Wednesday, November 11, 2009

NCOS Fall Show 2009, part 3

Below are pics of individual flowers from the show that captured my attention.

Cym. Kusuda Beauty (Kusuda Shining x Red Beauty), exhibited by Carter and Holmes

Cym. Solar Flare (insigne x dayanum), exhibitor unknown

Sophronitis (formerly Laelia) perrinii, exhibited by Carter and Holmes

Guarianthe (formerly Cattleya) bowringiana 'Augusta', AM/AOS, exhibited by Carter and Holmes

Lc. C.G. Roebling 'Sentinel', exhibited by Carter and Holmes

Paph. Sander's Pride, exhibitor unknown

Cycnoches Jean E. Monnier, exhibited by Chryss Mavrides

I'm still experimenting with a few Cattleya Alliance hybrids, so anymore of this section will have to wait until I can reliably bloom the few that I have. Instead, I may try a couple hybrids or species of the Cycnoches Alliance for 2010. Their deciduous nature and winter rest period is attractive for one who must bring orchids indoors to overwinter.

NCOS Fall Show 2009, part 2

Below are pics of some of the horticultural exhibits from the Fall Show and Sale.

Individual exhibit by Gene Schurg and Jeff Johnson

Vendor exhibit

Vendor exhibit

Vendor exhibit

Individual plant displays by NCOS members

Flower arrangement in the design of National Capitol O.S. logo, exhibited by Martha Knight

NCOS Fall Show 2009, part 1

The National Capitol Orchid Society hosted its annual Show and Sale during the Columbus Day weekend in October at the U.S. National Arboretum. This year, the show comprised ten commercial vendors and ten orchid societies. There were fewer vendors than last year because of a new vendor supplying a smaller tent.

Members of the Lord Fairfax O.S. setting up their exhibit.

Members of National Capitol O.S. setting up the Sales Tent.

Horticultural exhibits were judged by the American Orchid Society.

Public attendance through the sales tent ebbed and flowed all day Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

In addition to the orchid plant sales tent, the show also featured three artists: one emphasizing paint media, one emphasizing textile media, and one emphasizing ceramic media.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

June NCOS: Virus testing

An esteemed member of our club, Joe Francis, led a discussion at today's meeting on orchid viruses. Joe has an extensive collection of 1,500+ orchids, and began virus testing in early 2009. Presently, his data comprises about 760 tests from his own collection, from hobbyiest colleagues, and from demonstrations at the talks he's given at our regional sister orchid societies.

Joe brought in two demonstration Cattleyas: one showing virus-infection symptoms (CymMV/ORSV double positive) and one that had no visible blemishes (ORSV positive). The bottom line--you can't tell whether an orchid is virused just by looking at it.

I performed 11 on-site tests at today's meeting. Some members brought in leaf samples for testing, but I also asked those who brought in plants for the show table if I they would volunteer a plant to be tested.

Laelia purpurata var. carnea 'Lady Godiva', exhibited by Jeff Johnson. (tested clean)

With the Agdia test strips, Joe's data indicates an overall infection rate of 29%: 16% CymMV, 11% ORSV, and 2% CymMV/ORSV double positive. Presently, the overall Cymbidiums infection rate is 52%, and the overall Cattleya Alliance infection rate is 22%.

Joe then discussed cultural practices to reduce mechanical transmission of virus, e.g. using clean, sanitized and sterilized tools with each plant, using clean, fresh gloves when handling plants for re-potting, using a fresh layer of newspaper as a surface cover when re-potting orchids, cleaning the grow benches, and avoiding water drip from a first plant onto a second plant.

There was also a discussion of how one may clean plastic and clay pots for re-use. It quickly became clear that each person had his/her own way of cleaning pots prior to re-use. I also know of other growers who only use brand new pots. I can see the advantages of this latter strategy, but I haven't yet performed a cost/benefit analysis to decide which solution to practice. I really prefer to minimize the amount of trash I contribute to the landfill. But, if the plastic is recyclable and I can find a source of plastic pots for a reasonably cheap price, then I may switch over to this strategy altogether to eliminate a variable.

All in all, the members appreciated hearing about orchid viruses and how to avoid them. They also wanted to know how to access the testing kits. Joe provided the contact information, and our club will begin providing a testing service and/or virus testing workshops.

Cattleya Marjorie Hausermann 'York', AM/AOS, exhibited by Gene Schurg. The green lip is visible via camera flash, but appears white to my eyes.

Paph. Helvetica, exhibited by Sharon and Eric Butler

Stanhopea tigrina var. nigro violacea 'Predator', FCC/AOS, exhibited by Terri Windlan (just opened up this morning)

Blc. Everything Nice 'First Love', exhibited by Charles Little (began opening yesterday)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

State College, PA Orchid Show

This last weekend was spent in State College, PA to attend their local orchid show, for which our society contributed a display. Their season is about three weeks behind ours, as can be seen by the trees and shrubs coming out of winter dormancy that have since completed their blooms in our neighborhood. Similarly, many orchids for us that have recently finished blooming or whose flowers are in decline are now reaching their peak for our PA neighbors.

There were some nice Cattleyas in the show, such as Laeliocattleya Park Ridge and Cattleya forbesii. The C. forbesii was screened for AOS judging, but previous cultural awards have set the bar quite high.

