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December 2017
Volume 71, Issue 5


About the December Meeting

December 11, 2017

7:00 p.m.

University of Washington Center for Urban Horticulture
3501 NE 41st Street
Seattle, WA 98105


Holiday Potluck and Orchid Awards

Happy Holidays!  It's once again time to put our growing skills to the test. Please join your fellow NWOS members in our friendly annual competition. We have two trophies to award, the Schoenfeld Trophy as well as the Rebecca T. Northen Miniature Orchid Trophy. Each person is a full-fledged member, whether they paid for a single, dual or youth membership. So each person is entitled and encouraged to participate in winning one or both of these trophies.  All you have to do is bring in a blooming plant for each.


Let's make this a strong, lively competition. Bring your blooms whether you think they'll win or not. After all, we LOVE to see lots of orchids.

Schoenfeld Trophy

Rebecca Northen Trophy


The Schoenfeld Trophy is awarded to the best blooming plant of any size.

The Rebecca T. Northen Miniature Orchid Trophy is awarded to the best blooming plant that is 6 inches or less in height, excluding the bloom spike.

Everyone at the Holiday Party will cast a vote for each trophy. The winner will keep the trophy until the December 2018 potluck.

This year at our annual Holiday Potluck Party we will continue our annual tradition of gift plants.  These are quality plants purchased specially for this event.  Each member who's dues were paid by Nov. 13 will be able to select a plant that is suitable to their growing conditions.  You must attend in order to receive your plant.  Again, each person is a full-fledged member whether they joined as a single, dual or youth membership and will receive one free plant as a gift from the society.

To kick off the festivities the society will provide beef or a spiral cut ham and a turkey breast along with the plates, utensils, etc. We are asking everyone to bring additional food: a main dish, salad, drinks or dessert to share for our Potluck Party. For reference and to help decide what delicious food to bring, you could use the handy list. If your name starts with:

A - I = bring a salad or vegetable
J - R = bring a main dish
S - Z = bring a dessert or drinks

Consider this a guideline only, if you have a dish you are known for, or just want to share with others, please bring that instead.

Display Table:

No display table this month, but bring in your best plants to compete for one or both trophies.


Sales Table:
No sales table this month, but extra holiday plants will be available to purchase after the members have all received theirs.


No raffle this month.


NWOS Library: 

No library this month.

Membership Renewal Reminder


Unless you joined since July 1, it's time to renew your membership.  The NWOS membership year now goes by calendar year.  During this transition year it will go from July 1, 2017 through December 31, 2018 (18 months).  You can pay at most meetings by cash, check, or debit/credit card.  You can mail a check (payable to NWOS) to PO Box 51021, Seattle, WA 98115-1021.  New members should complete the Membership Form.


Dues are $30 for one person or $40 for two people at the same address.  We also have a Youth membership of $15 for one person aged 22 or under.  Dues are kept low to encourage membership but they cover only a small portion of the society's expenses.

Each single, youth and dual membership person will be considered an individual full-fledged member entitled to all privileges and benefits of the society (voting, Christmas plants, etc.).


Please contact Mike Cory for questions about your dues.

pressed specimen of
Angraecum sesquipedale

Immortalize Your Orchid

At last month's meeting, we were very impressed with the work of Eve Rickenbaker and her associates at the Hyde Herbarium.  And as it turns out, they offer a unique and special service.

If you would like an orchid dried, pressed and mounted on herbarium archival paper by the Otis Douglas Hyde Herbarium at the Center for Urban Horticulture, please contact Eve Rickenbaker at hydeherb@uw.edu.  A minimum $40 donation per specimen to cover costs to the Herbarium will be appreciated.  These specimens are beautiful when framed. 


December:  The Month of Unbridled Joy

by Thomas Mirenda

Gifting Your Friends with Orchids and the Joys of Growing Them

I’m not ashamed to say that of all the people who’ve come and gone through my life, I miss my mother, Patti, the most. This might make me a sentimental mama’s boy to some, but I don’t care. Mothers throughout history have always gone to heroic lengths to bring happiness to their progeny. I’ll never forget one holiday season when I was eight or nine. I was an avid collector of rare seashells (I still am) and mom took me to meet a famous local collector she read about in the newspaper to encourage my interest. There was a fascinating shell in that collection that was rare and probably one of a kind. After all these years, I’ve never seen another. It was beyond my imagination that I would find this rare creature inside a box under the Christmas tree that year. I don’t think I can recall ever again being as ecstatic. I’ll never know what she had to do, nor how much it must have cost, but that is what love is. And that year I knew I was loved.

