June 1998

Bus Trip To Zuma Canyon Orchids -
by Harry, Editor

About 40 persons took the trip to Zuma Canyon Orchids and had a great time. We came back with the bus loaded with goodies, had a great barbecue meal even if we did have to eat it in the potting shed while it drizzled a little. And that Mama Vasquez guacamole was really terrific! I think all had a great time and Pat and I are looking forward to the next one! Where do we go gang???

I saw even bags of bark and pots purchased and brought back to San Diego, along with Plumeria and other fun stuff, and a bus load of Phals for sure! Zuma is one of the few places specializing in only Phalaenopsis. There was one plant several of us were lusting after and we all wrote down the name and number wound up being the “Best of Show” at the Santa Barbara Show. I don’t think we could have pooled our money and had enough for that one.

Award’s Banquet -

I hope you didn’t miss this one. What a great time. About 200 or a few more maybe showed up for one fantastic meal. I heard absolutely no words against the offerings and lots of them in favor of it. I think those of you who didn’t make it should try harder next year. We had a great meal, all you could possibly want to eat, wine and other beverages and started off with cut fruit and cut veggies and dip for appetizers.

We ate off of real plates, used real silverware, no plastic stuff and had wine glasses and water glasses for everyone without asking. We had wine left guys, where were you? And some reversed the wine and water glasses as the water glasses were bigger!

The arrangement contest was something else. From one of the tiniest arrangements which would have easily fit on a .50 piece (you remember those?) to large baskets filled with amaryllis and Epidendrums, it was quite a show. Some really creative stuff came in, like for the manliest, the arrangement was in a tool box!!

And we didn’t have to set up tables or clean up or anything. We came in, sat down, ate, talked and played, and got up and left. Ranch Catering deserves a round of applause for a terrific meal and service.

By The Way,,,,
by Harry, Editor

As great as this society is, I sometimes wonder about you guys. I know it can be difficult to go to the park, but we have offers of rides which should cover that. You can ride with someone else and go home with them if you call Fred and ask, without being alone or driving at night. No one requested this service.

We bought booklets for society members, anyone in the society could get one free. Of 751 members, about 230 books were ordered and given out! What the heck are the rest of you thinking???? We offered to let you pick of four, the one you liked best. We offered to mail them to you if you could not come pick them up!! We offered to pay the postage for you to get them!! And only 230 or so out of 750 took advantage of the offering. Some of these booklets are offered by the American Orchid Society for up to $13 each!! And they were free for the asking.. HELLO!! Anyone out there??????

Speaking of the Board,,,
by Harry, Editor

Well, time rolled around for a new nominating committee to be needed and no one volunteered so I did. This is not a hard job folks, one of the easiest, next year you could give it a try.

I looked for some other volunteers, and of course I relied on some of the regular members who already devote much of their time to the society . My first choice was to ask Forrest Robinson if he would help out. I knew almost without asking he would help, he always does. Forrest has for years been one of the most helpful to our society. He brings to every meeting over 50 plants in full bloom, every meeting!

He works exhaustively at the show, putting in a display and helping anyone who needs help. Not only here, but he does the same thing at Palomar Society every month. What a class act! How he fits it in between golf, fishing and kaffeeklatsches I’ll never know.

Next I bumped into George Kenner and asked if he would help. George said of course yes. We may see him more at the meetings but right now he is setting up Australian Tours for UCSD and is very busy, but took some time to talk over the nominations.

Ken and Barbie May are newcomers to the Society but help with everything we ask them too. They also wandered into a Kaffeeklatsch on a day I was looking for volunteers. And as I suspected they did not duck either. These folks are all future potential officers too.

With this force of five folks we started out on the quest! We wanted to keep anyone who would succumb for another term as the folks in each job have been doing a great job we all agreed. So we first asked each of the one year term jobs if they would serve another year. We also had one director, Esther Sivila, who had already served a three year term and we looked for another volunteer to give her a little rest.

