The Arizona Orchidist Newsletter 

published by

The Orchid Society Of Arizona, Inc.

Founding Editor Clarence S. Lindsten, 1966 



October Newsletter

 The next regular society monthly meeting will be Thursday October 5th , 2000, at the Valley Garden Center, 1809 N. 15th Avenue, Phoenix, Arizona.  Phone: (602) 252-2120.  The meeting, open to all plant enthusiasts, will start at 7:00 PM.

October Program
 Problems of Phalaenopsis Culture and How to Solve Them - With Emphasis on Seedling Care

by Wilella Stimmell

Our speaker, Bob Gordon, is the eminent Phalaenopsis “evangelist” who has written several best-selling orchid culture manuals and a book for orchid writers.
Bob is a retired US Air Force Officer who lives with his bride, Alice, on a mountain top near Running Springs, CA. His Curriculum Vitae includes: “Past President (several times over) of the California Riverside-San Bernardino Counties Orchid Society” and Honorary Member of OSA for 20 years.

Members and guests who did not have the privilege of hearing Bob speak at our March, 1998 meeting, will hear a VERY lively presentation. His program will feature an open forum for questions and answers and perhaps, if time permits, he will show a few slides.

Newer OSA members might be interested to know that Bob DONATED AT LEAST 6 CASES of his books for use in our school programs! Each class receives a book which remains in the classroom, in the custody of the teacher.
  Copies of Bob’s books will be available for sale at the meeting, and he  will sign both new purchases and copies already owned by members and guests.
The URL for Laid-Back Publications is 

The speaker’s program from September’s meeting was so helpful to me.  As most of you probably have dendrobiums too, it was nice to get additional information from Dennis Olivas on what I should be doing (as opposed to what I AM doing) with my plants.  Dennis, who by the way is a member of our OSA family, answered some very good questions put forth by our members.  I, for one, was very pleased to have him speak to our group again.  Thanks Dennis!
OSA’s calendar is pretty busy in October.  I really hope YOU can volunteer to help at one or two of the events on our calendar!   October 6th a group of OSA members are off to the Morongo Basin Orchid Festival hosted by Gubler’s Orchids.  These participants will be conducting three “OrKIDS” clinics for the children on Saturday, October 7th.  October 14th OSA has been invited to Boyce Thompson Arboretum.  At Boyce Thompson we need a few volunteers to drive there for the day and man a table with display plants, and promote our November show.  If you can help, please sign up at October’s meeting.  The final event for October will be on the 22nd when OSA has a display set up at the Valley Garden Center for their Fall Festival.  I need one more person to help me at the VGC’s festival.

There are additional events that OSA is involved with for the month of October, however these are, for the most part, taken care of.  Help is always welcome for the Community Service Programs, and Willie maintains the schedule for this on-going project.  Willie and Julie Rathbun will be driving all the way to Harry Tolen’s Chula Vista Orchids in California during the last part of October to purchase and transport A LOT of orchids (in bud and blooming) for our show’s plant sale!  This trip is a BIG deal and contributes immensely to the success of our show - so thanks gals!

I found out recently that our website has 300 pages to it!  We also have received over 10,000 hits on the website, which is a pretty impressive number too.  None of this would be possible if it were not for the continued donation of time and effort on the part of our Webmaster and member Jim Johnson.  OSA, it’s Board Members and general membership really appreciate your hard work, Jim - thanks!
Show flyers are ready for pickup and distribution by our members.  Please take them to work, to your favorite nursery, church, or social group.  Willie Stimmell printed over 500 copies, saving me a whole lot of time.  Thank you Willie!  It is up to us, the members, to get the flyers out to the public so people know about our show.  Please do not take more than you are willing to distribute.  

Speaking of the show, a partial list of items needed for the displays is posted in this newsletter.  Although we do not need most of the items until set up day (Friday, November 10th, 9:00 am), we would appreciate it if you could bring any white sheets you can donate to the October meeting.  These should be sheets you do not need back as they will be dyed for the set display.  Kelly Thomas is needing them in advance so she can get them dyed and ready for set-up day.  Hint:  Second hand stores are good sources for used white sheets.

The West Central District will be meeting on October 20th at the Beefeater’s Restaurant, 300 W. Camelback, Phoenix.  Our very own Nelda Caldwell has volunteered to make a table centerpiece for OSA’s contribution.  Each gardener’s group provides a centerpiece for the luncheon tables which are auctioned off to the highest bidder at the end of the meeting.  Proceeds from this fundraising auction go to the Arizona Veteran’s Home.  If you are interested in attending this luncheon, please contact Marge Bayless at 602-277-1936.  Thank you Nelda for your efforts on our behalf!