We all have the power to create such unbridled joy. With our orchid friends, in this day of massive orchid propagation, such tasks are easy. Most adults won’t indulge in that rare orchid for themselves, but you know what brings your orchid friends joy. With all the strife, division and despair we’re feeling around the world, the gift of a young seedling or clone of that orchid your friend so desperately wants should go a long way to spreading much needed happiness and goodwill. This holiday season, I encourage you to spread that unbridled joy of orchid growing. You might be surprised at how good it makes you feel when full-grown adults jump up and down and run screaming around the room like beloved, happy children.

BREAK THE ICE  The weather has taken a turn for the inclement with the winter season. It’s bleak, barren and cold outside, but warm, buoyant and full of life in the greenhouse. Spikes are everywhere this time of year, particularly on Phalaenopsis and Cymbidiums, but also on many others triggered by cooler night temperatures and short day lengths. Collecting ice and snow can be novel ways of supplying pure water for your orchids, although you would want to melt them and allow the water to reach room temperature before applying to your plants because cold water will shock them. Imagine someone sticking your foot in an ice bucket while you’re sleeping.

UP IN THE AIR  There is one thing that we all tend to lack in our air this month. If you wake up with a scratchy throat and a dry mouth in the morning, it’s a sign your humidity has plummeted, often to levels lower than a cactus might need. In the greenhouse, misting systems and wetting down gravel and floors can help alleviate this problem, but on windowsills this can be much more challenging. Pebble trays are one option, but any humidity that rises a few inches above the surface dissipates quickly. (A pebble or humidity tray holds wet pebbles on which containers are placed; the increased surface area of all the stones creates extra humidity around the plants.) Grouping your plants can help create a humid microclimate. Frequent misting can be beneficial, but is labor intensive. Placing plants behind a partition or shower curtain can create that humid terrarium effect, but beware of low air circulation under such circumstances. I never cease to be amazed by the ingenious ways people solve these problems for their individual conditions. If you have a novel solution you’d like to share with our readership, please send it to me.

KEEN OBSERVATION  Because temperatures and day lengths have decreased dramatically over the last two months for most of us, it is more important than ever to monitor your watering, fertilizing and other proactive activities in your collection. Some frequently grown orchids, including Cattleyas, Phalaenopsis and most Dendrobiums, need significantly less water now than they did three or four months ago. It’s okay for most succulent orchids, particularly those with large pseudobulbs, to dry out more thoroughly at this time of year. Some plants should barely be watered at all. This is especially true for deciduous dormant plants, such as Catasetums, nobile- and other deciduous-type Dendrobiums, many terrestrials and seasonally dry forest plants, such as Prosthechea citrina and Prosthechea mariae, that will rot if watered heavily at this time of year. Aside from books, the best way to know these things is to observe your plants daily, and learn as much about individuals as you can. At that orchid club holiday party, ask those more experienced growers about the plants you’re having trouble with or don’t know much about. With few exceptions, orchid people tend to be uncommonly nice. Most are happy to help.

This is a re-print of an article from Orchids magazine, December 2013.  It’s still as useful today as it was when Tom first wrote it.  Tom Mirenda has been working professionally with orchids for over three decades, is an AOS accredited judge, recently coauthored The Book of Orchids: A life-size guide to 600 species from around the world and begins this month as the director of horticulture, education and outreach at the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden (email: biophiliak@gmail.com; www.htbg.com).


Tom Mirenda is the head orchid curator at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.  We are very fortunate to have him present his lecture on "Orchid Hunting in Central America" for our October, 2018 meeting.

News from the American Orchid Society

Note: There will only be a Greenhouse Chat in the month of December. Additional webinars will be added after the new year.

American Orchid Society: Greenhouse Chat with Ron McHatton
Thursday, December 14, 2017 @ 8:30 PM – 9:30 PM EST

Please join Ron McHatton, American Orchid Society Director of Education and Science Officer, who will discuss a variety of topics on orchid culture based on questions submitted by attendees. Please send you questions to stillisch@cox.net  by Sunday, December 10th.

Register now using this link: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/2847045007049760515

Note: After registering, you will receive a confirmation e-mail containing information about joining the seminar.

