We enjoy our orchids when they look their best. We love beautiful arrangements when we go to shows and see the exhibits. With a desire to increase our personal enjoyment and with show season upon us, we will be looking at techniques to have our plants present their beautiful blooms to their best. Tips on staking, plant grooming and small table top displays will also be covered. Join us on Wednesday, October 5th for this interesting presentation by our President, Arthur Pinkers.
Arthur has been an orchid enthusiast since the age of sixteen, when he acquired a plant of Slc. Glittering Jewel (Sl. Gratixiae x Slc. Hermes), which infected him with the orchid bug. His forty plus years of experience growing orchids started in the Pacific Northwest with a greenhouse to fend off the cold, rainy days, but a decade ago a job change forced him to move to Santa Clarita, California, where the conditions are extreme for growing orchids.
Growing up in the Seattle area, Arthur attended Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington, graduating with a B.S. in Chemistry and Biology. He worked for many years as a chemist, and had the fortune of having his dream job as the Lab Director for Beall Orchid Company until shortly before its close in 1990. Despite not having a current career working with orchids, Arthur has taken an active role in the orchid community. He has been an Accredited Orchid Judge for over twenty years and has served in most executive positions on the Board of the Northwest Orchid Society, including serving as President from 1988 to 1989, and as a center photographer for the Pacific Northwest Judging region. Currently, Arthur serves as the Center Judging Chair at the Pacific South – San Marino Judging Center and one of the photographers for the Pacific South Judging Center. Though he has an interest in a wide variety of orchids, botanicals are a special draw to him for their diversity and charm.
Arthur has been married to his wife, Margie, for over twenty-seven years, and has two adult children. While they have not inherited his knack for growing orchids, his family enjoys the beauty and wild aromas his backyard jungle brings to their home, a respite from the desert landscape around them.
Recent American Orchid Society Awards
The American Orchid Society recently granted awards at the Pacific South Monthly Judging in San Marino which was held at the Huntington Botanical Gardens. This photo was taken by Arthur Pinkers.
Dendrobium amabile ‘Huntington’s Cotton Candy’
Award of Merit – 80 pts.
108 flowers and 75 buds on 5 inflorescences
Natural Spread: 5.0 cm
Vertical Spread: 4.0 cm
Exhibited by Huntington Botanical Gardens
The San Fernando Valley Orchid Society is pleased to announce it’s first annual Orchid Sale. This is our major fundraising event of the year and we hope to raise enough funds to pay for our expenses, educational programs and fabulous speakers for the remainder of the year.
This sale is open to the public. We have managed to procure some really beautiful orchid plants, most of which are in bud or in bloom. We were able to get many of them from Hawaii, and the rest are from great California growers. Our members will be on hand to answer any questions you may have at the show. We will have a plant hotel to hold your selections until you are ready to check out and take your prized plants home. We will also be serving light refreshments. This is a great opportunity to find our more about our society and our friendly and knowledgeable members.
SFVOS Members only: All members are urged to proudly wear their badge and help out at the sale for as many hours as possible. You can be a host, greeting prospective buyers and assisting them in selecting plants. If you find questions you cannot answer, there will be other members who can help. For those of you volunteering to work at the sale we will get our set up started at 9:00 AM. We need volunteers to help register the buyers and help carry plants to the plant hotel. We also need a few of you to stay after 2:00 PM to help us clean-up. This is a wonderful opportunity to tell guests about the benefits of membership in our Society: the educational speakers, the plant opportunity table, and the interchange of ideas and experiences with fellow orchid lovers. If you have some blooming plants you wish to contribute to the sale please bring them to Ned Daniger’s home: 17351 Nordhoff Street in Northridge on April 7th between 12:00 noon and 5:00 PM,or you can bring them on the day of the sale, April 9th, at 9:00 AM to the Sepulveda Garden Center. This is YOUR opportunity to support our Society. We look forward to seeing you at the sale!
