Helge W.'s posts

August 2014 – Phyllis Prestia

Phyllis PrestiaPhyllis PrestiaOur featured speaker this month is one of our own members, Dr. Phyllis Prestia.  Phyllis will talk on the genus Cycnoches and will give the hobbyist orchid grower a thorough review of the distinctive traits of these spectacular orchids.  She will highlight the key species most popular in modern Cycnoches breeding and their influence of color and form in both primary and complex hybrids.  

Phyllis’ comprehensive review of the culture for these relatively easy to grow orchids, including tips from her own successful experiences in growing them, will allow even those new to the genus to grow, bloom and enjoy these beautiful, fragrant orchids.

The opportunity table will be provided by Sunset Valley Orchids and will likely include some cycnoches hybrid seedlings. 

Phyllis S. Prestia, Ed.D. is a retired educator and Middle School Principal, who received a Doctorate of Education at Rutgers University, where she also served as instructor in the graduate education program.  

Originally from New Jersey, she moved to California with her husband to retire in the sunny, San Diego area and grow orchids.  Her collection includes a variety of species and hybrids across several genera grown both in a small greenhouse and three outdoor growing areas under shade cloth.  

    Read more »

Wed, 08/06/2014 - 6:30pm - 9:30pm

July 2014 - James Rose

James and Lauris RoseJames and Lauris RoseWe are very fortunate to have James Rose of Cal-Orchid, Santa Barbara return to POS to speak on ‘Laelias of Mexico’.  Although the genus Laelia was at one time a very large group including plants from Mexico, Central America, and Brazil, today's taxonomists have, rightly or wrongly, reduced the genus to a small group of 11 species all of which are endemic to Mexico.  These plants vary from the quite common (ex. Laelia anceps) to some of which are very rarely seen in collections. The flowers and plants are quite variable and all exhibit a classic beauty associated with other members of the Cattleya group.  All of these species are unique and have considerable worth in horticulture. Many have great potential in producing new hybrids.  James lecture will deal mostly with the variability of the many flowers and the habitats and conditions from which they grow. Hopefully, we can all share some knowledge in the wonderful world of Orchids. Cal-Orchid also will provide the plant table.   Read more »

Wed, 07/02/2014 - 6:30pm - 9:30pm

June 2014 - Bruce Kidd

Bruce & Yasue KiddBruce and Yasue Kidd have grown orchids for about 15 years on the edge of the Mojave Desert in Murrieta, CA. Bruce worked as a horticultural pest control adviser for Dow AgroSciences, a 30-year career which brought him into frequent contact with commercial orchid growers in Hawaii and California. 

Since retiring in 2010, Bruce and Yasue Kidd have made several trips to Asia to see orchids in the wild, in local collections, and in nurseries. They spent the majority of their time in Thailand and Vietnam, not all of it focused around orchids. Bruce's presentation will cover some of the orchids, sights, and people one might expect or want to see during a visit to this part of the world. He'll take a close look at how the locals are working with orchids to conserve their natural legacy while expanding opportunities for ecotourism.

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 6:30pm - 9:30pm

May 2014 – Auction Volunteer Orientation Meeting

Instead of of the general agenda, we will be using this month’s meeting as a training and orientation session for all volunteers for the upcoming auction.

The annual auction is POS’ main fund raiser and we depend on contributions from our membership to the event, namely plant donations and volunteer time. 

As this is prime re-potting time, please consider setting aside some divisions for the auction. Every year, member and vendor donations have enabled us to raise the money we need to pay for our meeting facility, our speakers, and the opportunity table.

We are fortunate to have a few very active individuals but we need your help for the auction! There are still a handful of responsibilities to be assigned and you are strongly encouraged to participate. Consider signing up some of your family members as well, this may actually be a lot of fun for them!

All volunteers will receive a plant at the orientation meeting as a token of gratitude. 

Whether you are able to volunteer or not, please join us on May 17 at the Pavilion and take advantage of the opportunity to purchase some very nice plants at very reasonable prices!

Wed, 05/07/2014 - 6:30pm - 9:30pm

April 2014 - Culture Class with Jerry Spencer & Merle Robboy

April’s program will be devoted to orchid culture and feature two of our experienced orchid growers who will discuss cultural aspects of interest to our members.  Jerry Spencer will speak on "Growing Specimen Orchid Plants", while Dr. Merle Robboy will address "Purchasing Orchid Plants for Coastal and Inland Areas and Adapting Plants for Your Growing Conditions." Following their talks will be a Q & A session moderated by Alex Nadzan. Members are encouraged to submit questions in advance on any topic they would like to bring up (call 760-753-6280 or email to anandzan@mac.com) or just raise them at the meeting.  Participants also are welcome to bring in their problem plants for diagnosis; however, please bring plants in either paper or plastic bags if they appear to be infected with a disease in order to minimize transmission to other plants.  We encourage all members to actively participate in the discussion.

The opportunity table is to be supplied by Rex Foster Orchids that will include a number of their novel cattleya alliance hybrids and some select species.

Wed, 04/02/2014 - 6:30pm - 9:30pm

March 2014 – Fred Clarke

We are fortunate to have Fred Clarke as our speaker for March. Fred ClarkeFred ClarkeFred is a long time, generous supporter of the Palomar Orchid Society and one of our most favorite speakers. Fred will be talking on “Growing Catasetums”. His presentation will describe catasteum species and hybrids and share with us tips on how to grow this very interesting class of deciduous orchids. Fred’s talk is not to be missed, as he is an excellent speaker who has lectured on many orchid subjects in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Latin and South America. Fred is also providing the plant table, which will likely include some of his new catasetums hybrids as well as novel cattleyas hybrids.

