Diego County Orchid Society
Newsletter Distribution - 712
Our featured member of the month, Forrest Robinson, will be on hand to give an educational, informative presentation on cattleyas. This is a great opportunity to learn from an expert! Come with lots of questions.
THIS MONTHS GENERAL MEETING
While everyone else is preparing themselves for the upcoming Year 2000, Y2K, and the potential impact of computer date roll over, our guest speaker is going to look back at the last 100 years. Ernest Heatherington of Arcadia CA has a presentation titled "The 20th Century - The Golden Century of Orchid History". His presentation will take us through orchid significant events that have occurred over the past 100 years. The last 100 years have made more of an impact on the orchid world than all the past history of orchids. Consider the economic disaster, wars and peace that happened during the past 100 years, yet people kept the faith with orchids. These are the people who continued to grow orchids, collect orchids and study orchids in their remote habitats of the tropical world. Add to this the explosion of scientific developments that also occurred during the past 100 years that now makes orchid raising readily available to everyone and we have the ingredients for a most interesting topic.
Ernest has been a very long friend of orchids and has been instrumental in the establishment of The Orchid Digest. With his background and research through the Hunting Gardens Library he has put an extensive effort into preparing the presentation.
Chula Orchids will provide plants for the Plant Opportunity Table. They promise a nice mix of species and hybrids, nothing specific, just a good spread of various orchids. Chula Orchids has consistently provided one of our finest tables. They specialize in providing well established plants that always do well in the new environment the buyer provides.
Dear Orchid Friends
I hope you are enjoying a beautiful fall! We certainly live in paradise dont we?
As usual this issue provides us with lots of interesting articles on our favorite subject: orchids! Our regulars continue to provide interesting, thought provoking, educational and entertaining material! The article on page 9 What IS an orchid? came from Cindy, the editor of the Hawaiian newsletter I receive called Windward Orchid News. I always appreciate clear, easy to understand explanations of orchid basics. I hope you enjoy the article too. Plus we have an update from Paul Tuskes on the Belize program which our society funds. He was instrumental in developing this program. Its gratifying to witness the progress and success!
We finished this issue off earlier than usual so that I might get to play in Denver for a week and Genie Hammond, our official folder, labeler and mail person, can recover from hand surgery. We wish her speedy recovery.
Be sure to participate in the upcoming Mini-Show! We need your plants to sell, show and enjoy! So make sure to reserve October 22-24 for more orchid fun!
Keep the articles and suggestions flowing in. Enjoy the gorgeous fall weather. Check out our website. Grow those orchids well! See you at the meeting soon!
Meet A Member
Probably no orchid grower at our meetings inspires us more with beautifully-grown orchids than Forrest Robinson. Each meeting for over a decade, hes been bringing in 35 - 40 blooming plants for our display tables. If you overhear someone at a meeting say, "Oooh, I want THAT one!", they are most likely looking at one of Forrests plants.
The road to orchids for Forrest started with roses. While living in Redlands about 25 years ago, he cultivated over 300 hybrid tea rose bushes! A friend and accomplished orchid hybridizer, Dr. Howard Hill, told him, "If you build a greenhouse, Ill give you some backbulbs". So, together he and his son built their first greenhouse, all of 9 x 12 feet. Howard brought over some backbulbs and said, "Go ahead, its up to you!"
Forrest did the logical thing (for roses)put some gravel in a pot, filled it with potting dirt, and planted the bulbs. After the first set up bulbs died, he started reading up on orchid culture and going to local orchid society meetings. Before long, his orchids not only survived, but thrived. He still remembers his excitement at seeing his first plant in bloomC. Mem. Crispin Rosales. A friend in Tucson helped him along with cultural advice, and together they made three trips to South America collecting orchids.
Forrest has been interested in plants all of his life. He earned a degree in Botany from UCLA, and was on his way to a Masters degree when WWII began. When he returned home after the war, he entered Dental school, and practiced Dentistry until retiring in 1985. Forrest and Kay moved to San Diego and built three greenhouses in the backyard of their home near Mt. Soledad. Now he (single-handedly!) raises several thousand plants in the Cattleya house (largest), the Warm house for Cattleyas and Oncidiums, and the Cool house.