Our guest speaker for January will be James Rose, owner of Cal Orchids. Jim will open his presentation by teaching us the best way to re-pot our orchids. This is an important skill, and is a subject many have requested.
His main topic will be the “Orchids of Madagascar”. Madagascar is best known for its remarkable fauna, including the famous lemurs. It is also home to over 900 orchid species in 57 genera, many of which are as endangered as the lemurs. These orchids are so beautiful and unique.
You may be familiar with the story of “Darwin’s” orchid. Angraecum sesquipedale, which is also known as the Christmas orchid, Star of Bethlehem orchid, and King of the Angraecums, is an epiphytic orchid in the genus Angraecum endemic to Madagascar. It is noteworthy for its long spur and its association with the naturalist Charles Darwin, who surmised that the flower was pollinated by a then undiscovered moth with a proboscis whose length was unprecedented at the time. His prediction had gone unverified until 21 years after his death, when the moth was discovered and his conjecture vindicated.
These orchids are highly prized and hunted by collectors and the orchid trade. Additionally, much of Madagascar is rainforest, and much of that rainforest is disappearing. When the rainforest the threatened, the orchids that live there are also in peril. Some of the threatened species are Angraecum longicalcar, Angraecum magdalenae, Bulbophyllum hamelinii, Grammangis spectabilis
and Eulophiella roempleriana. Be sure to mark your calendar. You won’t want to miss this highly informative talk and the culture session on “repotting”.
(Right: Darwins Orchid: Angraecum sesquipedale and its pollinator, a long-tongued moth)
Our next meeting for the San Fernando Valley Orchid Society will be on Wednesday, June 4th, 2014 at 7:00 pm. Our very own Pamela Aitchison will be our speaker for our June meeting. Pam is a Certified Master Gardener from the University of California and has been for many years. She is regular guest lecturer at California State University at Northridge (CSUN), and is also a mentor and trainer for the new class of Master Gardener interns each year. She regularly teaches gardening classes at Garden Clubs, Community Centers and Schools and answers gardening questions in the Gardening Information booth at the LA County Fair every year.
Pam has served on our SFVOS Board of Directors for the last two years, is our (http://www.sfvos.com) webmaster and Co-Editor for our newsletter. Pam lives in Northridge and has loved orchids most of her life. She has been growing orchid plants for many years and grows many types of orchids in her small greenhouse and outdoors. Her favorites include Arpophyllum, Cattleyas, Dendrobiums, Epidendrums, Oncidiums, Miltonias, Vandas, Vanilla Orchids and Zygopedalums.
At our June meeting Pam will be sharing information about growing conditions that can lead to problems, pests such as insects, snails and spider-mites and she will discuss both fungal and bacterial diseases that can infect your beautiful plants and decimate your collection. Pam will bring a PowerPoint presentation with many colorful photographs that demonstrate what to look for and how to deal with problems when they occur. Please join us at our June meeting to learn about how to keep your orchids healthy and free of pests and disease
Mark Your Calendars for this Special Event.
Expert Speaker Presentations
Slipper Orchid Displays • Orchid Sales
*New Location* Montecito Country Club *New Location*
902 Summit Road • Santa Barbara, CA
Saturday & Sunday, January 18-19, 2014
Bill Goldner (Woodstream Orchids – Huntingtown, MD)
David Sorokowsky (Paph Paradise – Modesto, CA)
Dr. Harold Koopowitz (Editor Emeritus, Orchid Digest)
Chris Purver (Curator, Eric Young Orchid Foundation – Jersey, Channel Islands)
Plus a Presentation of the Latest
Paphiopedilum and Phragmipedium Awards by the American Orchid Society
Continental Breakfasts • Lunch • Dinner • Auction
Show & Sales setup at 7:30am Saturday
Lectures starting at 9:00am
Gift Certificates for Best Species and Best Hybrid
Full Event Registration: $95
(Guests of full registrants may accompany registrants to the BBQ & Auction(only) for $35 each)
Registration Closes January 12, 2014
This event is sponsored by Orchid Digest
Vandas are monopodial, which means that the new leaves grow from the crown of the plant. This means the vanda is continually getting taller. Vanda flowers come in beautiful and superbly vibrant colors, including purples, blues, reds, oranges and yellows. The flower spikes are very long and they usually have 8 to 10 blooms, which are located in a cluster at the end of the stem. The flower stem grow from the base of the leaves and can last for several weeks. The long, heavy, flower laden stems can sometimes make the plants difficult to hang up and display at Orchid Shows or in your home, and may require additional support during blooming.
