December 1998

December Meeting - PARTY! PARTY! PARTY!
by Harry, Editor

December 1st, 1998

Starts at 6:00 PM in the Casa Del Prado, Balboa Park, Room 101

    Can you believe it’s that time again. I remember having a great time last year, but the first thing that comes to mind is everyone telling me, more finger foods, less desserts!!

    (Come earlier if you can help set up tables and chairs and cover them with
the table cloths.  There is no show and tell at this meeting and no novice class!)

    This is the big meeting we have all been waiting for. Every member in attendance will receive at least one free plant before the evening is over!!  Don’t miss out on this chance to acquire a new orchid to learn with and enjoy.

    Everyone brings something to eat and share with a few others. Members with names beginning with A to H bring desserts, and those with names beginning with I thru Z bring some of your favorite finger foods.  All the beverages will be supplied by the Society.  And if you don’t want to eat off of paper plates with plastic forks etc., and drink from paper cups, then bring your own plates, glasses, candelabra and utensils!!

    During the evening there will be a Holiday Present Swap for those who wish to participate, the Plant Drawing where every member gets a free plant, Entertainment during the evening, and All You Can Eat And Drink from the offerings brought in to share.  Fine orchid friends to chat with while all this is going on.

All You Can Eat And Drink -

    Bringing food is easy, just look to see where your name falls and bring a plate with something appropriate according to the instructions in paragraph two above.  You don’t have to bring enough for the whole society, just you and a few others will be sufficient for us all to have a great evening.  Remember to pick up your plate or dish before we go home.  This is a snack and play event, not a sit down dinner.  If you’re real hungry stop at the Jack In The Box and grab a hamburger.  We want everyone to get some of the goodies.  Last year it looked like some of you guys hadn’t eaten for three days the way the plates were piled.  There were some complaints of plates of food leaving out the door before everyone had even had a crack at the tables.  No more of that please until everyone has been through the line.

    After the evening is over there are always some goodies left. If you want to stick around and help clean up you can sure take some home with you if you want, we don’t want anything to go to waste.  But wait until after the evening to pile those extra plates with food, surreptitiously cover it with a napkin and back out the door.

Holiday Present Swap -

    The present swap is a pleasant way to enjoy the festivities.  Bring in a present for the Present Table, not wrapped, but so everyone can see what it is, and attach your name to the present, “From xxx xxxxxxx” with this name showing plainly.  Put a nice big bow on it, lots of ribbon if you like, and your name, but don’t cover up the present!  It has to be seen easily to be evaluated!!  This year Alma Marosz, our hard working Parliamentarian, will choose the first present off of the table, She will read the name of the person who brought in that present, and they will be called up to select the second plant from the table, etc, etc., until all the presents are gone.

    The present should not be anything but an orchid of some kind, no popcorn, potting material, used pots or wine bottles please.   Some people will bring plants from their collections worth a considerable amount and you will find the nicest presents brought in will be picked first.  They in turn will get an early choice from what remains to be given out.  You must bring a present to participate in this exchange.

    If you don’t go home with something nice from this event it’s your own fault!  Bring something real nice and you will get to pick your choice early in the drawing.  Bring something scudsy and,,, well,,, you may find it there on the table at the end of the drawing.  It has to be nice enough that someone will want to pick it don’t forget.

    I would judge plants brought for this exchange last year ranged in value from $150 to $2, and the persons that got the best, brought the best!  There were four items brought in no one wanted, they were still there when the drawing was over and those who brought them had to take them home.  So if you want to participate and get something nice,,, bring something nice, and have a great time.

Free Plant Drawing -

    As you come in the door for the evening, all society members will be given a ticket, hang on to that one and keep it handy.  All during the evening every ticket number will be called and you can go to the appropriate table of plants and select one you want to try to grow on.  This will go on until every member in attendance will have a new free orchid plant to go home with..  There are usually many kinds of orchids offered here, the society pays from $8 to $10 for every plant given away for the evening, and these are at wholesale prices, so each plant should be worth in the neighborhood of $20 when you get it home.  In this drawing luck counts only a little, the earlier your ticket is called the sooner you get to select a plant, but it’s all such great stuff it doesn’t hurt to be late in the evening.

Oasis of Orchids-

    The Annual Show in March as you know will be called Oasis of Orchids.  Bud Close our Show Director, wants to stress the need for new blood to get involved and help with the show. It’s a ton of fun, and you will make friends as lots of us can tell you that will last your whole life time.