WHAT ARE WEBINARS? Webinars are an Internet conference where you can hear the speaker and view his presentation, ask questions, and hear interactions from other members of the audience. You can join either on your computer or by phone. You can join from anywhere, via your Mac, PC or even your mobile device. Audio is included, so attendees can phone in or use VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). You will need a microphone for your computer to use VoIP.

WANT TO LEARN, BUT CAN’T MAKE THE DATE? The live webinars will be recorded and posted on the AOS website, where you will find a link allowing you to view the webinars at your convenience.

THE DECEMBER ISSUE OF ORCHIDS MAGAZINE will feature great articles and beautiful pictures on:
• Orchids Illustrated - Gymnadenia
• For the Novice - Gift Ideas for your Orchid Fanatic
• Genus of the Month - Telipogon

Telipogon ariaasii 'Cesar' AM/AOS; Photographer: Walter H. Wust

• Collector's Item - Neobathiae grandidieriana: Is Yours Correctly Identified?
• The New Refugium Botanicum - TBD
• OrchidRoots.org
• Photograph of the Week
• Phragmipedium Tall Tails 'Gayle's Ozone', AM/AOS - without a greenhouse

Phragmipedium Tall Tails 'Gayle's Ozone' AM/AOS; Photographer: Larry Vierheilig

'TIS THE SEASON...Tell Santa you'd like a membership in the AOS.  If you become an American Orchid Society member, you'll have considerably more resources at your disposal making growing orchids even more enjoyable and successful.  Make sure to add that you're a member of the NWOS on your application so our society will get extra credit for your membership.  And… Here’s a link to check it all out - http://www.aos.org/

Digital Access To Over 350+ past issues of Orchids magazine extending back to 1932!

ALSO FEATURED IN ORCHIDS MAGAZINE:  16-page award gallery of breath taking pictures of recently awarded orchids.

RECENT ORCHID AWARDS PICTURES ON THE AOS WEBSITE:  See fabulous pictures of the most breathtakingly beautiful orchids receiving awards from the AOS! Visit the new “Latest Orchid Awards” page on the AOS website to enjoy these stunning photographs! Click on the thumbnails to see them in larger format. Free to members and nonmembers.

Cattleya pumila 'Jocelyn' HCC/AOS; Photographer: Ramon de los Santos

Let’s grow together,

Denise Lucero, Vice-Chair, AOS Membership and Affiliated Societies

Report from the November Meeting

Laelia superbiens


Abigail Chang, President, opened our meeting with a welcome to everyone, especially new members and visitors.  She then gave a report on our recent very successful event at Swansons Nursery and asked for feedback.  She also asked for someone to step up as Show Chair for next year.  We managed well without an official Chair this year, but it's always best to have a designated leader.  George Grantham gave thanks to everyone who Sponsored our show Trophies.  He also talked about the exhibit at the WA State Fair in Puyallup, gave out awards and cash prizes.  Joe Grienauer spoke about our upcoming display garden at the NW Flower and Garden Show, pointed out sign-up sheets, and said that there will be a planning meeting.

Abigail also announced that we have 2 open Board positions, one is a one year position, and the other is for two years.  Please let any of the current officers or Board members know if you'd like to serve or would like to nominate another member.  Membership dues are due tonight in order to qualify for a gift plant at the December meeting.  See Michael Cory for details or questions about your membership.  Ellen Macomber encouraged us to purchase Raffle tickets as there are a lot of plants on this month's table.  Proceeds go to support our Scholarship fund.


Mike Foster introduced our speaker, Eve Rickenbacker.  Eve not only gave in inspiring talk, but brought an amazing display of dried specimens for us to view from the Otis Douglas Hyde Herbarium where she works as the Manager.  The collection of dried pressed plant specimens come mainly from the WA Park Arboretum, the UW Botanical Gardens and the UW Greenhouse.  She stressed that they art not just relics of history but tell us about current environmental conditions, track invasive plants, and give evidence of climate changes.  Herbariums not only teach us about plant identification, but we can also see if plants are hybridizing in the wild.  Because they contain actual DNA researchers gain a wealth of knowledge well beyond what they would have with just drawings and descriptions.  It's interesting to compare the CO2 levels before industrialization compared to present day levels.