I mentioned this at September’s meeting, but I again want to thank Willie for her diligent work in maintaining our 501 (c) (3) status with the Internal Revenue Service.  I know it took several days of patient communication with the “powers that be” to answer their questions to their satisfaction, but Willie and our attorney were successful in the end!  We are still a non-profit organization in the eyes of the IRS.

I look forward to seeing everyone at the meeting, October 5th!  Until then…
Happy Growing -
Lou Ann

Items needed for November’s “Heavenly Orchids” Show:  Angels, any size white sheets, plant stands, white wicker furniture, white birdbath(s), trellis, small white Christmas lights, small blue Christmas lights, white tissue paper and, of course, YOUR blooming orchids for the display!  PLEASE BRING SHEETS TO OCTOBER’S MEETING.

by Wilella Stimmell, CSP Coordinator

On Friday, September 15, SHIRLEY ENGBERG, BOB MACLEOD, JULIE RATHBUN, LOU ANN REMEIKIS, AND I presented Orchid 101 Programs for two 4th grade classes at HIGHLAND LAKES SCHOOL, 19,000 N. 63rd Ave., Glendale. The new school has a Glendale mailing address, but  is located in Deer Valley. All children in both classes were enthusiastic and relatively patient while they awaited their turn at the basins. (Each student rinsed off the moss in which their phal seedling had been potted, and prepared the roots for repotting into fir bark). One student in Mrs. Funari’s class, appeared to be an

“upper classman” filming the students at work. As his camera panned the activity in the room, one of the students accidentally tipped over one of the basins of water used for rinsing the moss from the roots of the seedlings. LOTS of water splashed on the the young film maker. Rather than being embarrassed by the incident, he seized the opportunity and turned the camera on his slacks!

Students in Mrs. March’s class were optimistic that their orchids would soon outgrow their milk jug greenhouses. They also proved to be adept at potting their orchids with little intervention by program team members.

We always find it interesting that in most of the schools where we present our programs, computers are important classroom tools. At least half the students in each of these two classes, said that they had access to the internet. We also tell teachers and students in each school we visit, to check out OSA’s web site. (Perhaps some of them account for the fact that our web site has had over  10,000 visitors?)

Thanks to BOB MACLEOD for furnishing the fir bark AND pots used by the Highland Lakes School students to repot their seedlings! If any OSA member would like to DONATE a large bag of fine bark for use in our school programs, bring the bark to a monthly meeting or phone any board member to arrange for delivery or pick-up. ALL donations are greatly appreciated!

OSA purchased clear pots to be used in our school programs so that the children can see the condition of the roots of their plants. Unfortunately, the fact that the pots need to be reduced in height to fit into the milk jugs, was not discovered in time to cut them before today’s programs. We’ll have them ready for our November
show programs!

Our next community service program is scheduled for October 25 at the DEER VALLEY SENIOR CENTER, 2001 W. Wahalla, Phoenix. The program will begin at 10:00 AM and will feature a display table, question and answer period, and a doorprize drawing for a plant. If any OSA member would like to donate a Phalaenopsis plant for the doorprize drawing, please phone me at (480) 947-8479 OR bring the plant to
our October 5 meeting.

Please welcome new members to OSA:  Jeanette Socaciu, Jorge Garcia, and Corky Sypherd!

A Dogs Eye View
 My name is Wuzzy Heckel and I am the unofficial mascot of the OSA. This may be a little out of the ordinary but then I’m not your ordinary pup and I’d like to share my observations of the recent OSA trip to the VA Medical Center in Prescott, AZ on Sunday August 27th with you.

I knew something was going on because mom and dad (you know them as Jane & Pete Heckel) kept piling lots of stuff in the spare bedroom over the last several months. I started to get really excited on Sat when they moved all the stuff into the entryway and even put some stuff in the truck. I figured that a road trip was planned and I went to sleep hoping that I would be allowed to go too.
Sunday morning - Bright and early the alarm clock went off. Then I saw my OSA name badge and my red bandanna and I knew that we were going to the VAMC and that I would be going too. I remember the great time I had on last years trip. 
So mom and dad and I hopped in the truck and drove to the VGC where I checked out each of the members gathering in the parking lot. Soon everyone got in their vehicles and we were on our way.

Everyone was talking and laughing on the drive up to Prescott and before we knew it, we were there. When I first hopped out of the truck I couldn’t believe how cool it was - and it was RAINING!  We all went into the VA greenhouse for coffee & cookies (water & cookies for me) and then enjoyed exploring all the lovely plants growing in their greenhouse and visiting with each other.
Later on the rain did let up some and we were able to sit outside and have lunch on the picnic tables. The Schlotsky’s sandwiches were great with pound cake for desert.

