Canadian Orchid Congress

Winter 1990
Volume 2 - - Number 1

Editor: Laurier Nappert

The President's Message

The social season is upon us once more, and I am sure everyone is enjoying the regular winter schedule of orchid society meeting and all that goes with it. Not all orchid enthusiasts may be aware that there is a whole world of orchid organizations, orchid shows, orchid judging, orchid meetings and orchid seminars to be enjoyed beyond the local orchid society level. If you enjoy meeting and talking with orchid growers of all kinds as well as some travel then you should look into using some of your holidays or weekends to visit out of town orchid shows, orchid seminars, congresses or meetings. There are new people to get to know, new plants to admire and maybe bring home, and a wealth of information to take in. I am sure you will enjoy yourself, just as Inge and I always do.

This newsletter contains a listing of upcoming Canadian orchid shows that you might consider visiting. The A.O.S. Bulletin contains listings of shows in North America as well as overseas. The Bulletin also lists the monthly regional judging where you can take your orchids to be judged or just observe the proceedings. The twice yearly A.O.S. Trustees meetings that are held in various parts ofthe U.S. are always worth going to as are the regional meetings held by the Eastern, Mid-America and Western groups of A.O.S. affiliated societies. The granddaddies of all orchid meetings, of course, are the World Orchid Congresses held at different location every three years. The next one is scheduled for Auckland, New Zealand, in 1990. Are you coming? Package tours are being organized. The one after that has already been scheduled for Glasgow, Scotland, in 1993. So may be we will see you there. And I understand from our past-president, Wally Thomas, that he is spearheading a bid for the 1996 WOC for the Vancouver Orchid Society in Vancouver BC. So let's all pull for Vancouver in 1996!

In many parts of Canada, we are fortunate to be close enough to the U.S. to be able to get together with orchid enthusiasts there. Many of our Canadian orchid societies are affiliated with the A.O.S. and/or the Orchid Digest, and some have taken the opportunity for even closer ties by joining the Eastern, Mid-America or Western Orchid Congresses. All of these affiliations allow for greater cooperation and interaction between orchid people, and I believe the more opportunities there are for that, the better. The Canadian Orchid Congress provides just one more opportunity for orchid enthusiasts to get together, to communicate and to help each other with whatever problems and opportunities we share north of that long U.S. border. So, if your society has not yet joined the majority of Canadian orchid societies in the C.O.C., persuade it to do so now at only $1.00 per present member in your club, and plan to attend the Canadian Orchid Congress March 24-25 1990 at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington, Ontario. The show chairperson is Bo Scaife, 3376 Tallmast Cr., Mississauga, ON, L5L lH5, (416) 820-5571.

Seasons Greetings!
Peter Poor, President

Show Dates

The following are confirmed dates and locations of shows being held by Canadian Orchid Societies.

February 1990
10-19, Orchid Society of Alberta's 'The World of Orchids', held at Muttart Conservatory, Edmonton, Alberta. Art forms exhibition and competition on the same theme held at the same time and place. This show is AOS judged. Chairperson: Margaret Jarrett, 13044 Sherbrooke Ave., Edmonton, AB, T5L 4E8.

March 1990
24-25, Canadian Orchid Congress and Orchid Society of the Royal Botanical Garden, Burlington, ON. Show-chair: Bo Scaife, 3376 Tallmast Cr., Mississauga, ON L5L 1H5. (416)820-5571.

April 1990
7-8, Orchid Society of Nova Scotia Show. Held at the Nova Scotia Museum, Halifax, NS. Show coordinator: Louise Penney, (902) 644-2211

14-15, Central Ontario Orchid Society Show, held at the University of Guelph Arboretum, Guelph, ON.

28-29, Ottawa Orchid Society Show, Held at the Carleton University, Ottawa, ON.

May 1990
4-6, David Thompson Orchid Society Annual Orchid Display. Held at Kerry Wood Nature Centre, 6300 - 45th Ave., Red Deer, Alberta. Information: Ann de St. Remy, (403) 782-3856

12-13, Southern Ontario Orchid Society Show. Chairman: Brian Rowe, 215 Glendora Ave., North York, ON, M2N 2W6. (416) 223-3149.

If you want your show information published, please send it to the Editor in plenty of time!

Speakers List

The following persons have indicated their willingness to speak on the subjects listed. Please, contact them well in advance for bookings, reimbursements and fees. Confirm arrangements in writing.