Nominee for President - Fred Weber (incumbent President) to my surprise said he would take on the President’s task again if elected. Wow! Talk about a glutton for punishment. This guy is such a help to the society, taking much of his own time on society errands and tasks. You will probably remember Fred made the framework for the mine shaft and also built the ore cars and track this year for the society display. Last year he fabricated the infamous “bull”, and the year before that two very large champagne glasses. The glasses were so good the society was able to sell them after the show to the caterer and we got the money that was spent on supplies to make them and a little profit too.

So when it comes to Fred, we are happy to nominate him for President again. I think to sum him up, the words, “just ask!” would be about it.

Nominee for 1st VP - Ben Machado (incumbent 1st VP) Actually when I approached Ben with “the question” he was very eager to do this task again. I don’t know if we will ever tucker him out he is having such a good time doing this job for us. Ben travels all over the country at his job as Program Director for the Navy, so he is able to contact potential speakers for us. You have probably noticed an influx of several speakers from back east in the past couple of years. That’s Ben’s work!!

Ben (along with Fred Weber) was also instrumental in organizing our bus trip last month, he has instigated the silent auction at each meeting, and has lured back east speakers here by arranging for the society to buy extra plants from each of them that the society sells at some of the meetings now. And besides that he is making up great write-ups for the newsletter on the speakers.

Nominee for 2nd VP Chris Herndon ( incumbent 2nd VP ) Chris also jumped at the chance to repeat his office with the society. I don’t know how he finds time for all this he does. Chris as I mentioned before has been writing articles for the American Orchid Society, six of them so far, he has written for The California Garden magazine, and is finishing his last year in college at the ripe old age of 19. He has been taking 20 units a year in college while doing all this and his society duties also. Chris makes an excellent representative for our society, we will miss him when he leaves for Med School.

Nominee for Treasurer Edith Galvan (incumbent Treasurer) We were very lucky when Edith volunteered for this job when Wilma Wilson moved to L.A. She has been doing an excellent job, and works well with all the areas of our society that need bills paid, and reports issued. Edith, like all board members attends most all general meetings, Board of Directors meetings and Show meetings, three each month for our society.

Nominee for Secretary Siv Garrod (incumbent Secretary) This is a great Board we have. Siv also accepted the new nomination for Secretary. These guys are “workaholics”. Siv attends all the meetings and keeps all the notes from each meeting. She also forwards the Board of Directors meeting notes, and not sooner or later but the next morning, so they get in the newsletter every month. She hosted the species group meeting just last month, a real orchid nut!

Nominee for Director 1998 thru 2001 Cindy Hill - Esther is finally getting a rest after three years in this position. That’s three years of meetings three times a month for three years folks. Give her a thumbs up for that. And every year she is our most outstanding ticket seller for the show tickets
selling well over a hundred every year. Cindy would be new blood for our society, she has not held any position to date, but volunteers for everything. She is our Advertising Manager for the newsletter, does all the contacting and billing of the advertisers and potential advertisers. She is a terrific orchid grower and attends most meetings and species group meetings. She was tireless at the big show this year and volunteered for several jobs there. She has been to the orient and tramped thru the jungles in search of orchid knowledge and will make a great Director I’m sure. We hope you will give her a chance.

Leno Galvan, Director is continuing as Director 1996 to 1999 and Ann Tuskes is continuing as Director 1997 to 2000. There is one other Director at large position which if there is no Past President is appointed by the new President when the year starts. The New President also has the task of signing up in July Committee Heads to help him thruout the year which includes, Historian, Membership Committee, Refreshment Committee, Librarian, Newsletter Editor, Special Activities, Show Chairman, Hostesses and Hospitality.

These are the nominations from this years nominating committee. There is also a possibility of anyone in the society nominating someone for any of these positions at the June meeting. If you want to nominate anyone, all that is required is that you ask them before you nominate them. Not fair to surprise them! If there is only one candidate for each office, a motion to cast a unanimous ballot for the slate of officers may be made. If there is more than one candidate for any office, then a vote by written ballot shall be taken.

