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Work station and accessories
By terrestrial_man at 2007-02-01 03:23
hen I first started growing plants inside I was living in a trailer and had a metal shelf with lights and grew a number of house plants. The plants loved the warmth of the kitchen they were in and the west facing shaded window proved to be the ideal place for them. While I was low-budget at the time I did not have any nice accessories, such as a watering can or even a spray bottle to water the plants. It was just the old soak them in the sink routine! It seemed that my major accessories were an old beat up cardboard box and newspapers that I used whenever I had to repot any of the plants. Didn't even have labels or a thermometer! Definitely low-budget!
While the plants that I now grow center more around orchids, I have found that it is necessary to have a spot where I can keep different soil mixes, pots, assorted tools, containers, and gadgets that I have grown used to having around to make it easier for me as I divide and repot plants. The focus of this work station is a very basic desk and accompanying large stackable Rubbermaid totes.
The desk offers a surface area where I can place shallow trays or plastic dishpans that I use to repot a plant in or to make up a new batch of mix. The three drawers serve to hold both my reference books and small supplies and gadgets in a very convenient location to my potting surface. In the foot-well of the desk rests small bags of the ingredients I use in my mixes, as well as small plastic storage boxes with mounting bark, wire, and bits and pieces of stuff that seemed to fit nowhere else!
In looking over the stuff of caring for my plants I consider the following to be the most important apart from the ingredients that make up the mixes:

By orchidsusa at 2007-01-31 20:25

even travelers plus three Guatemalan plant experts who included Jeronimo Lancerio – Bromeliads, Romeo Soto – Movie producer and environmentalist and Jorge Pontaz – Landscape architect, agronomist and greenhouse owner. Plus the lucky seven – Anne and David Joffe of Sanibel Island, Florida, owners of She Sells Sea Shells, a world renowned seashell business. Professor Barry Wilson, PhD. – Orchid Hobbyist, Matt Richards – Horticulturist and Orchid propagator, Steve Beam – a director of the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens and landscape architect, Scott Joffe – Orchid Grower and co-organizer of the trip, and myself, Steve Guiness – Plant collector, grower, floriculturist and co-organizer of the trip..
Our mission and objective was to explore and rescue fallen and distressed plants and remove plants that are in areas about to be cleared for farming and other projects. With permits and permission from the government of Guatemala and all legal and required paperwork for export, we set out.
Most of the group arrived Saturday August 10th except for Matt. After flying from Ohio to Los Angeles without stopping in Dallas due to inclement weather, he arrived in Guatemala City Sunday morning August 11th. This gave him one hour to shower and leave with the rest of us. We were finally ready to head off on our adventure!

Sunday August 11
Off on our plant adventure! We headed East towards Teculatan in the Motagua valley in the shadow of the Sierra de Las Minas mountains to the farm of a friend where we were allowed to search his property for plants. We had a delicious wood fire grilled barbecue chicken lunch with all the fixings. On the farm the vegetation is dry-subtropical and thorny with temperature in the range of 24-26 degrees Celsius (76-78 Fahrenheit). Orchid species in the area were Oncidiums and Encyclias. We also found a huge Cyrtopdium Punctatum growing on a rock in shallow soil as a Lithophyte. The common name of this orchid is Cow's Horn because of the large horn like pseudobulbs.
(see #1).

Monday August 12
On the drive to Cerro San Gil near the town of Dona Maria, there was a fallen tree. We received permission from the land owner to remove plants from. This area is lower and more humid than the previous day. We saved many plants from the fallen tree including Brassavola Nodosa (Lady of the Night), Encyclia Adenocarpum, Encyclia Nematocaulum and Schomburgkias.
Next we proceeded to Cerro San Gil. On the drive to the park, Matt spotted some large Catasetums in flower and we had to stop and take pictures, they were too nice not to. (see photo # 2-3)
Cerro San Gil is a private ecological reserve funded by United States aid and Fundaeco, a Guatemalan non-profit foundation. It is the largest remnant of tropical rain forest remaining in Guatemala. It is located near the Caribbean Sea between Rio Dolce and Puerto Barrios and covers 3348 acres. Romeo told us that we were the first group to ever be allowed to collect in the area which is very hot and humid with an annual rain fall over 3,600 mm. per year and temperatures of 27 degrees Celsius (80 degrees Fahrenheit). The rescues were limited but we did find one Encyclia Cochleata.
The jungle here was great; a pristine tropical area untouched with over 340 species of birds and an untold number of Aroids, Begonias, Ferns and many different species of tropical trees. Barry, Steve Beam, Jeronimo, Ana Silvia, Jorge and Romeo decided to spend the night at the request of the two Biology students that were stationed there. There is a primitive biological station located on the trail and they stayed there. Arrangements were made to pick the up the next morning at the Rio Carboneras.
The rest of us headed to Rio Dulce for a hot shower, nice dinner and comfortable bed at the Mansion Del Rio!