    We do not have enough of our young members involved right now.  We would like to pass on the information on how to work at or how to manage all or parts of this show to some of our younger members.  We need this to keep the society viable.  Many of the show personnel are past 65, and we need some young blood!!!  If you can spare some time contact Bud Close to see what tasks are available.  Nearly all of the tasks will need to be done only the week of the show, it’s not a yearly job.  And your input as to what you think will make a better show will be greatly appreciated also.  What have you seen elsewhere or experienced in another part of the country.

    We are going to use a large screen TV and a Tape Deck to show American Orchid Society videos all during the show.  There will probably be room here for a new volunteer group that will see that the machine is being used properly, that the tapes are changed, and that all gear and tapes remain in the room.  We will show these videos all during the show for visitors and it will be another task we will need someone to take charge of, work out the timing for the videos interspersed with a few hands on lectures as we usually do.

    Please contact Bud Close, 444-8839 A.S.A.P. so we can better understand who is available to do what!

Reed Stem Epidendrums - The Poor Man’s Orchid
by Harry, Editor

    These little guys are becoming more popular all the time. I wrote this article a few months ago, just before the article by Andy and Cindy came out in the AOS Orchids.  Decided since this is my last issue I might as well use it.  There are maybe a few things to add to the cultural info in here.  I think for the most part due to their popularity in the Philippine community of San Diego County.  I have been to large yards full of these orchids in 17 to 20” tubs, what a color display.  Here are some cultural suggestions.

The Poor Man’s Orchid??

    Well not around here lately!!  They were called that because you could pick some up easy from a friend.  They keiki like gangbusters, and you can make many plants in a short time passing duplicates on to friends and unsuspecting non orchid growers who will not realize what you have done to them for several years when they turn around one day and say to them selves, “How the heck did I get started in these orchids anyway??”

Potting Mix -

    You will find this a good mix for nearly all types, even the new hybrids.

4 parts fine (1/8 to 1/4) fir bark
1 part medium (3/8 to 3/4) fir bark
1 part #3 Paramount Sponge Rok (Perlite)
1 part planter mix (ground sphagnum and small perlite basically)

    Mix them all together and have at the potting task. This makes a good mix for small pots like 3 1/2 inch to larger pots like 20 inches across.  Those large pots will usually have about six inches of plastic “peanuts” in the bottom to save some planter mix.  I find this mix is fine for the “species” but you can also raise the new Epi’s and Epicatts in it also, it drains pretty good.  If you find your Epicatts are not growing as well, try a little better draining mix and see if that helps.  If you put them in a planter bed, try to raise the bid slightly above the ground level to make the drainage better.  If you plant them in dirt, most of the active plant will be above the ground.

Pot Size -

    Oh here’s a good subject.  Everyone I meet wants to put a 2” plant in a 20 inch tub, No! No! No!  The pot should only be about 2 to 3” inches larger than the plant all around,,, so if the plant clump is 2 inches a six inch pot is plenty big enough, if the clump is only a few growth and takes up only an inch or so a 4 inch pot will be big enough for awhile.

    “I won’t have to repot so much!” is the argument I hear.  But using too large a pot you will find you still have to repot frequently because of two reasons.  The pot being too big will hold way too much water for the plant.  On top of the plant not growing well, the mix decays too fast and you will be repotting even faster than you did before.  Keep it small, keep the drainage good and pot up to the next size when the plant earns it.  The way the Epi’s grow that may be twice a year anyway, so relax,, start with the small ones and work up.

    The plants will also take to planter beds, but a little harder to keep looking as nice as the ones in the pots.  Hail damage is a real threat to “bedded” plants.  Take the large new growths off the bigger plants and spread them into a planter bed, or put six or so in a big pot.  It won’t be long before you can take them to a show.  How long?  Probably less that a year if they are all new large growths.

    The older plants that you took the new growths off of will not look as pretty now because all the growths will have flowered, and you just removed all the new growths.  You can toss the older plant if you have plenty, but if you want to save it for reproducing keiki’s you can keep it and with the same culture as before the previous flowers stems will start producing keiki’s.  (Some of the new hybrids don’t do that as well or at all.)  The pot with the new growths will be your show plant for a couple of years until you take keiki’s off it and make a newer plant, the older always becomes the breeder.