His favorite group of orchids is the cool-growers from high elevationsOdontoglossums, Odontioda, Miltoniopsis, etc.because they are so challenging. Hed killed more than a few of these before seeing his first Odont bloom. Kay combines her love of orchids with artistry; several of our show posters have featured her paintings of Phalaenopsis and EpiCats.
The very best part of growing orchids, Forrest says is sharing the flowers, and the fun, with other people. We couldnt agree more.
SDCOS Conservation Grants Awarded
from Peter Tobias
This spring the SDCOS Conservation Committee invited applications for orchid conservation grants. We asked for applications that responded to our guidelines, which are:
1. Protect orchids in the wild.
2. Establish / maintain organizations to protect orchids and their habitats.
3. Conduct studies relating to orchid conservation.
4. Establish and maintain programs encouraging orchid conservation.
5. Educate the public about orchid conservation.
This announcement was publicized in the AOS Orchids, in several places on the internet and at the 16th World Orchid Conference in Vancouver. We received 14 proposals requesting support for a widely varied group of projects. After careful review and discussion, the conservation committee decided to fund the following three applications.
1.The sustainable forest-use project in Ecuador is coordinated by the Ceiba Foundation for Tropical Conservation, Rainforest Rescue and orchid experts from the Missouri Botanical Garden. Ecuador is said to have the highest diversity of orchids species of any country on Earth. The SDCOS Conservation Committee awarded $2000 to pay the legal expenses of setting up Ecuadors first conservation easement with a private landowner. This will establish legal protection of the El Pahuma Orchid Reserve near Quito. Hopefully it will also serve as a model for sustainable use that will be used elsewhere.
2. The second proposal to receive funding is for field study of the orchids of the Rio Atlantic Forest Trust in Brazil. This trust was established by Richard Warren and David Miller to protect an area in the high mountain Atlantic rain forest in the state of Rio de Janeiro. They already have published numerous articles as well as a field guide, available in our library, describing in depth some of the orchids and habitats in the trust area. Our grant of $2400 will permit further study and description of orchids and their habitats. Richard Warren has said the he will make some flasks available which we will sell through silent auction at SDCOS meetings to benefit the SDCOS Conservation fund.
3. The third grant was made to Prof. Leonid Averyanov for exploration and study of the last remaining undisturbed orchid habitats in North Vietnam. In the past decade Averyanov has discovered and reported on several new species of Paphiopedilums, including Paph. helenae, named for his wife. Dr. Averyanovs observations on geography and microclimates of North Vietnam have greatly expanded our understanding of the orchids of this little known area. Our grant of $3500 supplements funding from the AOS and National Geographic magazine. All awardees have agreed to publicize their work and to acknowledge support from the SDCOS.
I want to thank the members of the committee who reviewed these applications, Siv Garrod, Cindy Hill, Ron Kaufmann, Phil Morin, and Paul Tuskes. Especially, I want to thank all the members of the SDCOS who have donated plants to and purchased plants from our sales booth, as this provides the funds to support these worthwhile projects. This round of applications was the highest quality received so far. That a volunteer organization can raise $8900 for orchid conservation is not a minor achievement. I hope that every member of this society will take pride that we are making a difference to orchid conservation, and that the SDCOS is very much in the forefront of what orchid societies worldwide are doing.
ORCHID TALK . By Esther Sivila
As I promised, here we go with the GLOSSARY OF ORCHID NAMES. I am sure that if you practiced the guide that I gave you last month, you will not have any problem pronouncing the names.
GENERIC NAMES PRONUNCIATION
ACINETA ah-sin-EH-tah, ass-in-EE-ta
AERANGIS ah-er-AN-giss, air-ANG-gis
ANGRAECUM an-GRYE-kum, an-GREE-kum
sesquipedale ses-kwi-pe-DAH-lee superbum soo-PER-bum
More next month ...