AOS Membership.
By Waldorbigbill at 2006-12-22 15:02
I feel inspired to write this after Having Dinner with the new Vice Prez. of the AOS. We talked a lot about how Membership was down and how some things are changing at AOS. It sounds like they got a lot of great ideas to help raise membership and make AOS an even better society. I always love the magazine but hated the price. He told me about the cost that is involved in doing the two magazines and how they use the membership money for a lot of good causes. The support of the nonprofit membership organization through dues aids so many other important areas that the Society supports year round -- orchid research, conservation, education, Affiliated Societies, and the like. His views on how to make things better for the orchid hobbyist really impressed me. We talked on topic such as judging and how we need to get the youth more involved in orchids.

AOS Judging
By Waldorbigbill at 2006-12-15 17:14

Bc. Island Charm
'Yellow Flare' JC/AOS
(Awarded for distinct petal markings.)
f you are new to orchids, or are unfamiliar with the process of receiving an award for your plant, a good place to begin is at your local orchid society. At most meetings, members display their blooming plants for show table judging in which points or ribbons are granted. A group, usually accompanied by an AOS judge, will decide the best orchid in each category. Later in the meeting, each plant will be critiqued individually as to its flower and cultural merits. Another benefit of society membership is that you may display your orchids in your society’s exhibit at local orchid shows where they will be eligible for AOS judging. If you are considering entering a plant for an American Orchid Society flower award, the main features to look for are size, shape and color. The number of flowers per stem as well as the substance and texture of the flower are also important aspects. Sometimes an orchid will be nominated for a Judges Commendation (JC/AOS) which recognizes distinctive characteristics in either the plant or flower that the judges feel can not be evaluated under the parameters of a flower quality award. For cultural consideration, orchid plants should be sizable, in great condition, well-flowered and have good flower distribution and presentation. There are also awards such as a Certificate of Botanical Recognition (CBR/AOS) that recognizes a flowering species that is rare or unusual and a Certificate of Horticultural Merit (CHM/AOS) that is granted to a well-grown and well-flowered species or a natural hybrid. An Award of Distinction (AD/AOS) recognizes new trends or directions in breeding. An Award of Quality (AQ/AOS) is given when at least 12 different varieties of the same cross are presented. At least one in the group must also receive a flower award or have previously been awarded.

CITES: The Economics of Extinction
By SteveT at 2006-05-31 21:16

by Phytosophy.org

CITES is the acronym for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. It is an agreement signed by various governments to regulate global trade of endangered species. The committee that recommends the rules and regulations, as well as decides which species are rare or not, is composed mainly of biologists, conservationists, ecologists, and taxonomists. However, many people question whether CITES is effective or if it accelerates the extinction of endangered species. This paper will discuss CITES and its relationship with orchids.

Every country that is a signatory to the CITES trade agreement implements it differently. Since America and Singapore have signed a Free Trade Agreement, one resolution of the agenda on that FTA was to follow the American interpretation of CITES. As the American interpretation of CITES is very stringent, does that spell doom for the fate of the orchids? For this essay, I’ll use America’s interpretation of CITES. CITES has three main classifications:

  • Appendix I – plants are not allowed to be traded at all.

Orchid naming for dummies
By Piper at 2006-05-27 16:16
r at least for newbies... since there's no such thing as a dumb newbie....Or was that, there's no such thing as a new dumbie? Orchid lingo is Byzantine. Latin, actually. But just as hard to decipher as if it were from Byzantium. But it's also precise. A name can tell you A LOT about that lovely critter you're contemplating, or have just in fact purchased. Let's start at the top. The Family is Orchidaceae. That is, orchids. This is the easy part. Now, buckle up!

Why Patent Orchids ?
By glen at 2006-05-17 17:43

ifteen years ago almost all orchids plants were sold either as very nice gifts from florists or to hobbyist orchid growers from orchid specific nurseries. The volumes of orchids sold were relatively low in general and the quantity of a single variety was in the hundreds. Since 1988 we have seen orchids featured in Hollywood movies, on the sets of talk shows, and just about everywhere people gather indoors in an upscale atmosphere. They have truly become ubiquitous.
In the process of becoming so popular, orchids are now sold in home improvement stores, grocery stores, flea markets, and just about any other place you can imagine that has lots of people walking through. This demand was more than the typical orchid nursery could sustain. Most orchid nurseries were vertically integrated. By this, I mean that they did their own hybridizing, seed germination, flasking, growing young plants and finally growing larger plants to flowering. Vertical integration can work well if you are a small company with limited production of proprietary varieties, and closely managed with a secure retail customer base. When the numbers of plants start to increase to the millions it becomes a very difficult problem to manage. Now, most aspects of the orchid production are done by specialists in their particular fields. Hybridizers spend most of their time and energy on hybridizing and selecting plants that will be mass produced. Laboratories deal exclusively with the seed germination and flasking along with cloning of very high quality plants. Young plant specialists deal with the process of taking the plants from the in-vitro state (in flask) to the in-vivo state (in the nursery environment), and then there are the finishers who bring the plants to flowering. Each party to this program does what he or she does best and doesn’t get bogged down with aspects of production with which they are less likely to be successful. In 1998 the United States Department of Agriculture, who keep statistics on ornamental horticulture production within the United States didn’t even recognize orchids as a category. In 2000 the United States Department of Agriculture ranked orchids as the second most valuable ornamental horticultural crop in the United States. Quite a jump, from obscurity to number two in just a few years!

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