    If you let the plant get too full of the old growths it starts to look shabby even with the newer growths all around.  A way to make it look better it to clip off the older bloomed out, keiki’d out growths just leaving the new ones.  That will make you a fabulous plant in another couple of years.  You will have to watch and make sure the mix is still fresh and repot in the meantime if necessary.

Fertilizer - Insecticides

    Any good all around fertilizer will work just fine. Use up anything you have before you get more.  I like the lazy way of doing both of the fertilizing and the bug zapping at the same time.

    Ortho makes a product for roses that is terrific for Epi’s also. It’s called Ortho Rose Food and Systemic Insecticide.  Comes in all sizes, you can get it at Walter Anderson’s or Costco or Armstrong.  Sprinkle a little around the base of the plant every three months or so.  Water it in, and presto, you have just fertilized the plants for three months and also sprayed them with a pesticide that will keep aphids and scale off them for the same three months.  Very easy to do, hence, you might do it eh?

    Snails and Slugs can also mess up your plants so keep a good bait out for them all year long.  A new one now available is called SLUGGO.  It’s not harmful for pets, birds, kids etc., but does a good job on the snails and slugs.  This stuff doesn’t break down and turn to mush in the rain either, so broadcast it about once a month to six weeks for good results.

Diseases -

    There are not too many diseases to worry about. I have seen a plant of two that may have been virused, but for the most part the plants around the county look pretty clean.  Scale can be a problem if you let it go too long, aphids are easily taken care of by the Ortho stuff I just mentioned.

    The Epidendrums do get a fungus that shows up as black spots on the bottom of the leaves.  Get a good fungicide at the local nursery to combat that. Spray the whole plant, especially those leaves just above the black spotted ones thoroughly with the fungicide about every three weeks until the new leaves do not show the spots any more.  Some seem more prone to the spotting than others, one circulating around now called “Gladiator” needs to practically be dumped in the stuff.  Then a maintenance spay periodically will help to keep it in check.  The agriculture department in San Diego can recommend materials to spray for you and they respond to phone calls.

    The fungicide has to be sprayed on and dry there for a few minutes so don’t do it on a rainy day.  Give it time to dry completely and form the barrier you are looking for.  The spraying will NOT get rid of any spots that are on the plant already, but it will stop any new leaves from coming up with them.  DON”T spray the flowers when you are applying the insecticide or it will destroy them, they will be brown the very next day.  You can spray around them if you try.

    Some plants will get the spots up and down the main stems but you can get it done with a little effort.  It would be good to set up a periodic spraying schedule so the spots don’t sneak back when you aren’t looking.  During the winter wet months that cycle may shorten to every three weeks if it’s wet like last year.  The periodic spraying of fungicide on your plants outside in the winter is a good idea for any plant.  It will cut down the chance of crown rot on those subject to cold and wet for long periods of time.

Other Things To Watch For -

    If you are suddenly missing a lot of the new tips on the Epi’s put out some Rat Bait!!  The “roof rats” will descend on a nice collection and before you realize what happened you will be short of blooms.  They like the tips of Epi spikes, Cymbidiums spikes, Zygopetalum spikes and even the Laelias like anceps and gouldiana.  If you can’t find the tips anywhere that were there yesterday get some rat bait quick and scatter it around the yard.

    And last but not least, try to protect your Epidendrums from hail.  Nothing will make them look worse overnight than a short hailstorm.  Symptoms after a spurt of hail are little white spots all over the leaves that will never go away.  About all you can do is move the plants if you have warning,,,, or,, you can grow them under shade cloth.  As much as 65 % shade will still give you great flower spikes although I think 50 % might keep the flower spikes stronger in the winter.  I’m planning a cover I can toss over them in the stormy weather because you can never predict when it’s going to hail.  Hail screws them up so bad for so long it’s better to be prepared to either move them or cover them if you can, but a shade cloth cover is a permanent method.  If it wern’t for the chance of hail you can grow the best looking plants right out in full sun all year long.