Egon Dreise, 71 Clermont, Laval, QC, H7N 2Z5. (514) 681-7644.
Masdevallia, home seed sowing and propagation.

Wayne Hingtom R.R.#4, Uxbridge, ON, LOC 1KO. (416) 649-2467.
Seed sowing and propagation.

Doug Kennedy, 26 Rothsay Rd., Thornhill, ON, L3T 3J7. (416) 889-1029.
Miltoniopsis, Masdevallia, Paphiopedilum, Lycaste, Oncidium intergenerics, Oncidium equitants, wind in the willows-toad hall slugs.

Inge Poot, Box 241, Goodwood, ON, LOC lAO. (416) 640-5643.
Miltoniopsis breeding, Odontoglossum species in breeding, beneficial insects.

Peter Poot, Box 241, Goodwood, ON, LOC 1AO. (416) 640-5643.
Dendrobium, feeding your orchids.

Ralph Schoem Unit 57, 379-A Niagara St., St. Catherines, ON, L2M 7S1. (416) 934-4189.
Pest control.

If you are a speaker and want your name to appear in this list, please send it to the Editor.


Thank you all for the mail received and the encouraging notes. It is nice to see that this newsletter is being read, used and reprinted in whole or in part for the individual members of your society. Keep the mail coming in, I need it.

It would be nice to have all the societies to send me their regular meeting dates, place and time and every thing that can be of interest to other societies. Here is an example of what it would be nice to have from all of you:
XXX Orchid Society,
??? members,
affiliated with the AOS, OD and MA0C.
Membership cost is $?? for a year.
Regular meeting: every first Monday of the month at 19:00 hours, from September to June.
Held at ???.
Display table, speakers, demos for the new members, goodies prepared by the members, AOS judged annual orchid show in the Spring, Christmas dinner, Summer picnic.
Our PR person is: ???, address and phone

This kind of information could be useful for other societies by letting them know what you do and how you do it, who to get in touch with if anyone wants to know more or would like to visit you. I know, this information is already in the newsletters you are sending me, but it is not that easy to make out. Think of all the societies who send their newsletters to other societies, I'm sure they don't have an easy time making it out. I'll start printing this information in the next newsletter, so send in the information you would like to see printed now.

Laurier Nappert, Editor


Some Canadian orchid societies are a member of the Mid-America Orchid Congress such as the London Orchid Society for instance. This very active congress publishes a very good showbook. It has recently undergone a revision and this brand new edition is available now at the cost of $5.00 US + postage. Write to Mr. Alvin Bolt, 325 Fieldcrest Drive, Nashville TN 37211.

If you are interested in attending the twice a year meetings of the MAOC, the Spring meeting will be held in Atlanta GA from March 9-11 1990. The Fall meeting will take place in St. Louis MO from October 26-28 1990.

The MAOC also produces audio cassettes on growing orchids. There are 5 cassettes available right now, the newest ones being 'Growing Paphiopedilum" by Tony Grenis, owner of Cyps Etcetera, the other one called 'Pronunciation of orchid names and terms" by Gerda and Colin Farrington. These tapes are available from Twin Oaks Books, P.O. Box 20940, Greenfield WI 53220. They can be played on your car's tape deck and cost $5.00 US each.

These pages are your pages, so if you have something that you would like to publish in them, send your material to the editor:
Laurier Nappert, Editor COC, 200 jean Gauvin, Ste-Foy, P.Q G2E 3L9

Growing Orchids in Rockwool

(With special reference to fertilizers for the hobby grower).

This is the second part of a running article on this subject. This paper was prepared by Wally and Barb Thomas, Charles Island Garden, Box 91471, Vancouver, BC, V7V 3P2. It was presented in part by Mr. Thomas at the 2nd Congress of Canadian Orchid Societies held in Ottawa in the Spring of 1989.


The following discussions of water and fertilizer may seem a bit complicated, but it is certainly not very different from what you are already doing. Most of the bark and other mixes may be thought of as semihydroponic, as they provide very little nourishment, so the move to rockwool and complete fertilizer control is not so great. Most of the following discussion of water and fertilizer applies to both type of growing medium.

Plants grown in rockwool are going to be grown wet and should be watered so that the water/fertilizer level is maintained reasonably evenly. The mix should not be allowed to dry out between waterings as with many other mixes. If plants in rockwool dry out, the water tolerant roots will suffer, the fertilizer will become concentrated and burn the roots. Also, the rockwool cannot be properly re-wetted. If absolutely necessary, a small amount of liquid soap may be added as a wetting agent to the water, or the pot may be soaked for half an hour to promote ease of rewetting. To the conventional grower, the whole system seems far too wet. The blocks, however, have a structure which maintains an adequate oxygen supply for the roots, even when fully saturated with water. In the flocculates, the media amendments and degree of packing down of the rockwool will dictate the oxygen availability.