As many of you know, Fred is a passionate orchid grower and hybridizer whose curiosity in orchids is broad and varied. Accordingly, Fred has created many new hybrids across several orchid classes. Although developing new cattleya hybrids has been a long-standing, primary interest of Fred, he also has produced new Aussie dendrobium, bulbophyllum, paphiopedilum, sarcochillus and zygopetalum hybrids. Moreover, his pioneering work in catasetum intergeneric hybrids led to the development of several unique hybrids, including the grex, Fredclarkeara After Dark, which produced “the closest flower color to black ever witnessed”. To date, this grex has received eight FCCs and six AMs.   Read more »

Wed, 03/05/2014 - 6:30pm - 9:30pm

2014 POS Annual Auction Details

Our annual auction will be held on May 17, 2014 at the Pavilion at Lake San Marcos. Preview starts at 10:00 am and the auction begins at 11:00 (note the earlier start times compared to previous years). This annual orchid event celebrates Palomar Orchid Society with hundreds of flowering orchids (many rare) and other items to be auctioned off. Learn about orchids and their cultivation with numerous orchid experts on hand for questions. Free to the public.   Read more »

February 2014 - Sandra Tillisch Svoboda

Sandra Tillisch SvobodaSandra Tillisch SvobodaWe are pleased to welcome Sandra Tillisch Svoboda, current President of the American Orchid Society, who will be speaking on "Breeding with Recently Described Paphiopedilums from Vietnam".  Sandra’s visit is jointly hosted by the Palomar and the San Diego County Orchid Societies.  Accordingly, she will present a talk on Tuesday, February 4 to the San Diego Society on “The Orchids of Bhutan” for those of you who are interested in that topic. This month’s plant table for will be provided by Casa de las Orquideas.

Growing up in Minnesota, Sandra's only exposure to orchids was that prom corsage. After graduating with a degree in nursing, she moved to California and ended up in Santa Barbara. She began her orchid life as a pot washer for her husband Al and became fascinated with the history of her husband's complex paph collection, which included many of the oldies like Paph. F.C. Puddle. Al's knowledge, love, and enthusiasm for orchids were contagious and when they built a second greenhouse, she decided it would be hers and that was the moment that orchids became an important part of her life.    Read more »

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 6:30pm - 9:30pm

January 2014 - Dan Newman

Dan NewmanDan NewmanWe are pleased to welcome Dan Newman of Hanging Gardens, Pacifica, CA, who will be speaking to us on ‘Dendrobiums: Jewels of Gondwana’. The genus Dendrobium is one of the largest and most complex orchid genera of Asia, Australia, and the Pacific, encompassing a great number of horticultural gems among its 1000-plus species.  People often ask how to grow Dendrobiums.  There is no simple answer for such a diverse group of plants, occurring in habitats ranging from the monsoonal foothills of the high Himalayas to the perpetually cool alpine grasslands and steamy lowland swamps of equatorial New Guinea, and from the tropical forests of remote Pacific islands to the temperate, seasonal regions of southern Australia.  Dan’s talk will focus on several popular sections of the genus, starting in the Himalayas and Southeast Asia and working southward to New Guinea and the Pacific, with photos of representative species and discussion of their culture in the context of the habitats where they originate.  The goal of this presentation is to encourage interest in these fascinating orchids and provide useful information about their cultivation.  Dan will be providing the plant opportunity table and also will be giving a talk on ‘Minature Orchids’ to the San Diego Society on Tuesday, January 7 at 7:00 pm should you desire to take in both of his talks.     Read more »

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 6:30pm - 9:30pm

January To Do List


  • Short days and cold nights in January will keep most of your orchids in a semi-dormant growth state but Fall/Winter blooming orchids will initiate spikes at this time.  Watch them very carefully and cut back on water and fertilizer as cooler days and nights prevail.
  • Protect your outdoor orchids from winter rains.  Keeping them on the dryer side will allow them to tolerate the cold winter nights we tend to experience in Southern California.  Water and fertilize sparingly during winter warm spells.
  • As watering and fertilizing practices diminish for winter, be sure to leach your plants thoroughly. Make your last thorough watering a leaching process in order to address 'salt built up' issues before diminished watering starts. Roots should readily be able to absorb the little water and nutrients that they may get during this period. Roots heavily encrusted with excess minerals are not able to absorb the ones they need and may develop deficiencies or even excess toxic levels during dryer conditions.
  • Keep cold-sensitive, warm growing orchids (phals, paphs, tolumnias, most vandas and warm growing dendrobiums and cattleyas such as violacea, dowiana and their hybrids) inside or in a greenhouse to protect them from night temperatures below 50°F. An excellent article on ‘Cold Tolerance of Orchids’ by Sue Bottom of the St. Augustine Orchid Society can be found in their October Newsletter (pgs. 9-11)
  • Cold loving orchids, including odontoglossums, miltonias, pleurothallids, masdevallias, draculas, will thrive in cool weather and respond by initiating growth so continue to water and fertilize them during this period but also protect from freezing temps. Take this opportunity to divide or repot them during their winter growth period to encourage new growth and avoid the stress of repotting during the warm season.
  • Winter blooming cattleyas and cymbidiums should be in bud or full bloom by now. Provide adequate water and fertilizer, but do so in the mornings so plants dry out before nightfall. Stake cymbidium spikes to guide inflorescences for support of buds and blooms.
  • Maintain good hygiene practices to minimize transmission of pests and viruses. Watch for fungus, bacterial rot and cold burn in cold and wet weather. Remove infected tissues and treat accordingly. More information on treating these disorders can be found on the AOS website.
  • More details on monthly checklist items for specific genera can be found on the AOS website