The nomination of officers is not a hard task. If you can help out next year it would be a great idea for you to either get on the nominating committee or head it up next year. All the rules are in the Members Directory for you so look them over and be prepared next year when the President asks for a volunteer for the nominating committee.

753 Members -
by Harry, Editor

As we finish up this year we have 753 members in our society, a tremendous amount, larger than most in the U.S. I have tried and have found none with a larger membership. This is because no matter what the diverse opinions we have over the various things that the society is involved with, when those that makes the decisions do so, everyone seems to get behind the decision and make it work. Many societies are unable to cope with things like this and break up over some very trivial things sometimes, I’m glad we can work things out. Congratulate yourselves!!

Vanilla Bean Recipes -
From a handout available at the San Diego Zoo Orchid House.

Vanilla Sugar

Place a whole or split vanilla bean into a jar of granulated or confectioners sugar. Seal the lid tightly. Leave the beans in the sugar at least one week before using the sugar. Shake the jar once or twice a day to circulate sugar. This will produce a fragrant sugar, with minimal vanilla flavor. For a stronger vanilla flavor sugar, use one of the following suggestions.

1. Split a vanilla bean in half, scrape the seeds out of the two halves into 3 cups of granulated sugar, or 1 box of confectioners sugar. Place the vanilla sugar into a jar with a tight seal. Add sliced pieces of the bean, and close tightly. The sugar will be flavorful in about one day and will continue to increase in flavor over the next week.

2. Place sugar into a blender or food processor. For each cup of sugar, use approximately 2 inches of vanilla bean, split in half and cut into small pieces. Put in blender or food processor. Pulverize the bean pieces. Store as above. Strain sugar before using.

Beans that are used to flavor custards or other liquids, except for chocolate, can be stored in the sugar jars. This will protect the beans and will continue to add additional flavor to the sugar.

Beans stored in sugar will keep indefinitely, but the fragrance will slowly fade with time. Beans should be replaced within a year or so. Beans used to flavor liquids will lose their flavor and scent more rapidly.

Vanilla Extract -

Place (6) long beans, split open and cut into pieces, into (1) quart of quality vodka! Cap tightly. Place in a cool dark place. Leave for (4) to (6) weeks. Shake bottle occasionally. Strain through cheesecloth, or a coffee filter, before using. Rinse bottle to remove residue, and pour back into the bottle. Add one whole vanilla bean and cap tightly until extract is used.

Background -

>From Kitchen Garden by Teddy Colbert, Los Angeles Times, Sept 1981

Vanilla flavor has two surprises, its source is an orchid, and it is quite possible to grow this orchid as a house plant. The unripe, cured seedpod was an ancient Mexican treat whose distinctive flavor was first sampled by Cortez in a vanilla flavored chocolate drink at the court of Montezuma in 1520. It wasn’t long before it was popular throughout Europe, becoming most everyone’s favorite flavor.

A tropical vining perennial, the vanilla orchid is indigenous to the rain forests of Mexico, South America and other parts of the New World. As an epiphyte it needs, but does not consume another plant for support,. In its native habitat it climbs trees by adventitious or secondary roots. The basic roots anchor the plant and absorb water and minerals from the soil. In high humidity the adventitious roots frequently extend into the soil and boost the plant’s feeding capacity.

Freshly elliptical leaves alternated from the stem and measure from five to twelve inches depending upon the plants maturity and variety. Under optimum conditions, the vanilla orchid flowers in two to five years. Its fragrance is pleasant but does not resemble vanilla!

The flowers must be pollinated during the first day between 9 and 10 in the morning when they are fully open and most receptive. And they must be pollinated in a precise fashion discovered in 1836. Ignorance of this precise pollination was the reason early growers had no luck. In the drawings with this article we show a method that guarantees the production of seed pods, the vanilla “beans”. The beans will take six to nine months to mature and they should grow six to nine inches in length. In order not to overtax the vine, do not pollinate more than eight flowers in one cluster.