Dates to Remember
October 2, 9:00 am
October 5, 7:30 pm
October 8, 7:30 pm
October 12, 7:00 pm
October 19, 7:00 pm
October 23 and 24
October 29, 30 and 31
Orchids on Windowsills
Windowsills come in all shapes and sizes. The windows they edge can face in any direction. There can be weak morning sun, hot unrelenting afternoon sun, and even no sun at all if the window faces a building, a wall, or is blocked by thick evergreens or hanging vines. Sometimes there are curtains, louvers, opaque or colored glass. The glass may be thin or thick or be of an insulating thermopane type. Windowsills may be close to or below ground level or at windows high up in a towering building. How can we raise orchids on windowsills and what are some of the factors that can have a positive or negative impact on orchids in such locations.
Sills are generally too narrow for anything but a tiny pot and then they can be easily tipped by a billowing curtain, or when dusting or cleaning. Wide sills are a joy that is often the bonus of renovated older homes and apartments. Treasure such sills as they can easily hold trays of pots or support vertical staging. Old windows not only have wider sills but they can be very tall. A stand having several shelves can be stood upon the sill or attached to it. Mesh wire hung vertically in place of blinds can be used to hang mounted orchids. If the window is large enough, vertical supports can be in two parts like shutters to be swung open and closed to shade, provide more light, warm or cool, and to care for and simply admire the flowers.
Windows present a variety of lighting conditions which can vary with the season. Leafy trees might provide adequate shade in summer but bare branches may not provide enough protection from direct sun in winter. The suns direction will change with the season and this will present additional challenges. In snowy climes, sun reflection from the snow may be surprisingly strong.
As always, we need to balance the quantity and quality of light being received by our orchids to what they need and can use without being overheated. Shading in the form of sheer or lace curtains, blinds, louvers, and similar devices can be useful to adjust the quantity of light received in any season. Supplemental artificial lighting may be required during winter months when the quantity of light is lower. One of the joys of windowsill culture is in choosing orchids appropriate to each season.
Too much light can mean too much heat, more than the orchids can bear. Much will depend upon the exact situation as to the method chosen to cool the plants or to keep them from becoming too hot. Shading will reduce light reaching the leaves and pots. Covering pots in reflective foil, placing foam insulation between the pots and the window can effectively control excessive heating. Foil alone is ineffective against cold. Thermopanes (glass separated by dead air space) can reduce chilling somewhat. While chilling problems are confined to winter months, overheating can happen as easily in summer as well as in winter.
Air movement is an essential element of successful orchid culture and is especially useful in windowsill settings. Moving air can counter overheating and chilling. A small muffin fan may be sufficient for smaller locations while more powerful fans may be needed for large windowsill and consequentially larger collection of plants.
High humidity in close proximity to a chilly window surface can lead to moisture buildup on the panes and sill. Under cold conditions, the glass surface acts like a still. Condensate can accumulate, freeze, run onto the floor, or be absorbed by a wooden sill leading to rot. Air movement may reduce the problem somewhat. If the room humidity is generally low, air movement may limit the effectiveness of windowsill humidity measures: certain orchids may suffer. It is challenging to maintain higher humidity in the windowsill region if the air is continually being mixed with that of the rest of the room. If room humidity is naturally high as in summer, tropical or coastal regions, then air movement will reduce the likelihood of orchids developing injurious rots.
Since the sill is part of the home, some measures are appropriate to ensure that the sill is not soiled or damaged by water. Set pots in saucers, use decorative glazed pottery outer pots or place pots in individual plastic tubs. Orchids can be removed to a nearby sink for watering and spraying then returned once the dripping is finished. Mist only with deionized, distilled, RO, or rain water to limit water spotting of windows and drapery.
Windowsill orchids are subject to the same pests and diseases as are those raised elsewhere. There are a few other hazards particular to the location including theft by four-legged and two-legged sorts where the windowsill is at or near ground level. Ever had a goat eat your orchids? I have! I came home one day to discover a long goat tongue quite easily managed to pass through screening where burglars had been deterred to wrap around one of my favorite plants and tug it out of its pot. The goats liking but the leaves and flowers clearly were delicious!. I was able to recover the discarded plant less foliage and start over again.
Wind can be especially injurious to orchids perching along sills in highrise buildings. Without substantial screening or similar barrier, wind gusts can easily dislodge unsecured pots.
