September 2016

Hopefully your orchids are growing well and you have lots if new growths on each orchid. They will all grow better if you have them in a good media and keep up with regular watering and fertilizing. Continue to watching for bugs as they can multiple quickly during this time of the year.

The San Francisco Orchid Society is putting together a new orchid growers' handbook entitled "A San Francisco Bay Area Guide to Orchids and their Culture". But they need help to get some funds together to help defray some of the initial costs. So if you are interested please go to the crowd-funding sponsorship website They need to get pledges of $3,000 by September 14 so that they can print 1,000 copies. A few of the topics that will be covered in this new publication are:

  • Ever wonder what orchids you can grow on your windowsill?

  • Wish you knew what orchids you could grow outside in your area, and how to deal with cold snaps and heat waves?

  • Want to know some fantastic orchid selections for the cool, intermediate or warm greenhouse?

  • Knew where you could get orchid supplies from?

  • What are the secrets of the best orchid growers in the Bay area?

They state that this book will cover it all. Our culture and that in the Bay Area are not very different so the information in this book will be very useful under our growing conditions. This sounds like a very interesting book to me. So if you are interested in helping with the book please visit the website lists above and make a pledge.

The show committee decided that the theme for the 2017 show will be "Orchid Explorers" and will take place on the first weekend in April. Show setup will begin on Thursday (March 30) with AOS and ribbon judging on Friday afternoon (March 31). The Preview Party will take that evening, followed by the show on Saturday and Sunday (April 1-2). Hopefully you will all be available that weekend to be able to help with various simple tasks during the show. More information will follow as we get closer to the end of this year.

Hope to see you are the September 8 meeting. Chris


We have an outstanding speaker lined up for our Sept. meeting. Sandra Svoboda was fortunate to travel to the Kingdom of Bhutan. Her presentation will touch on the customs and culture of the magical kingdom and the many beautiful orchid species that are found there.

Sandra Tillisch Svoboda Bio

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. Sandra is the president of the World Orchid Conference Trust, the immediate Past President of the American Orchid Society and chair of the AOS Education Committee. She coordinates the Question and Answer column in ORCHIDS magazine. Sandra is an accredited judge in both the American Orchid Society and the Cymbidium Society of America judging systems and is treasurer of the AOS Pacific South Judging Center. She is the present Editor in Chief of the Orchid Digest. She was president of the Cymbidium Society of American and co-chair of the annual Cymbidium Society Congress. Locally, she has served on the boards and been president of the Orchid Society of Santa Barbara and the local branch of the Cymbidium Society. Sandra served on the board of the Santa Barbara International Orchid Show and, for several years, was the show manager of this prestigious show, one of the largest in the nation. Besides the plants themselves and the never-ending opportunity to learn about them, Sandra loves being involved in the orchid world because it offers an opportunity to travel, meet, and work with so many amazing and fascinating people.


As usual, the Show committee has begun preparations for next year's Orchid Show.


DATE:  March 31 - April 2, 2017

We have the Regional Center secured for these dates and were able to keep the rental fee the same as the last several years.  The trend for the last few years has been for attendance to be dwindling from our better years,  in spite of our efforts to advertise and promote the Show.  One problem is the proliferation of events on the Central Coast reduces our appeal.  Meanwhile, many of the costs of the Show have been going up.  The consensus of the committee is that we are able to absorb relatively small losses each year, due to the reserve we built up during the really good years.  We see the Show as a public service that much of the public looks forward to each year,  and in the spirit of service we'd like to continue if at all feasible.  

We are looking for ways to improve the Show or modify our promotion to increase attendance.  Please let us know if you have ideas that might help.

Thank You,
Eric Holenda
Show Chair

Looking Ahead:

  1. September is a time of changes. It marks the end of summer growth season and we begin to look forward to the fall blooms. For those orchids that are sensitive to day length, we want to make sure they can notice the shortening days of fall and not be tricked by indoor lighting. If orchids are under supplemental lighting, changing the timer frequently to match the shortening days allows orchids to experience the shortening days.

  2. Although we won't continue feeding orchids at elevated summer levels beyond September, we will be feeding "weakly weekly" going forward.

  3. In preparation for fall repotting, take a look at different mixes. You're sure to find just the right mix for your environment. If you'd like to make your own orchid mix, you can choose the media you want.

“Weekly, Weakly”

Orchids want to be fed "weekly weakly". Essentially, what this means, is that for your orchid to be at its best, it should be fed a small amount of fertilizer about once a week. 

The best practice for fertilizing an orchid is to water it first, letting the water run through the bottom of the pot, and then pour your fertilizer mixture over the top of the mix. We want to do this for 3 consecutive weeks, taking the 4th week off from fertilizing. Water your orchid normally on that 4th week to flush out any salts left behind by the fertilizer.