Although greenhouse conditions are ideal the vanilla orchid is more tolerant of low humidity and low temperatures than some other orchids. It does need bright indirect light and grows best in an east or west indoor location. During the winter, set it back from a window to maintain a temperature above 60 degrees F.. Lower temperatures seem to prevent flowering, according to Jeff Tyler, former Laboratory director of Stewart Orchids in San Gabriel.

To simulate the high humidity of its native rain forest, pot the vanilla plants inside a larger container stuffed with sphagnum moss and keep it constantly moist. Place it on a pebble tray of water twice the diameter of the pot and group it with other plants. To support the climbing vine, insert into the soil a sphagnum wrapped pole covered with chicken wire. Keep the pole moist and fertilized to encourage aerial rooting.

To prevent root rot use a soil that drains extremely well. A mix high in humus and coarse organic matter, such as a cymbidium mix is a good example. Water frequently to keep the soil constantly moist. With regular fertilizing, a plant in a one gallon container has an approximate productive life of 12 years. Tyler suggests a well balanced liquid fertilizer followed by a fertilizer high in potassium and phosphorous. Apply at strength and intervals recommended on the label.

Beans are ready to harvest when the green tips begin to turn yellow. They have no vanilla fragrance until the curing process activates the enzymes and produces vanillin. Its presence is detected by a heady aroma. Although home grown vanilla is an intriguing and satisfying experience, it is unfair to compare it with the commercial product whose curing process takes less than 120 days!

Norman Beck, co owner of for 38 years of Beck Vanilla Products Co., suggest the following curing process modified for the home grower: Kill the seeds by blanching the pods in boiling water for two minutes. Lay the pods on a wool cloth in the morning sun, then at noon wrap the pods in the wool, allowing them to sweat. Place them in an airtight box overnight and repeat the procedure until the pods shrink, become coffee colored, leathery and exude a vanilla aroma. Store the cured pods in a container that is airtight and light proof.

Discard the beans if they split or develop mold since the mold may develop a toxic substance. You can prevent mold in coastal or humid areas by daily rubbing the beans dry with a cotton cloth. On a cloudy day, place the beans in an oven that has a pilot light, or use other forms of gentle heat..

It is possible to have your vanilla bean and eat it too by storing it in a jar of sugar. The flavor permeates the sugar in less than a week and is delicious in beverages, on cinnamon toast, cereal or in home made ice cream.

Pre Show Tickets and Sales -
by Esther Sivila and Naty Ritua, SDCOS Pre Show Ticket Coordinators,
1674 Abalone Point Court,
Chula Vista, CA 91911

We are now closing our books for this year on the pre show tickets. We would like to solicit your help once again. On January 28th 1998, we mailed you six tickets. Five to sell and one extra for you as a token of appreciation from the society. Some of these tickets are still not accounted for. Please check and see if you returned either the packet of tickets or the $20 to us.

There are actually three ways you can help us,

1. Return all the 6 tickets, or,,,

2. If you have not used or sold all the tickets, return the unsold/unused tickets and pay for whatever was sold, or,,,,

3. Pay for all the tickets. Please make your check for $20 payable to the SDCOS (San Diego County Orchid Society)

Thanks for your help, Esther and Naty

June 2, 1998 - 7:30 PM - Casa Del Prado - Room 101
By Ben Machado, 1st VP

The highly spirited Dr. Guido Braem of Lahnua, Germany is our speaker for the June 2 General Meeting. He’s on his annual US speaking tour returning to the SDCOS after his last visit of February 1997. This time he has the SDCOS at the beginning of his tour schedule. So much in the beginning of his schedule he will have just arrived from Germany in time to make our meeting. Let’s hope United Airlines doesn’t have a delay.

Last year Guido put on a heck of a presentation about European Orchids. The presentation included several straightforward barbed comments directed towards the scientific community and AOS judging. Not anything really offensive but he sure drew the giggles. This time he has a presentation titled "The Slipper Orchid" to include a selection of Cypripediums, Phrags and Paphs.