While one is snug beneath their covers, winter cold can damage plants touching glass or those whose pots are sitting on an uninsulated sill. Air temperature is not the best guide to chilling potential during cold spells. Except for those orchids tolerant of cold, leaves and roots of intolerant specimens will die.
Windowsill culture means orchids are being grown in your living area. All products applied to these plants will permeate your living space and the air you breathe. Likewise, the orchids will be subject to all vapors emanating from your living space including tobacco smoke, solvent, paint and glue vapor. If care is not taken to move the plants first, their leaves and flowers can be damaged by window cleaning and furniture polishing sprays.
CHOOSING WINDOWSILL ORCHIDS
Choose orchids which are tolerant of variable humidity and that respond to the temperature regime that you can provide. It is easier to shade than to increase available light. Seasonally dormant kinds can be grown with orchids that bloom in different seasons. Plants suited to container culture are good choices.
Paphiopedilums and Phragmipediums - Low to medium indirect light; good for sills never receiving direct sun; warm to cool depending upon type; Phragmipediums can be set in individuals saucers of water.
Phalaenopsis - Medium indirect light; warm days - cool nights especially to induce budding; a better windowsill choice in moderate climates. Humidity is important.
Dendrobium - High to medium light; warm days - cool nights; a good windowsill choice for temperate climates.
Catasetum - High to medium light; dry and warm to cool when dormant; warm when growing/flowering. Protect plants from chilling at all times. No misting needed.
Disa - High light and water culture; cold nights, cool to warm days; low humidity. No misting needed. Insulate pots to control overheating in the sun.
by Marilyn H.S. Light Copyright 1999
The Programme for Belize Matures from Paul Tuskes
As part of its conservation efforts, the SDCOS donated funds to the Programme for Belize (1990-93) for the purchase of tropical forests and savannas. What is the status of the Programme today, and has it met expectations?
The Programme for Belize (PFB) is the administrative body for the Rio Bravo Conservation and Management Area. This area now includes 260,000 acres in the northwest of the country, and is held in trust for the people of Belize. While the project was started by the Massachusetts Audubon Society in 1988, oversight and management also includes U.S. universities, the European community and professional organizations.
The Programme protects the plants and animals of the area, as well as over 60 Mayan ruins located within its boundaries. The PFB actively promotes research that addresses global questions, and projects that benefit local communities. Examples include: the development of sustainable forestry programs; tree propagation and land management; measurement of tropical biomass; carbon storage and cycles; and archeological research.
When our Society donated funds to the PFB, a few concerns were:(1) How will local people be prevented from intruding and using the resources of the preserve? (2) How will the PFB raise money to protect, manage and develop the project? Perhaps the best way to describe the phenomenal success of the PFB is to answer these two questions.
1) How will local people be prevented from intruding and using the resources of the preserve? Answer: The PFB developed a community outreach and education program. At least 7-10 different projects are now underway or completed, focussing on public education and community involvement. Results for the community include improved land use, better food preservation, greater hygiene and increased environmental awareness in schools. Other efforts have allowed the people to enter the growing business of ecotourism. As a result, these communities have a financial stake in the preserve. The conservation area is also patrolled to ensure enforcement.
(2) How will they raise money to protect, manage, and develop the project? Answer: (a) Ecotourism contributes significantly to their success people come to see the plants and animals, learn, enjoy tropical hospitality, and explore the area. (b) A micropropagation lab on site is now growing rare and unusual plants, including orchids (c) For a fee, they provide naturalist guides for trips into the jungle, bird watching, and visits to Mayan ruins. (d) Researchers visiting the site pay daily fees for lodging and food. (e) A forestry program is propagating desirable hardwood trees which should help reduce pressure on local species. In addition, select cutting of certain types of trees helps support the project. In 1998 (under the Forest Stewardship Council guidelines), an average of 1 tree per acre was cut in a designated area.
Through these and other fundraising efforts the Programme for Belize successfully supports the Rio Bravo Conservation and Management Area. The Programme is now widely recognized for the effectiveness of its conservation efforts and for the support of its community.
What IS an Orchid?