General Comments -

    The little Epi’s will reward your efforts with an abundance of color all year long.  The Epicatts will probably not do that but still have flowers a lot the year.  They don’t seem to bloom all the time like the species Epi’s, probably the Cattleya influence.  The newer hybrids are usually bigger, fuller flowers, but don’t flower as much for me.  It will be interesting to see what the local hybridizers like John Walters, Ralp Smith and others can come up with for newer hybrids.  I know John has a lot of seedlings he will be offering in the near future.  John and Ralph have enough flasks that when planted out may cover San Diego County!!  Epicatts and other hybrids by breeders Allan Yamada are producing very large colorful flowers on huge clumps at the end of tall spikes.  They are heavy and some will need extra support. I have seen birds land on them in my yard and with the extra bird weight the stem breaks!!  Look for lots of interesting new hybrids in the future and be proud that San Diego is known around the world as the Hot Spot for Reed Stem Epidendrums.  And if you haven’t tried a few already,,, why not?

The Next Mini Show -February 20th & 21st, 1999

    I slipped up and forgot to mention the last mini show in October, but thanks to Forrest Robinson (50) plant display there were enough plants to make a nice show. But we can do better.

    Come February, try to bring at least one plant in for the show, and if you can swing it, at least one division or duplicate for a donation for the sales tables.  We sell plants, divisions or otherwise for the mutual benefit of all in our society.  The money pays for the doughnuts and coffee and whatever at our monthly meetings as well as helping in all other areas of our society.

    We will keep reminding you of this show each month until it happens, then shortly after that our March 18th, 19th, 20th & 21st,,, Big Annual Show will take place in the Scottish Rite Temple in Mission Valley.  Keep checking with Bud Close our Show Chairman, or Bob Hodges or Bob Swanson, or Sam DeMaria if you need to know anything about the big show.

    Back to the mini show, February 20th & 21st. You can bring plants for show or donation the previous evening up till 8 P.M. or Saturday morning until 9:30 A.M.

    Judging is done on Saturday morning at about 9:30 t0 11:00 A.M., then the show opens Saturday morning at 11 or 12 A.M. to the public and closes at 5 P.M. then opens again Sunday at 10 A.M. and closes the doors at 4 P.M. Plants can be picked up at 4 P.M. Sunday, but not before.

    Notice to Orchid Businesses. Bring down a few plants for display, and a sign and a bunch of handouts and receive a free display area for your plants.

    If you need any additional information call Bob Hodges, Bob Swanson, Bud Close or Fred Weber, phone numbers are on page 2.

Classified Ads -

WANTED: Orchid Digest volumes from 1969--1998 for my library. Please contact Cindy Hill 619-481-5782 / if you have copies to sell or trade.

These ads are free to non business members, five lines maximum please, no more.

New Otani East-West Orchid Show -
by Cindy Hill, Free Lance Reporter!

    Andy Philips of Andy's Orchids put on a spectacular ,oooh-ahhh, display at the New Otani East-West Orchid Show in Los Angeles, October 22-25.  The exhibit won the AOS Show Trophy (Best of Show), the AOS Gold Medal (90 points or more and the New Otani Trophy (judged Best of Show by the Southland Orchid Show committee), out of more than 50 displays.  You shouda been there!!!

Benny Bertsch -
by Harry, Editor

    It is indeed sad for me to tell you of the passing of Benny Bertsch, one of our long time members.  Benny (95) was a former law enforcement officer on the San Diego Police Force, and an avid orchid collector.  He sure had some stories he could tell.  We remember well one of his contributions to the orchid world, his son, Dr. Walter Bertsch, one of the prime forces in the development of the cymbidium meristem process.  Another contribution to our world was his famous clone of the Zygopetalum B.G.White ‘’Stonehurst’ known around the world now thru the meristem process.  It is so popular I think if someone blooms a Zygo they don’t know the name of that’s what they call it!!  We who knew him will miss Benny dearly.

Yup! The Last One For Harry, Editor -
by Harry, Editor (My, what a surprise!)

    Yup! This is it, I can’t believe ten years have passed.  Thanks to Rebecca Lawrence and Cindy Hill, I think the transfer will move smoothly.  Rebecca has shown a lot of interest in learning the process and I’m sure will be a fine Editor.

    It’s not just Editor either. Folks seemed to call me when they were HOT about anything!!!  That’s OK, because I just passed it along to the proper recipients!!  I hope Rebecca will be able to do the same.

    If you can help Rebecca with notes or articles or anything please look her up and call her or e-mail her with any information at all about the orchid world.  One of the largest fears of an Editor is fear of not filling the void each month.