Cymbidiums were also represented.
Leprechaun 'Goblin', HCC/AOS


atropurpureum (?)
This plant was labelled as canaliculatum, which it is clearly not. Remembering photos from Kobsukh's and DuPuy and Cribb's books, I think it is atropurpureum. It has a nice coconut-type fragrance. It appears that the grower was first presented with this plant as Cym. dayanum, so it has a history of being mis-labeled. Despite this, the plant was pulled for AOS judging against previously awarded atropurpureum, and received an AM/AOS award--pending taxonomic identification-- because the flowers measured larger in size than the previously awarded Cym. atropurpureum.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

April NCOS Show table

Today's speaker was Allen Black, visiting from the Virginia Orchid Society in Richmond, Va. He discussed orchid hybridizing for the orchid hobbyist/enthusiast perspective, how to pollinate orchids, setting up a flasking/re-plating system in the home, and growing the seedlings to their first-blooms. Below is an example of his work, Lycaste About Time. See also

We had a nice turnout of member's plants, examples shown below.
Phal. Brother Supersonic, exhibited by Bob Smith

Cymbidium Little Black Sambo 'Black Magic', AM/AOS, exhibited by Joe Francis

We had three varietals of Cattleya skinneri today. Tina Wood exhibited 'Casa Luna', AM/AOS, and var. alba 'Debbie', FCC/AOS, both shown below. Bonnie Cobos exhibited var. coerulea; however, I did not have the opportunity to photograph the flowers. It was a nice opportunity to compare the color-forms.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Santa Barbara Show

Well, I enjoyed my vacation in California. George Hatfield's family were gracious to host me during my stay. I was able to help install the Hatfield Orchid's display as per Dave Teuschler's design and direction, and help George when/where necessary elsewhere.

Hatfield Orchids' display

Cym. Lowland Tiger, clones 'Leccino', 'Frantoio' and 'Pedolino', created by Andy Easton.

Cym. Ruth Kallman: beautiful flowers, but the plant is too big for my outdoor/indoor growing constraints.

I also clerked for the exhibit judging and AOS flower judging, which was good experience because the SB show is much larger and exhibitors provide many orchids that we simply don't see in our regional shows or judging center. The captain of our AOS judging team had me score flowers for practice judging so I could then compare my score with the judges, which became the starting point for discussion of each category where my points were discordant with the judges.

Exhibitor display #36. (C. Grow, I think.)

Various Cym. lowianum varietals displayed by Exhibitor display #2. (Orchids Royale, I think.)

Cym. (George Formby x Son of Freak) in Exhibitor display #21. (Gallup and Stribling, I think.) Clones 'Andy's Apocalypse', 'Andy's Calamity', 'Andy's Frankenstein', 'Andy's Nightmare', and 'Andy's Oop's' all share the same trait. I'm not a fan of this type of breeding, but this is good genetic material for plant developmental biologists to gain a better understanding of orchid flower development.

Seed Engei display.

I appreciated the corsage and cut flower displays, and the corsage-making for the elderly who attended the show, because our local society has some members who are skilled in corsage-making and flower arrangement. Such features could keep these members active in the club due to their unique talents, and also reach another sector of the public who do not usually attend our show.

The trip West also allowed me to meet several members of the online Cymbidium discussion forum, the Torrance Cymbidium Society and Cymbidium Society of America. It was good to finally meet in person those with whom I'd only communicated electronically. A friendly group of people that I look forward to seeing again when I next return.

During the plane flight home, I read through Kobsukh Kaenratana's new book, "Heat Tolerant Cymbidiums". It's a beautiful book, so much that the person sitting next to me kept looking over to take a peek. The ideas and examples presented definitely got me thinking about what type of cross(es) I might try next season.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Spring Activities

Our orchid society had their annual auction last weekend, which is the biggest fundraiser for the club. I was Auction Chair, so I've been busy dealing with all the tasks associated with being chair of this event. By and large, the auction went off well, and we achieved pretty close to our calculated monetary goals, despite the economic woes. The auction proceeds fund our ability to bring in speakers from outside our geographical region, as well as pay for setting up the annual Show and Sale in the Fall.

The Cyms are, of course, in prime blooming season, and my partner complains that I don't bring enough upstairs to be readily appreciated. Below is a pic showing, left to right, Den. kingianum, Cym. Eastern Beauty 'Robert Chang', Cym. Langleyense 'Cascades', Cym. Mimi 'Mary Bea', and Cym. Mary Green 'Pink Mist'.

I had all three seedlings of Orange Nymph (Orange Brandy 'New Horizon', 4N x Wood Nymph 'Ruby Lips', 4N) in bloom. Of the three, I'm keeping the first one shown below because it has the strongest lip markings. The second one will be on display at the Maryland Orchid Show this weekend, as part the NCOS exhibit (see It has four nicely arching spikes in full bloom. The third one was sold at the auction.

I also contributed the Laelia Newberry Glow (L. anceps x L. milleri) shown below to the NCOS exhibit for the MOS show. I bought this at last year's auction because it's my understanding that L. anceps is a companion plant with Cyms. I had it growing side-by-side with the Cyms, and it yielded four new growths, each producing a spike with at least four flowers. My camera has difficulty capturing the color tones, so on a warm day this last weekend, I took the orchid outdoors for some natural sunlight and provide other colors in the background with the hope that the image quality would improve. Mollie, our shepherd in the background, is rolling around in the grass, also enjoying the weather.

This weekend I'll be flying out to CA to visit my aunt and also attend the Santa Barbara Int'l Orchid Show. I'm very much looking forward to the vacation.