Dr. Braem is a Plant Taxonomist and an Orchid authority recognized worldwide. His background has included studies throughout the world from Belgium, Toronto, West Germany, concluding with his Doctorate at the department of Plant Biology; University of Newcastle at Tyne, England. His Doctoral thesis was on the taxonomy of Oncidiums of the Caribbean Islands and involved a number of research trips to the American Tropics.. He also made further research trips to Africa, Asia, Central and South America, and the South Pacific. He has authored 6 books and over 100 scientific publications. His articles have been a part of publications throughout Europe, primarily in Germany, Italy and France. He has also provided articles for the Orchid Digest and Orchids the magazine of the American Orchid Society.

The Plant Opportunity Table is going to take a little bit of a change. This time the San Diego Zoo Orchid Greenhouse will provide the plants. It seems there’s an overabundance of plants and the last of the bureaucratic roadblocks has been removed to sell some of those plants to the SDCOS. They promised we won’t see any plants that are on the endangered species list but they did promise a very nice table with considerably more plants and bigger plants than usual.

SDCOS Board of Directors Meeting
reported by Siv Garrod
May 12, 1998

Present: Fred Weber, Leno Galvan, Edith Galvan, Christopher Herndon, Esther Sivila, Ann Tuskes, Alma Marosz, Cindy Hill and Siv Garrod.

Meeting called to order by Fred Weber at 7:04 P.M.


1. Last meetings minutes were read and approved.
2. Treasurer report was read, accepted and filed for audit.
3. Second Vice President - John Walters will be talking about orchid conservation, ecology and habitat.


1. None


1. None

The meeting was adjourned 7:35 P.M.

Novice Class - June 2nd
6:30 P.M. Room 104, Casa Del Prado, Balboa Park
by Chris Herndon

John Walters of Rex Foster Orchids will bring his expertise to the novice class and discuss Orchid Conservation, ecology and habitat. Long a backer of orchid conservation ideas, John has traveled and collected and observed in the jungle and can tell us stories of firsthand accounts of the orchids treatment on earth. Come fill a chair and get ready for some interesting stories.

Poultry Journal -

Well, the story from the Poultry Journal about the eggs last issue came from the August 1946 issue of the American Orchid Society Bulletin! Where else eh?

A Simple Wooden Basket -

I’ll try to describe this guy, simple to make and nice to look at. You can elaborate or change this easy to customize it with your own look by using various spacers instead of the ones talked about here. Only the size of the spacers is important.

Choose cedar, cypress or hardwood for these. Make 15 pieces of wood 7/8 inch by 1 3/8 inches by 12 inches long. And if you want to change the size, just make more pieces for a bigger basket.

Drill a 1/4 dia.. hole in each end, 2 inches from the bottom and 2 1/2 inches from the top.

String the pieces of wood on galvanized wire or plastic coated wire, putting a spacer between each piece of wood. At the bottom use a spacer of 1/2 inch diameter. It can be made of nearly anything you can put a hole thru, beads are easy, inexpensive and readily available, but seas shells could be worked into it also. Use your imagination. For the top, use something with a hole thru it that will space the wood 1 1/2 inches apart. It could be PVC pipe, it could be a dowel, again anything you like the look of with a hole thru the middle. Beads and spacers come to mind, and perhaps three of whatever you used for the bottom spacer eh?

After all the pieces are strung, pull them together real tight, and tie them off in the center of the basket, a nail in one of the pieces of wood might give something to tie it to. Or if you’re really good one hole from the inside to the top hole thru the wood will let the wire come thru.

Three eye screws installed in the sides of three of the pieces of wood will make good hanging places, or simply drill three more 1/4 inch diameter holes thru the tops of three of the pieces of wood before you string it all together. Hangers can be purchased or made to hold the basket.

One last thing, this size basket you can use a gallon paint can lid to press down in the middle and hold it round. If you make different sizes you have to scrounge around till you find a lid that will do what you want. And it looks like,,,,,,,,,,