After lunch we all drove up the theater building to deliver all the donations we had for the vets and since it was raining on & off we went inside for the OSA board meeting. By  this time I was REALLY pooped from all the wandering, sniffing and exploring and I knew mom wanted me to stay put during the meeting so she didn’t need to worry about where I was. NO PROBLEM _ I laid down for a nice little nap. After the meeting was over, we got ready to head back to the valley - and the heat. But some of us stopped at Young’s farm for some fresh corn ,veggies, fruits and preserves and even had a homemade ice cream cone. Unfortunately I had to stay in the truck for this part of the trip - but I’ll forgive them ! I slept most of the way home but I heard the trip was a smooth one and I know everyone who went had at least as much fun as I did. I hope they will take me along again next year.
Signed,   Your furry mascot for the OSA,         Wuzzy         Translated by Jane Hecekl

Vacation in Jamaica

By Gerda Gallob
Jamaica was beautiful! The sea water was so warm that I could have slept in it. And I saw so many different fruits that were unknown to me. My botany book had more photos of flowering trees. And on the tree trunks - you guessed it - were orchids! Unluckily not in bloom. 

Rastafarians are Ethiopian descened people, who fled from slave ships in the 1700s. They have their own culture and wear dreadlocks as their sign of unity. They live from selling things to tourists - shells, woodcuts and such things.

One Rastaman came with a large orchid! He said that it was a “golden one” and in describing the flower, he made a scoop with his arm in the air, to demonstrate how long the flower stalks are! He did not know a name for it; however, this plant would have been too big for my suitcase anyway! Next day he came with another bare root plant, in exactly the size of my suitcase, but it was one week too early. I left the plant on the table of the porch, and it grew and grew because the air was so humid. When the time came to pack, it was 5 inches bigger than my suitcase. What could I do? Could a woman in a wheelchair when she goes through passport control have managed a large orchid plant? Maybe yes and...maybe no. 

Show Flyer is READY!  Take a few at October’s meeting and start distributing!

September raffle table donors:  Jeanette Socaciu, Jane Heckel, Joe Freasier, Wilella Stimmell, Lou Ann Remeikis, and OSA.

by Glena Petro

At 7:30 a.m., on August 27, 16 OSA members and guests assembled in the parking lot at the Valley Garden Center. OSA's canine mascot, Wuzzy, impatiently watched and paced as sleepy members loaded the bulkier donated items for the veterans, into the back of Bob MacLeod's truck. Finally we were ready to roll.
We had planned to hold an Open Greenhouse from 10-noon, which would be followed by a picnic lunch in the park-like setting adjacent to the greenhouse on the VA campus. However, by the time our caravan arrived at Camp Verde, our prearranged "pit stop", it was raining.

One patient and staff members were waiting for us when we finally arrived at the greenhouse. By that time, the rain had slowed to a drizzle, and we off-loaded the donated supplies for the greenhouse.

As we approached the greenhouse, the first sight I beheld was a bed of beautiful, pink cosmos flowers, and then roses, LOTS of roses! (Later one of our members passed around a piece of lavender. How could I have missed seeing that? It smelled heavenly. I prized the cosmos seeds that I was taking home with me, but I HAD to have a piece of lavender, if for no other reason than to sniff it during the ride home.)

In the greenhouse, we saw a wide variety of plants, including orchids, and many trays of Asian pears, apples, and peaches which had been thinned from the trees in the orchard. Naturally, we sampled the fruit, and Bill Starkman, Greenhouse Manager, encouraged us to take some fruit home with us. He even had plastic bags for us to use to carry home the fruit loot. We happily accepted!
The rain stopped long enough for us to tour the orchard and see the healthy trees laden with ripening fruit. There was a wide variety of robust vegetable plants growing in the fenced garden. The fence is necessary to keep out hungry, four-legged critters.

After our tour of the greenhouse, orchard, and garden, it was time for lunch. There was some debate about whether it would start raining again, but we felt lucky and decided to dine outside. Bill dried off the wet picnic tables and benches, and we proceeded to enjoy a leisurely lunch. The setting was indescribably beautiful: no matter where we looked, there was lush green growth! And as we ate, a beautiful, small blue bird visited our picnic area. Almost on signal, as the last empty soda can and sandwich wrapper was thrown into the trash bin, a gentle rain started to fall.
Our next stop on campus was the theater. There we unloaded the many personal items our members had donated to the veterans. Among the many boxes of donations, larger items included: a television set, a stereo system, and a set of golf clubs! We also held our Board Meeting in the theater.