    I’ll tell Rebecca in front of the rest of you.  Take anything anyone gives you and make sure it is spelled right.  If you run out of that stuff, make up a story about members or events.  When you run out of that, put in a bunch of pictures.  When you run out of that, make the type really big.  If there is still room for more, steal something from somewhere.  Simple formula eh?  As one of my “friends” put it, I’m so full of Bull I would never run out anyway!

    I had a lot of fun in the ten years I was Editor and thanks to all the contributors, it didn’t have to be all my stuff.

    One of the highlights of the whole ten years was when one of our members looked at my badge and said, “You are the one who does the newsletter??? ” I thought Uh oh! Duck!!  She threw her arms around me and said “Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!  I enjoy it so much!!”  That probably kept me doing it another couple years Irma, thanks for the great boost!!

    I know you will continue to submit things as you have in the past.  When I took the job it was my first whack at really getting involved in the society functions.  Little did I know how long it was going to last.  On the bright side, I can now type lickety split!!!  Cheers, and have a very Happy Holidays, please call and stop by some time if you can.

Harry Tolen, Supreme Commander, Chula Orchids

SDCOS Board of Directors Meeting
November 3, 1998

Present: Fred Weber, Christopher Herndon, Bud Close, Leno Galvan, Edith Galvan, Ann Tuskes, Ben Machado, Cindy Hill and Alma Marosz Meeting called to order at 7:00 P.M.


1. A special board of directors meeting was called by the president to discuss the purchase of a software program , Page Maker, for our new editor.  Any cost over $400 has to be voted on by the members.  The motion to present the request to the members were made, seconded and no one opposed.

The meeting was adjourned 7:05 P.M. Submitted by Siv Garrod

SDCOS Board of Directors Meeting, November 10, 1998

Present: Fred Weber, Bud Close, Leno Galvan, Edith Galvan, Ann Tuskes, Ben Machado, Cindy Hill, Alma Marosz and Siv Garrod. Meeting called to order at 7:05 P.M.


1. Last meetings minutes were read and approved with a date change.
2. Treasurer report for September was read, accepted and filed for audit.
3. First Vice president - Vendors that will provide plants for the plant table are: Oceanside Orchids, Crest Orchids, Close Orchids, TKO Exotics and Andy's Orchids.  There will also be a plant exchange and entertainment.
4. Show Chairman - Letters to the judges has been sent out.  The program is being revised.  There will be a special meeting for the program revision.


1. Cindy Hill - All the advertisers in our newsletter have received a letter explaining the change of editors and new advertisement policies.
2. Cindy Hill - Duncan Werth sent her the lists of all the orchid related books has.  A motion to "link" the entire list was made, seconded and no one opposed.


1. Fred Tomaschke asked Ann Tuskes to present to the board a request of no or low sugar snacks at our meetings for people that are diabetics.  He will make inquire about such items.

The meeting was adjourned 7:55 P.M.
Submitted by Siv Garrod

DECEMBER 1, 1998 - 7:30 PM - CASA DEL PRADO - ROOM 101
By Ben Machado, 1st VP

    Here it is again our favorite time of the year, the Holiday Season is quickly approaching.  Your SDCOS is going to take the first step to put you in the Holiday giving spirit at this month's General Meeting.  Every member who attends will receive an orchid absolutely free!  How about that, you attend a potluck loaded with goodies, you're entertained, you get to spend time visiting with fellow orchid enthusiasts and a gift plant is also included!  And the plant is a quality plant provided by one of five of our newsletter advertisers, Oceanside Orchids, Close Orchids, Crest Orchids, TKO Exotics and Andy's Orchids.

    Oceanside Orchids serves our North County specializing in Phalaenopsis Orchids.  For our Holiday Party they will provide a combination of Phals, Oncidiums and mini Catts.  Close Orchids located in East County will provide a nice mixture of Cattleyas, Laelias and Encyclias. They are known for their award winning stock and will select from that stock to help make up a fine table.  Crest Orchids is a far East County grower. Their stock centers on Vandaceous alliance, Ascocentrum and Philippine species. They promise a blend of the same.  TKO Exotics took over a long established Phalaenopsis enterprise in the Spring Valley area.  Most everything will be from their fine Phal collection. Andy's Orchids is the national hallmark for species orchid sales.  The range of available stock is just too extensive to try to describe.  All of those fantastic species are available right here in our own back yard up the coast a short distance in Encinitas.  The surprise will be ours to see as to what exactly Andy's will put out for our table. Just expect the diverse.