few people in the vehicles.  I must say the trip home was more comfortable than the trip to Prescott was.  The greenhouse at the VAMC, which was donated to them by OSA many years ago, is FABULOUS !!!  We are
trying to find out the particulars on how OSA donated the greenhouse to them.  If any of our members happen to remember the circumstances of this greenhouse donation, please get with me or Willie and fill us in on it.  For a more in-depth writing of our visit to the VAMC, see the article in this newsletter written by Jane Heckel.  I just want to know when we can go again!

If you are planning a DRIVING trip to the Los Angeles area in the near future and would have room-and are willing-to bring back a few boxes of orchid literature/publications  to our library,  please contact me.  The Society is the lucky recipient of some special books, which have graciously been donated to us by Del Pace, one of our very own members. Del, as many of you know, lives in the Los Angeles area, Panorama City to be exact.  The weight of the books prohibits a reasonable shipping fee and we are seeking
a way to get them here with as little inconvenience to someone traveling to that area.  Please and thank you!

I wish to thank some "behind the scenes" helpers to OSA.  Although there are many members who contribute on a regular basis, and for that I am grateful, at this time I want to thank, on behalf of OSA, Jim Gordon, Keith Mead, and Nancy Burnett.  Several members write the text that goes into the newsletter, but it is Jim Gordon who saves us a BUNDLE by donating the use of his copy machine for the newsletter.  Keith does SO much for OSA, but his newsletter function is getting the copies made, and readying them for mailing (folding/taping/labeling/stamping/sending).  Without the exceptional abilities of Nancy Burnett, our Editor, the newsletter would not be put together.  She takes the articles submitted to her, and adds her little touches, graphics, arrangements, etc., and makes it look GREAT!  It is Nancy who handles the printing of the color pages of our newsletter.  I thought it would be nice for our membership to know who is responsible for the newsletter we are always anxious to receive each month.   I am very proud
and pleased with The Arizona Orchidist and all the work that goes into it by these three people. Thanks!

See you at the September meeting.

by Wilella Stimmell, CSP Coordinator

Continuing our series of programs for the Children's Departments in Phoenix libraries, Shirley Engberg, Kathleen Luther, Bob MacLeod, and I presented our hands-on program on July 20 at the Saguaro Branch Library, 2808 N. 46th Street.  A few of the children's parents observed the activity during the program, and one of the parents reported after the potting "mess" had ended that she had learned more during our program than she had ever known about orchids!  She said that for years she had been bringing orchids back from Hawaii and killing them, and she thought she learned from us where she had gone wrong in caring for her orchids.  Parents and children thanked us for doing our program, and the children said that they had also had fun! Adrian and Maureen, two youthful Library Assistants at Saguaro, assisted us in the repotting portion of the program, and with their able assistance, we were able to quickly clean up the mess we made during the program.  Bob MacLeod delighted our helpers by giving them two keikis from a blooming dendrobium he had brought for the display table. This was the first program we have presented where a boy did NOT want to get his hands dirty! Shirley Engberg offered to pot the boy's seedling for him. He happily accepted her help!
For the programs at the libraries, we have given each child a phalaenopsis culture sheet to take home. (When we present programs in classrooms, and the children leave their plants in the rooms, we give their teachers each a copy of Bob Gordon's phalaenopsis culture book. However, with 120 children signed up for the library programs, we thought that since they would each be taking their plants and mini-greenhouses home, a culture sheet was more appropriate.)  We have the address for our web site listed on our culture sheets.  When asked for a show of hands of how many of the 30 children had internet access, half of them raised their hands!
On July 27 at 2 P.M., Shirley Engberg, Keith Mead, and I presented the last program of the library series at Yucca Branch Library, 5648 N. 15th Avenue. Thirty eager children with milk jugs in hand filed into the room and, with a minimum of confusion, took their seats.  These children were optimistic. They did not ask what they should do with their plants IF they outgrew the mini-greenhouses; they asked what they should do with their plants WHEN their seedlings grew too large to fit into the milk jugs! The "prize" for making the least mess surely goes to the children who attended this program.  When they were finished potting their seedlings, only a few pieces of bark were present on the newspapers that covered the tables. In a letter received by OSA after the last of the library programs, Deborah Pillow, the Library Assistant who had contacted us and set the schedule for the July programs, stated: "It was a true pleasure to work with OSA this summer.  On behalf of our library system and the many youngsters who attended, I want to thank OSA for the excellent programs you presented.  What a thrill for each child to take home a mini-terrarium, complete with an orchid seedling!  You gave such an interesting AND informative presentation-geared just right for our audiences.  I know how much time and effort you and other OSA members
devoted during hot summer days on our behalf, and we are most grateful!"