After our meeting ended, four of us visited Milton Bay, former Greenhouse Manager, in the Nursing Home building where he resides. Milton had intended to meet us in the greenhouse, but due to the weather and his health, he decided not to venture outside. We told Milton we would see him next year!

This was my first trip to the Northern Arizona Veteran Administration Health Care System. I expected to find a small greenhouse and hospital on the campus, and I was almost speechless to find that NAVAHCS is HUGE! We took the scenic "loop" around the campus before we left the VA grounds and saw old two-story homes where children of hospital personnel were playing in their yards, many other large buildings, and a bright yellow sign which stated that it would be the site of the Fort Whipple Museum.  (The VA campus used to be an army post: Fort Whipple.) 
If you have not been on a caravan trip to the VA, you have missed an uplifting experience. I never dreamed that I would have such a grand time! AND, on our way home, we stopped in Dewey. It's un-Arizonan for desert dwellers on a trip north, not to stop at Young's Farm and load up with fresh corn and tomatoes!
On the road again - to Phoenix - we welcomed sunshine and dry roads.Perhaps the rain had been a test of our dedication to our mission? If so, we surely passed!

Did you know that in 1863, after Congress created the territory ofArizona, the territorial Governor, John Goodwin, and a party of men from Washington, set out to investigate the area? They set up a temporary capital at Fort Whipple in Chino Valley. "Then, to be closer to mining activities and timbered land, both the government and the fort moved 17 miles south to a site along Granite Creek.
Fort Whipple served as the center for campaigns against Tonto Apache and Yavapai Indians during the 1860s and 1870s."

Fort Whipple "honors Brigadier General Amiel Weeks Whipple, who served with the Army Corps Topographical Engineers until his death in the Civil War. The post played a major role during the Indian Wars and was maintained until 1912.  Ten years later it became a Veterans Administration hospital. Many of the military buildings, including the barracks and officers' quarters, date from the turn of the century. " (From ARIZONA HANDBOOK, online version, North-Central Arizona, Part 3, pages 13 and 14.) 

A slightly different account of the history of Fort Whipple was written by Darrel La Mar Wakley and can be found in his book, DOWNEY AND BEYOND, published by Wakley and Canham, Rexburg, Idaho. The latest edition of this book was published in 1998.

Wakley writes: "Fort Whipple was established in 1864 one mile northeast of Prescott after Camp Clark, located in the Chino Valley, was abandoned. Cavalry and Infantry soldiers stationed there participated in many Indian engagements. The post was General George Crook's District of Arizona headquarters in 1882. Centrally located in the state, the fort had a major influence on all Indian affairs in the region. The old post was condemned in 1869; all the buildings were torn down and rebuilt. New officers' quarters, built in 1904...were vastly different from earlier structures.  The post was abandoned in 1913, and in 1922, was taken over by a Veterans Administration Hospital." (Chapter 2, "Historic Forts of the Old West", page 7.)

By Kelly Thomas
Due to a family emergency, I have had to spend a great deal of time away from Phoenix this past summer.  Unfortunately, my orchids suffered from my husbands lack of interest in my hobby.  Evidently, he didn’t think he had to water the babies because,  “They looked dead.”  It seems he doesn’t find non-blooming orchids all that attractive.  I thought I had lost my orchids - they were shriveled up, yellow, sunburned, and half-dead.  

I created my own unconventional elixir to shock them into life.  Note:  I realize you are not supposed to fertilize shocked orchids, but they were near death and heroic measures had to be undertaken to aid in their survival.  I filled my sink with water, a generous portion of Superthrive, two teaspoons of 20-20-20 fertilizer, two tablespoons of Disper-Sul (to cut the salt from the water and the fertilizer), 12 oz. Bottle of Sam Adams beer, and 4 ounces of banana baby food. (The baby food idea came to me during one of Aaron Hick’s presentations.)   I mixed the banana baby food with water before adding it to the kitchen sink elixir.  I substituted banana nectar for the baby food once, but stopped because of concern that the preservatives might harm the roots.    