Vandas need an abundance of light. They like either bright morning sun and/or late afternoon sun, providing the sun exposure occurs gradually. The plants need to adapt slowly to the any increase in lighting. A good tip is to provide full morning sun whenever possible. You don’t need a greenhouse to grow Vandas. Any outside location with bright morning light will do, but be careful while making the change to brighter light. Try not to expose it to direct sun on the leaves, just bright light. Move it gradually, over the course of several weeks, into brighter and brighter light and be careful to do it a little at at time.
I had my first Vanda for five years and it never bloomed. I didn’t know what I was doing wrong. It seemed healthy but wasn’t flowering. I was fortunate that at one of our SFVOS meetings, there was an expect who shared his knowledge about Vandas and explained to me that Vandas are happiest when they get very bright light. The very next day, I moved my Vanda from the east side of my greenhouse to brighter west side of the greenhouse and I hung it up from the rafters at the top. I am happy to report that since moving my Vanda to brighter light, it has bloomed three times in the last year, and each bloom is more beautiful than the last.
The general “Rule of Thumb” for watering Vanda should be: Hot temps = more water, and cooler temps = less water.
My Vanda is growing in a wooden cage with the roots all flowing out. Some of the roots are 24 inches long. I have very little potting media in the cage, and most of the roots are loose and free, but many of them have attached themselves to the wooden cage itself. I generally water mine about once a week, but when the temperatures are over 95 degrees and the humidity is low, I give it a daily shower.
Remember that Vandas grown in baskets, without potting media, require more frequent watering. In baskets, they may need to be watered daily during the summer. Always allow your Vanda to dry out between waterings. Try to water the plant early in the day, so that the foliage will be dry by nightfall. If you are growing your Vanda in a greenhouse, and the humidity is constantly high you can use Physan 20 once a month (add it to your water) to prevent bacterial and fungal disease.
Although Vandas generally prefer 60% to 80% humidity, I can report that my greenhouse almost never has humidity this high. If you can increase the humidity during the growing season, from early spring through late fall, your Vanda will thank you for it. During the summer, watering should be supplemented with daily misting of the leaves. Humidity trays may be needed if your Vandas are growing indoors.
Vandas are heavy feeders. They must be fertilized on a regular basis! For best results, use nutrients every week. The experts recommend that you water the plants first with plain water, and then water the plant with a 1/4 strength nutrient solution. Once a month water only with plain water to flush out any excess fertilizer.
Vandas may be grown in a medium to large sized Orchid Bark Mixture or you can grow them in wire or wooden baskets, which can then be suspended (hung up) by a wire hanger attached to the cage. Plants grown in baskets do not need to be repotted often as those in pots. Vandas grown in regular potting mix in pots should be repotted once every two years. Repotting should be done in the spring.
It is almost impossible to extract a vanda from a “basket” or “cage” once it has become attached to it. When my vandas outgrow their smaller “baskets” I generally leave them in that basket and just place the entire small basket inside a larger basket. I carefully thread the roots through the holes of the new basket and try not to damage the roots as much as possible. One of my Vandas which is currently in an 8″ square wooden (redwood) cage has three smaller “cages” inside the basket from prior stages of its life. It does no harm to leave the old basket(s) there if they are in good shape and not starting to rot.