OSA participated in the Southwestern Low Desert Conference, which is sponsored by University of Arizona, Maricopa County Cooperative Extension. On July 30, Keith Mead and I presented "Orchids as Houseplants in the Low Desert - with an Emphasis on Presentations for Elementary School Children" to an audience of approximately 40 educators.  Our program was divided into three parts:  a brief overview of orchids with references to the blooming plants on display and how we structure our programs for school children; a
presentation of transparencies of pictures taken during our various school programs; and a question and answer period.   Keith was in charge of showing the transparencies with an overhead projector.  After the conclusion of our program, many of the educators crowded around our display table and asked us one-on-one questions.  We believe the program was well received, and we have
already had inquiries for scheduling programs at schools.
A copy of the summary of the program we presented at the Low Desert
Conference is available to any OSA member who requests one. The summary was published in the bound "Proceedings" from the conference.

On September 17, we will present two programs at Madison Rose Lane
Elementary School, 1155 E. Rose Lane, Phoenix.  The first program will be presented at 9:30 A.M. for a 1st grade class of approximately 25 students; and the second program, with an equal number of students, will be presented at 10:30 A.M. for a 2nd grade class.  We need at least 4 OSA members to assist the children in repotting the orchid seedlings we donate to them! (Madison Rose Lane had requested that we present programs before the end of the school session in June. Unfortunately we were fully booked.) On September 20, we will present a program for the  Scottsdale Welcome Wagon Garden Group.  The presentation is scheduled for 10:15 A.M.  This meeting of the garden group will be hosted by Louise Hartung, 11219 E. Palomino Road, Scottsdale.  The audience will be composed of adults interested in plants and will not feature a hands-on potting session.  We will, however, hold a
door prize drawing for a blooming plant.  Any OSA member who wishes to donate a blooming plant is encouraged to do so!  Bring the plant to our September meeting. On October 1, we will present two programs at Scales Development School, 1115 W. 5th Street,  Tempe.  Suzanne Hobby-Gregory, the teacher who requested a  program for her 4th grade class at the school, was a member of
the audience at our  presentation on July 30 at the Low Desert Conference. The second program on October 1 will be presented for a multi-age class at Scales School.  Suzanne stated in an e-mail message that there would be a total of approximately 60 children and "All of the children know about plants and growing things, have started a compost pile, and will be thrilled to have an orchid plant of their own, as most of the children are VERY poor."  Suzanne further stated that she started saving milk jugs the day
after our presentation at the Low Desert Conference!  The time of day the two programs will be presented will be announced in our October newsletter. We need at least 4 OSA members to assist the children in repotting the orchid seedlings we donate to them!
On October 9, we are taking our Youth Education Programs "on the road"...to Landers, California!  As Keith noted in his article in the August issue of The Arizona Orchidist, Gubler Orchids is holding its annual Orchid Fair the weekend of October 9.  OSA will participate in the Fair by presenting two programs on Saturday, October 9.  Chris Gubler will handle reservations for the children who will participate in our hands-on program AND will provide most of the supplies that OSA furnishes for programs in Arizona schools. Using Gubler's seedlings, fir bark, lava rocks, and pots, OSA members will assist children in repotting their seedlings at 10 A.M. and at 2 P.M.  We will haul over to the Fair as many empty milk or water jugs as we can accumulate between now and October 8.  OSA members who cannot otherwise assist in this adventure are encouraged to bring empty plastic gallon water jugs or DEODORIZED milk jugs to our September 2 and/or October 7 meetings. We are in need of 60 jugs to fashion into mini-greenhouses. We are still working out details for three other programs--two have been requested from Arizona schools (one in Ahwatukee and one in Mesa) and one program would be presented for a new camp for children who have experienced the death of a parent and/or sibling.  We hope to be able to accommodate these schools and the camp in 1999.

September 25
To San Diego - America West Flight 2082 departing Sky Harbor at 7:35 A.M. To Phoenix - America West Flight 2091 arriving Sky Harbor at 7:03 P.M. Please meet in Terminal 4 lower level lobby (ticketing) at the West end NO LATER THAN 6:15 A.M.