I submerged the orchids in the solution from 3 -15 minutes, depending on what time I came back to check on them.  I rinsed the plants for several minutes under clean water to remove the excess banana, which sticks to the bark and attracts bugs.  However, I would rather have bugs than dead orchids!  Neem oil seems to take care of the bugs if applied a few hours after the watering.
I repeated this process every other day until I saw signs of life.  I lost a few, but I don’t know if it was from the shock of sitting in a sunny windowsill for weeks without water, or the chemical solution.  
My orchids seem pretty happy now, and I can see some new growth.  The color has returned to most of the leaves.  Now that they will have a humid greenhouse environment, they should recover.  If and when they will bloom is another matter, but I’ll keep you posted

By Jane Heckel
Those of you who attended the September meeting will agree, I’m sure, that our speaker, Dennis Olivas, was lively, informative and just plain “fun” to hear.  His topic was to center on dendrobium culture but he provided lots of do’s and don’ts on good orchid culture as a whole.  He even touched on topics such as problems with insects, fungi and bacteria allowing for a very open forum for questions and answers.  He gave some helpful suggestions on what products to use for these problems and where to purchase them.          

Included in his program was a slide presentation of some outstanding specimen dendrobiums.  Dennis also provided a nice variety of plants, both species and hybrids for a silent auction. Hope everyone got the one they had their eye on!                                    

Special thanks to Willie for obtaining  Dennis as our speaker and for providing for his transportation and accommodations.  I know we all enjoyed his down to earth philosophy and sense of humor.

Virtual Goodies
This month’s website comes to us from              
Harry Tolen
The site:
Chula Orchids

The Address:
Http:// Chula Orchids is a great place to get whatever you need.  Check them out!


For a Newsletter and Catalog, please write:

230 Chula Vista Street
Chula Vista, CA 91910-1825 Phone or Fax for orders
(800) 621-4923

Phone or Fax for questions
(619) 420-0746

website address:

Harry Tolen, Supreme Commander
Patricia Tolen, Supremer Commander

In 1996, OSA donated a large orchid reference library to the Phoenix Public Library. Every year since then, we donate additional volumes to PPL's orchid reference section. PPL's collection of ORCHID DIGEST lacks only the years 1972 and 1973 in order for their volumes to be complete from 1971 to present. PPL's collection of the AOS BULLETIN begins with Volume 24 (1955) and is complete to the present with only two gaps in sequence:  1959-1964 and 1970-1976. If any OSA member would like to donate one or more of the missing volumes, OSA's Board of Directors would greatly appreciate your generosity. Call Lou Ann (602) 803-6889 to arrange for delivery or pick-up, or bring to our October meeting.
We usually deliver our annual donation to PPL during October, and this year we will strive to make delivery between October 9 and 13. PPL binds only complete volumes of journals.

Get your Orchid Quilt raffle tickets!  1 for $1.00 or 6 for $5.00 - Drawing at the December meeting!


The 5th page of corrections and additions to the roster printed in April, will be available at our October 5th meeting. Copies of the latest changes will be placed on the raffle ticket sales table.

New Member Packets are currently being prepared, and OSA Membership Rosters that will be enclosed in these packets will be “alpha versions” (previous 5 pages of corrections/additions have been included within the alphabetical list). 

OSA MEMBER BRINGS DIMORPHORCHIS LOWII INTO BLOOM!! Wilbur Chang phoned from Kaneohe, Hawaii, to report that his Dimorphorchis lowii plant is now 3 feet tall and is in bloom! Two other OSA members, who shall remain anonymous, bought equally mature, robust plants at the same time that Wilbur got his plant, from the same vendor. These two members discovered that the "di" in the plant name, was an omen, and their plants have gone to plant heaven. All three members read the informative article on Dimorphorchis culture in Vol. 53 (1989), #1 of ORCHID DIGEST, pages 12-14. (This volume is available in the Phoenix Public Library orchid reference collection.)   
Apparently Wilbur has a higher level of comprehension AND luck!

The election of OSA's Board of Directors for 2001 will be held during our November 2, 2000 regular meeting. 
The Nominating Committee is pleased to present the following list of candidates:
President:  Lou Ann Remeikis
1st Vice President (In House Program Chair):  Bob MacLeod
2nd Vice President (Outside Speaker Program Chair):  Julie Rathbun
Secretary:  Jane Heckel
Treasurer:  Wilella Stimmell
Trustee:  Rhonda Woodward  (term expires 12/02)
Trustee:  Kelly Thomas  (term expires 12/02)
The Nominating Committee is encouraged by the increasing number of newer OSA members who fully understand that maintaining our 501 (c) (3) non-profit status is predicated on our continuing focus on community service.
We believe the slate we have proposed for the upcoming election represents a strong, united, and dynamic team. 
All members of OSA thank the two retiring Trustees: Karen Berger and Julie Rathbun, for their dedicated service. 
Our other two Trustees, Connie Hall and Nelda Caldwell, will continue to serve until their terms expire in 12/01.
Respectfully submitted by:
Sandy Allen, Chairman
Julie Rathbun
Ed Gamarano

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