Since the fertilizer control is so important in this medium, it is important to find out the status of the water you have available. Rain water is best. However, in some areas, even this is sadly polluted with unwanted acids. Investigation of the water and water plus fertilizer may be broken down into three aspects:

Quantity of salt

The total salt content. The concentration is measured by determining how well it conducts electricity, by its electrical conductivity (EC). Pure water conducts an insignificant amount of electricity. It is the salts that do the conducting. The higher the total salt content, the more electricity is conducted. Although each salt has a slightly different conductivity effect, the EC is a practical and satisfactory measure of total salt concentration. The unit of measure of EC is mho's, which is ohm spelt backwards. Ohm is the unit of measure for resistance and mho is the unit of measure for conductivity. The same conductivity unit is also called Siemens (S). The conductivity level that we measure is very small and is measured in millionths, also called micro and expressed by the symbol "μ". So one could express a reading of 100 as 100 μmho's or 100 μS. The measuring instrument is called a conductivity meter. It operates by having a small electrical current ready to pass between two wires, the electrodes, when they are put into a solution. There are many such instruments available. A fairly inexpensive and quite satisfactory one is the Whatman conductivity meter #3. It is available for about $80.00 from Whatman Lab Sales Inc., P.O. Box 1359, Hillsboro, OR 97123-1359, U.S.A. It has a digital readout with a small x10 in the upper left hand corner, so you multiply the reading by 10 to get the final reading in μS. The unit works on four hearing aid batteries which are easily replaced by gently prying up the top. It is important not to let water enter the internal mechanisms. Irrespective of the growing media which you use, you should own or have available, perhaps through your society, both a conductivity meter and a pH meter. The Cole Parmer Co. has very similar meters. It is vital that the conductivity meter reads accurately in the range of 10 μS to 2000 μS (most other hydroponic growing uses a higher range). Hard water is water that contains a lot of salts, often mainly calcium. Soft water has a low salt content. The salt content of tap or rain water may be categorized as follows:

This 'natural' salt content must be taken into account when calculating the final total salt concentration and composition after the addition of fertilizer. The composition of salts in tap water is sometimes available from the local water authority or a sample may be sent to a local agricultural station for analysis. If the tap water has a reading of over 200 μS, it becomes very desirable to collect rain water.


During the past twenty years, the precise nutrient needs of many crops have been painstakingly ascertained. There is even now preliminary evidence showing that plants such as tomatoes, when grown in such solutions produce larger crops of superior nutritional value. In orchids, only the precise needs of Cymbidium has been defined.

Plants need hydrogen, oxygen and carbon, as well as twelve other nutrients. The first three they get from air and water. Carbon is taken in as the gas carbon dioxide, CO2 The amateur may assume that there is sufficient CO2, in the atmosphere, but commercial growers sometimes add it to obtain optimum conditions. The twelve other nutrients are absorbed from a solution in water, mainly by roots, but also by foliar feeding. Six of the twelve are needed in relatively large amounts and are called "Macro-Nutrients". The other six are called "Micro-Nutrients" for they are needed only in very small amounts.

	Macro-Nutrients	Micro-Nutrients
	Nitrogen (N)	Iron (Fe)
	Phosphorus (P)	Copper (Cu)
	Potassium (K)	Manganese (Mn)
	Magnesium (Mg)	Cobalt (Co)
	Sulphur (S)	Boron (B)
	Calcium (Ca)	Molybdenum (Mo)

To be continued..

Who speaks on what

David Thompsan Orchid Society

January 16 Bob Fuchs - Vanda & Ascocenda
February 20 Slide program
March 20 Slide program
April 17 Peter Holmes - Light growing
May 15 Stephen Skoien - general talk
June 19 Norita Hasegawa - Paphiopedilum
September 18 Egon Dreise - Masdevallia

Orchid Society of Nova Scotia

December Christmas event
January 14 Joe Harvey - Orchid pollination
February 11 John Allen - Growing orchids in Newfoundland
March 11 Chris Helleiner - Observing wild orchids in the tropics: what we can learn
April 8 AOS film "The many worlds of orchids"
May 13 Guest speaker to be announced
June 10 Annual general meeting

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