by Jane Heckel

Somehow I find myself writing this article for our newsletter.  I think Willie suggested it and Lou Ann, sensing a split second's hesitation on my part, jumped in and "delegated" the task to me.  I think she's picking up on some of our most recent past president's tricks-so beware!  They wanted the perspective of someone who had never visited the VAMC greenhouse before, and
I fit the bill-so here goes. The OSA members who drove to the VAMC on Saturday, August 7th, were Lou Ann Remeikis, Wilella Stimmell, Janet Jurn, Julie Rathbun, Shirley Engberg, Kathleen Luther, Karen Berger, Nelda Caldwell and her husband, Bob. Non-members attending included Cathy Cromell, who recently wrote an article in the July PHOENIX HOME &GARDEN on growing orchids-Willie style, and JoEllen Rispoli, who is a plant consultant in the Garden Shop at HomeBase in Scottsdale.  Pete and I had driven up on Friday to visit with some old friends and joined the group as they arrived.  We also had our spoiled baby along-Wuzzy.  Since he took part in an official OSA activity, he has been appointed our official mascot.  We even made a name badge for him which we pinned to his bandanna.  He was the perfect therapy pooch, going to all the vets who wanted to pet him.  At one point he scooted into the greenhouse by himself when someone went in, wandered up and down the aisles investigating and appreciating the marvelous array of the many-varied plants, and then sauntered to the door, patiently waiting to slip back out again when the next person opened it.  I know he had every bit as much fun as the rest of us. It was a perfect Prescott day with clear skies, balmy breezes and temps in the mid 80s - and NO RAIN!  We all marveled at the size of the VAMC
greenhouse which was surrounded on one side by a huge rose garden in full bloom and on the other side by an enormous vegetable garden with corn, tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants and berry bushes - to name a few.  In the front of the greenhouse was a long park-like area with pathways between the grass and flowerbeds and a group of fruit trees at the far end.  Not the usual citrus of the valley, but Bartlett pears, peaches and apples.  This secluded haven was actually only a small part of the VAMC grounds which had
several large buildings housing at least 250 vets.  According to Betty Stephens, Lead Recreational Therapist and the main gal coordinating our visit with Willie, their needs are varied.  While some require hospitalization, others with long term acute needs reside in the care center.  Another large group, consisting of 100 or more, have mainly out-patient needs but no place to stay.  The domiciliary was created for them and is unique to the Prescott VAMC. I thought it would be of interest to OSA members to give a little history on our involvement with the Prescott VAMC.  Although Willie has been very active over the years in supporting the center with programs and supplies, she was not sure exactly how or when it all started, but thought it might have been in the mid-80s.  I called some of our long-time members (thank you Joe Freasier, Pearl Bays, and Ken Gettys) and jiggled the memory cells in their brains.  Evidently, one of the OSA members lived in Prescott and several others would spend the summer months up there.  There was an old WWII vet at the center who got an idea to grow orchids and somehow got together with one of these members.  There already was a greenhouse on the grounds and when a small group of our members went to check it out, they found a bit of a mess.  They decided to help clean it up, donate some plants and get them started in this addictive hobby we all share, and we've been helping ever since.  I understand that the current structure is not that same greenhouse, but have not been able to find out how they got it and our involvement, if any, in its erection.  Betty said she would look through the old scrapbooks in the VAMC and Pearl offered to pull out her old OSA newsletters and see if she could find any info for us.  We will share that info with everyone at a later date.  Both Pearl and Willie have shared the
story of the vet who never spoke.  He became fascinated with the orchids and began asking questions and eventually was cured of his muteness.  Although they grow many different plants now, the greenhouse continues to provide a place for therapy and healing.
Quite a few of the residents, as well as caregivers Donna and Carol, joined us throughout the day.  Milton made a special effort to come out for our visit.  He had been the "main man" in the green- house until he needed to transfer to the acute-care area a couple of months ago and has been unable to get out there since then.  Bill, who is now in charge, was happy to show off what was growing and blooming and to gather ideas for improvements. Several residents came by wheelchair and some were driven over in the transport vans.  Some wanted to talk about their greenhouse and ask questions about orchids, while others were just happy to be out of doors on such a day and were content to watch the activities.  One such activity was when Julie Rathbun took a saw to the VERY LARGE specimen of a C. Portia Cannizaro.  It had actually cracked the pot it was in.  Then Janet, Kathleen, Shirley and I helped pot up the 3 divisions - which were still pretty impressive in size when we finished. One emotion was evident throughout  the day and that was gratitude for our visit and the greenhouse supplies and personal items we brought.  Many of
our members sent donations even though they could not join us and I could not even begin to list all the items and who sent what so please forgive me if I miss something.  I know OSA sent bark, cotton batting, as well as all the remaining AOS calendars.  Deacon Bell sent a kilo of NZ sphagnum moss and Nelda donated over 200 corsage tubes and also purchased bark mix from Baker's nursery.  She even got Baker's into the mood and they made a
donation as well!  Julie Rathbun brought up lava rock.  Some members, such as Shirley Engberg, even purchased orchids at our silent auction to bring; others, such as Anne Connor, donated plants won on our raffle table, and there was a large cymbidium and colmanara that had been donated to OSA as well.  There were plenty of personal items:  Lou Ann had clothing and Willie, as usual, donated everything from plants to toothbrushes.  Many of
the vets present expressed heartfelt thanks for our generosity.  It truly does feel better to give than to receive. After a delicious luncheon (take-out from Subway) with beverages supplied by Willie and the Heckel's, along with my cake for desert (I really did remember how to bake), we had our Board meeting while sitting under the trees.  It was truly a delightful day.


3rd -   Lou Ann Remeikis
5th -   Steve Ahmann and Dennis Olivas
6th -   Ralph Tanner
8th -   Julie ann Yocum
11th -  Mary Lee Sturgeon
12th -  Dawn Kelm
20th -  Ken Gettys
28th -  Mary Shaffer



September 17 -  Madison Rose Lane Elementary School
September 20 -  Scottsdale Welcome Wagon Garden Group
September 25 -  San Diego Orchid Fair
October 1 -     Scales Development School
October 9 -     Youth Program at Gubler Orchids
November 13-14 -        OSA Orchid Show and Sale

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