If your Vanda’s home “Basket or cage” begins to rot (which may also mean that you are overwatering) then you must re-pot for the health of the plant. You will need to extract the roots as carefully as possible before re-potting it in its new home. Soaking the roots for a couple of hours before attempting this will soften the plants roots and make it easier for you to handle them and try to get it out of its old pot. Take your time, and save as many roots as possible. Even if you lose a few roots, the plant should rebound and adapt to it’s new home in no time.
SELECTING YOUR VANDA
Vandas are becoming more available to hobby growers and can usually be found for sale at Orchid Shows and they are also available for purchase from many Orchid Growers websites. You will probably want to start with a smaller specimen, as they are much easier to transport and would be much less expensive. Your Vanda may need to get a bit bigger before it will bloom. Your patience will be rewarded with a spectacular show of flowers.
PESTS Common pests associated with Vandas are scale and spider mites. Check your plant often to make sure it is pest free. Check our section on pest control if you notice any “freeloaders” hanging around your plant. Vandas hung up from the rafters and/or suspended are much less likely to get pests. Best of luck with your Vandas and enjoy the spectacular blooms.
The SFVOS was the recipient of a very generous donation of over 100 Cymbidium Orchid Plants by the Estate of Mr. Yee Quon (“Jack”) Tom. Jack Tom passed away on May 23rd, 2013. Jack loved his orchids, and at one point had over 300 Orchid plants in his collection. He took meticulous care of his prized collection and there were always blooming orchids in their beautiful hillside home in Eagle Rock.
Jack Tom was born eldest of seven in Guangdong Province, China on August 24, 1925. At 19, during China’s conflict with Japan, he left home to pursue his goals and ambitions. He was employed with various government agencies including Yuebei Iron Factory Accounting Department, Quijiang Wushi Training Department, and the Yangjiang County Taxation Department among others. After WW II, he worked in the Cashier’s Division at Guangzhou’s Sun Yet-Sen University. Mr. Tom arrived in Los Angeles in 1951 to work at his father’s restaurant. In 1956, along with friends, he opened the Taoyaun Restaurant in Chinatown.
In 1958, he returned to Hong Kong to marry Dora Chan. The newlyweds returned to Los Angeles to start a family. After the closure of Taoyaun Restaurant, Jack was employed as the chief chef at the famous Kowloon and Wan-Q Restaurants on the Westside. After 40 years in the restaurant business, Jack retired to focus on fruit trees and cultivating orchids. He especially enjoyed reading, listening to classical music, watching NBA basketball, and recreational cooking. In life, he always treated others amicably, with friendship. He took care of his wife, sons, and siblings with love. Jack believed he lived a good life, with a virtuous wife, with filial children, and experienced happiness and longevity. He is survived by and missed by Dora, wife of 55 years, his sons Stanley and Homer, daughter in law Joni, grandson Nathan, and his remaining brother and sisters in the U.S. and China.
We would like to thank the Tom Family for their generous donation. I am sure Jack would be pleased to know that his beloved Orchids will be adopted and cared for by the members of The SFVOS. If you would like to see a slideshow of Mr. Tom’s beautiful orchids, please visit http://www.tributes.com/show/95870991# and click on the photo of Jack then select “Jack’s Orchids” from the photo albums available under the main photo.
Habenaria radiata is a small terrestrial orchid that grows in grassy wetlands throughout Japan, the Korean Peninsula, Russia and some parts of eastern China. It is commonly known as the White Egret Flower. It is also sometimes referred to as the Fringed Orchid or Sagiso.
This orchid’s flower indeed looks much like a Snowy Egret with its wings wide open. Japan is home to many snowy egrets and they often share the same habitats with this little flower. This rare orchid has recently gained recognition around the world for its beauty, but ironically this species is now considered imperiled in the wild.