Eve also gave us a historical perspective showing the physics gardens with medicinal plants and the record of how plants were used by Dioscorides, a Greek physician of the 12-13th century.  Then there was Luca Ghini who created the first recorded herbarium.  Carl Linnaeus then standardized herbaria in ways that are still being used today.


It was a delightful evening learning about this special treasure that we have right next door to our meeting room at the Center for Urban Horticulture.

Joe Grienauer reviewed the plant table.                                                    Photos: Diane Drisch

Joe talks raffle table
specimen display herbarium history full tables
Dendrobium palpebrae Phragmipedium longifolium Stanhopea wardii
Gongora galeata pages Paphiopedilum insigne
Stanhopea tigrina Oncidium ornithorhynchum Vanda coerulea
looking at specimens many wonderful pages
After the presentation there's lots of discussion and intense interest
Neofinetia falcata 'Shutenno',
Mike Foster & Donna Pierce
Paph. parishii,
Mike Foster & Donna Pierce
Paph. concolor,
Mike Foster & Donna Pierce
Paph. wardii,
George & Cylvia Grantham
Paph. Little Trouble,
Mike Foster & Donna Pierce
Paph. gratrixianum #1,
Thuan V Nguyen
Paph. gratrixianum #2,
Thuan V Nguyen
Paph. gratrixianum,
Joe Grienauer
Den. Aussie Parade 'Carrot Splash' HCC/AOS x Den. fleckerii 'SVO',
Joe Grienauer
Dendrobium limpidum,
Diane Drisch
Dendrobium moniliforme
'Royal Basin', Diane Drisch
Brassia Rex,
Thuan V Nguyen
Epigenium nakaharae,
Joe Grienauer
Odont. cristatum,
Joe Grienauer
Cattleya Chocolate Drop 'Kodama',
Thuan V Nguyen
Cattleya harrisoniana,
Thuan V Nguyen
Scaphosepalum breve,
Mike Foster & Donna Pierce
Pleurothallis gobyi,
Lisa Ellis
Stelis microchila,
Joe Grienauer
Bulbophyllum lobbii,
Joe Grienauer
Bulbophyllum putidum,
George & Cylvia Grantham

Schedule of Upcoming Events


December 11, 2017 - NWOS meeting - Potluck dinner, Christmas Plant giveaway, Schoenfeld and Northen Trophy contests


December 16, 2017 - AOS Judging Center, monthly judging, 12:30 pm


Jan 4, 2018 - NW Flower & Garden Show Committee Meeting - 6:30 pm at Chris Peterson's

Jan. 8, 2018 - NWOS meeting - Annual Culture Clinic


Jan. 27, 2018 - AOS Judging Center, monthly judging, 12:30 pm


Feb. 12. 2018 - Feb. 13, NWOS meeting - Speaker:  Peter Lin, "Orchids of the World"


Feb. 7-11, 2018 - Northwest Flower & Garden Show


Feb. 17-18, 2018 - Mt. Baker Orchid Society Show, Mt. Vernon, WA


Feb. 17, 2018 - AOS Judging Center, monthly judging at the Mt. Baker Orchid Society Show


March 12, 2018 - NWOS meeting - Annual Orchid Auction


March 17, 2018 - AOS Judging Center, monthly judging, 12:30 pm - Final judging


March 19, 2018 - Hands-On Potting Clinic


March 24-25, 2018 - Spokane Orchid Society Show and Sale


April 9, 2018 - NWOS meeting - Speaker:  Dr. Raymond Cloyd, "Sustainable Pest Control"


May 14, 2018 - NWOS meeting - Speaker:  Wally Orchard, "Growing South African Disa"


June 11, 2018 - NWOS meeting - Annual Meeting, Gary Baker Service Award and Potluck Dinner

Reminder for Officers & Board Members


The schedule of Board Meetings for this fiscal year is: 1/2/18, 3/6/18, 5/8/18.  Meet at 7 p.m. at Mike & Sheila Cory's house unless notified that it's been moved elsewhere.

Shopping on Amazon?  Use this link to Earn $$ for NWOS


If you go to http://smile.amazon.com and sign in to your account, you'll be given information about supporting various non-profits.  You can type in "Northwest Orchid Society" and it will then send .5% of your purchase price to the organization.


It's really easy, but you have to remember to go in through the 'smile' subdomain when you place the order, otherwise it will go through as a regular order.


NWOS Website Links

Special Announcements


No Special Announcements this month.