Well, if you look it up in an encyclopedia or dictionary, youd probably find a definition such as "member of a large family of perennial herbs, distributed worldwide, but most abundant in tropical and subtropical forests". Huh?? Is that what an orchid is?? Actually, orchids come from the largest family of flowering plants known to science. They have no single country of origin, no single type of growth habit and no single shape or color. There are new species of orchids being found all the time in the wild and many more hybrids being made in cultivation.
Orchids grow in a wide variety of climates and have different growth habits. Some are called terrestrials since they grow in or near the surface of the ground. Other types are called epiphytes because they grow on trees or shrubs. These epiphytes are not parasites-- they use their hosts mainly as a source of anchorage or for support, not as a source of food.
Orchids vary in size from really, really tiny (sometimes requiring a magnifying glass) to blooms of up to 8 inches in diameter. The flowers also vary in shape and color, although all orchid flowers are made up of six basic parts. New orchids are being created all the time and some of them even go so far as to look very symmetrical as in peloric hybrids, where the lip closely resembles the petals.
Orchids have two main types of growth: sympodial and monopodial. Sympodial orchids produce their new growth from the base of the previous growths. Many of them have pseudobulbs ("false bulbs") which are thickened stems that have become adapted to store moisture and food. These pseudobulbs help the plant survive periods of dryness and vary in shape and thickness. Dendrobiums, cattleya, oncidiums and cymbidiums are all examples of sympodial orchids.
Monopodial orchids grow in one directionupwards, with the new growths merely extending the growth of the previous years. They typically have upright stems with leaves being produced in alternating pairs. Aerial roots grow from the sides and base of the plant. Some types of monopodial orchids are vandas, and phalaenopsis.
A typical orchid flower has six main parts: an outer whorl of three sepals and an inner whorl of three petals. There are two petals on either side of the center and one lower petal, which has become the lip. The fact that only orchid flowers can be divided into two equal halves in a vertical plane helps to distinguish the orchid family from all others.
Orchids have adapted to all sorts of environmental conditions. Areas that are hot and desert-like for most of the year will have orchids with leaves that have developed into fleshy, almost succulent organs. They are able to store water for the plant, thereby keeping it alive during long periods of drought. Others have developed tough, pencil-shaped leaves in order to withstand long hours of hot sun. Orchids that grow in shadier environments will need larger leaves with more surface area in order for them to capture enough light for photosynthesis.
Nowadays, orchids are grown by everyone---men, women, young, old, rich and not-so-rich. They are grown in expensive hothouses with elaborate watering and humidifying systems as well as in simple wooden lathhouses with hand-watering and hand-misting. Some are even grown indoors under fluorescent lights in environmentally controlled Wardian cases or in converted bathrooms and closets. It doesnt matter where or how you grow your orchids. The fact that you love orchids and orchid growing makes you a member of a special club--the Orchid Hobbyists. Welcome to the club!!
"Orchids for Everyone" by Brian Williams, et al.
Reed Stem Epidendrum Get-Together
Learn how to grow these easy-going orchids and trade colors and sizes with other members. Contact Anna Majevskis, (619) 462-9866
SDCOS Board of Directors Meeting Reports will resume in the November issue and include meetings of September and October.
Show Committee Meeting on October 19
Want to participate? Positions are open for coordinating: Hosts/Hostess, Plant Hotel, Security as well as other areas. Just show up for the next meeting at 7pm across the courtyard from our regular meeting room, or call Cindy Hill (858) 481-5782 or Bud Close (619) 444-8839 for more information. The more people who participate, the more fun it is for all!
Any member is welcome to attend the monthly meetings.
"SERVICE TO OUR MEMBERS SECTION"
HELP HOTLINE: The SDCOS offers a service to members who seek cultural information about their orchids. Here are some friendly hobbyists who have a great deal of experience and knowledge about certain types of orchids, and who have kindly volunteered to answer your questions. There are no commercial growers on this list.
Oncidium/Odontoglossum, and Vandaceous, Greenhouse grown,
West SD county Forrest Robinson - (619) 270-6105
San Diego County
These are many of the
hard-working volunteers that keep our Society running.
There are many others with no titles that help these
folks make it happen. You are invited to help. Ask any of
these people how.