The leaves are similar to grass blades, between 5-20 cm long, and about 1 cm wide each. New leaves form every spring. Flowering commences in late July and peaks in August. The flower stalk holds anywhere from 1 to 8 flowers, each being around 4 cm wide. The lip, as well as the petals, are pristine white, whereas the sepals are small and greenish.
The plant grows from a small underground tuber, no more than a couple centimeters long, Because this plant is deciduous the tuber serves as an energy source early in its growth cycle, allowing new leaves and a flower spike to form.
This species is in rapid decline over its entire range. Over collection may be a contributing factor, but for the most part the loss has been due to habitat destruction. In the distant past these plants grew in lowland bogs and marshes in the same areas where rice patties were later situated. Rice cultivation rapidly increased, taking more and more of the unique habitat, which was then followed by urbanization, and in lowland areas this species became more and more rare in the wild.
Nowadays, Habenaria radiata exists mostly in upland bogs and seepage slopes in moderate to high mountains (over 500 meters elevation). Because these areas are not considered suitable for agriculture this plant (along with other rare plants) has found its last remaining habitat in modern Japan. While it still can be found on all of Japan’s main islands it is endangered throughout its entire range and is completely gone in some areas.
Most experienced orchid growers find it quite difficult to keep for more than a season or two. This orchid requires conditions not easily duplicated outside it’s natural environment. Because this orchid is endangered one would hope that orchid growers would recognize the need to stop collecting them from the wild so we can keep as many of them alive in their native environments. We should be grateful we can enjoy these orchids vicariously through photographs, and hope we can preserve these unique and beautiful orchids for generations to come.
These orchids are particularly mysterious and are called butterfly orchids. The flower moves in the wind, and mimics a female butterfly which attracts male butterflies to try and mate with it, thus pollinating the flower. It also might have a second trick. The butterfly-like flower might attract a parasitic insect on the lookout for butterflies, or it fools a male butterfly into thinking it’s a female.
There’s even a fun word for it: pseudocopulation. Either way, the orchid succeeds in getting its seeds distributed to continue the life cycle. We got to see a hybrid butterfly orchid.
Psychopsis papilio (Lindley, 1825) H. G. Jones. 1975 Psychopsis mariposa, right.
Originally described by John Lindley as Oncidium papilio, it was removed to the genus Psychopsis by H. G. Jones (1975) in the Journal of the Barbados Museum Historical Society (p. 32). Caution: it’s still marketed occasionally under the old name by some vendors, and under both names by less scrupulous ones!
This species is a native of low-mountain forests in Trinidad, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. It resembles certain species of South American butterflies so well that males attempt to mate with it, and in doing so, pollinate it. P. papilio (Fig. 11) puts out a long rachis. This particular plant’s flower was held on one about 7.5 decimeters (about 30 inches) long, putting it well above the plant’s leaves where it may flutter lightly in a breeze and aide its butterfly mimicry. Another aid to butterfly mimicry is that flowers bloom successively; not a few at the same time.
Psychopsis papilio is often confused with P. kramerianum (see below) which is from Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador, and Peru, but P. papilio has a bilaterally compressed peduncle lacking swollen nodes (P. kramerianum: peduncle terete), and the wings on the columns of each species are shaped differently.
Flower Size to 5″ [to 12.5 cm]
Found from Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru in tropical lowland and lower montane rainforests on large branches at altitudes of 50 to 1300 meters as a medium sized, hot to warm growing epiphyte with small dollar shaped, laterally compressed psuedobulbs subtended by imbricate bracts with spotted undersides of the single, apical, rigid, leathery, persistent, elliptic-oblong, acute, contracted into a short, folded petiole leaf that blooms on a 3′ [90 cm] long, erect, 1 to 2 flowered at a time, successive opening inflorescence with ovate-triangular bracts and large showy flowers. These inflorescence, if left alone can bloom for years so do not cut them as they also can produce plantlets.