The Journal of the Canadian Orchid Congress
Le Journal de la Fédération Canadienne des Sociétés Orchidophiles

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Volume 5.2
April 1993

Editor: Malcolm Adams

Report of the COC Conference

Report of the COC Conference in Nanaimo March 1993

Spring had arrived in Nanaimo ahead of the COC and those of us from the East were delighted to see it - even orchidophiles can be turned on by a few daffodils at this time of year.

The Central Vancouver Island Orchid Society were wonderful hosts. We were warmly greeted and wonderfully well fed throughout the weekend.

The Show

The show was a delight to behold. Coming from the East, (or more correctly, the central part of Canada) with its high heating costs and consequently smaller greenhouses it's always a thrill to see the wonderful Cymbidiums so well grown in this area. The Nobile Dendrobiums and Odontoglossums left us well neigh speechless (hard to believe for me I know!). Wally Thomas put in his first exhibit in almost five years and it was well worth the wait! Aside from his famous crispums there were some stunning reds and picotee edged Odontiodas all in beautiful condition thanks, he assures us, to his culture in perlite!

I always enjoy seeing the style of exhibits in the West, they're always more adventurous than those we see in Ontario.

It was a real education to watch Laura and James Biro construct the Vancouver exhibit. Huge chunks of styrofoam were miraculously converted into an ancient wall with the aid of spray paint, a small waterfall tumbled out of it into the pool below and of course the whole prop was made more believable by the addition of live moss.

Another display which I noticed being erected by a couple who seemed to take turns holding a baby during the exhibit construction, was artfully strewn with toys and baby paraphanalia! Quite delightful.

Wally Thomas had his new assistant Connie design and construct his exhibit. This was done with some beautiful pieces of coloured velvet and exquisite Chinese pots.

I was particularly impressed with the Corkscrew Hazel supports for the long Odont infloresences, they looked so much more natural than the standard wires and canes.

The height achieved in some of the exhibits was quite amazing, of course if you can grow Phalaenopsis as well as Gordon Heaps of Edmonton, you have to find a way of accommodating them!

There were some oddly grown plants in this exhibit too. Have you ever heard of someone growing orchids in clay saucers hanging on the wall?! Perhaps Bill Whan will write an article for us soon?

Steve Saunders from Nova Scotia got a special award, as well he should, for bringing a display the farthest. A lobster trap and some eastern and western(?) seashells gave yet another exotic flavour to the exhibit area.


The quality of the plants was attested to by the AOS awards given. Of twenty plants nominated there were nine AOS awards given.


The COC meeting on Sunday morning went well and was well attended. The minutes of the meeting will be sent out soon with all topics covered.

The new Executive was elected:



At the end of the day as always, there were new friends to bid farewell and many calls of 'See you in Winnipeg!' This is for many of us the very best part of the COC experience - the making of really special friendships across the country. It gets better every year!


It was so much easier to feel confident and enthusiastic in the mild spring atmosphere of Nanaimo than it is here in bleak, snowy, blowy, wintery Mississauga!

I would like to thank a number of people at the start:

Thank you to everyone at the Central Vancouver Island Orchid Society for your hospitality and a great sixth COC meeting and especially for making us feel so welcome. The best part is always the new friends!

Thank you to those who have served us on the Executive for the past year, and to those who have agreed to serve in the coming year.

Thank you too to those who have served in non-executive positions, often less visible and sometimes not thanked in the more public manner. Thank you Howard Ginsberg for our coast to coast speaking tours, I know this is probably the hardest job in the COC and we really appreciate your dedication to the job. Thank you Marilyn Light and Peter Gauer for your mosquito infested hours and your devotion of time and creativity to our latest video. Thank you to those of you who have written articles for the newsletter and especially to those who took the time to send a personal note - it's amazing what a few words from across the country can do for a flagging spirit.

Thank you to those COC reps who took the time to get the information back to us and for getting the information to your club. Thank you to Peter Poot who added a cool head to my flustered ramblings in Nanaimo and made a few of my impractical proposals for the coming year achievable.

And THANK YOU to Gordon Heaps and Bill Whan of Edmonton who have taken on the job of FUND RAISING!! It's amazing the enthusiasm they are bringing to this task, so look out, you're all going to hear from them soon! I assure you I have ideas galore on how to SPEND money just as soon as these folks gather it in!!

And again thank you for the smiles of recognition across the orchid exhibits that add the warmth that makes it work.

Our goals for the year ahead

Since I feel that the two hardest jobs in an orchid society (other than Show Chairman) are the Editor and the Program Chairman, we hope to give them some help.

Besides our Fall COC Speakers Tour, we are going to try to organize an Early Spring Speakers Tour for January/February.

Needless to say, this will be a challenge finding someone who not only is willing to travel through the 'frozen north' but who will also attempt to bring plants for sale.

Ken Girard, our dauntless past resident has agreed to take this on, but he'll need help, so be ready to lend a hand.

We am going to send the newsletter to at least three members of each executive - the COC rep, the President, and the Editor. We hope to design the newsletter with a pull out page of news and information that can be easily duplicated. In this way we hope that at least the info page will be circulated throughout the societies.

The Newsletter

The input into the five issues of the newsletter are now assigned to five areas of the country.

The contact person for each area is responsible for providing cultural articles, (short for the info page, longer for the body of the letter), show news, tips, up-to-date executive names and addresses, local conservation projects, species flasks and compots for sale etc.

Future Publications

In September we hope to have for you a booklet containing:

Also in the Fall:

To accomplish these activities by September we will need your help and input, so please send back your information as soon as possible. I'll send out the forms in May.

The next COC meeting will be in Winnipeg, April 9-10, 1994. 'Til then, happy growing and showing.

Annette Bagby, President


You may be aware that the Colombian genus Miltoniopsis has only recently been accepted as a genus separate from the genus Miltonia.

The genus Miltonia was based on the Brazilian species Miltonia spectabilis by John Lindley in 1837.

Miltonia spectabilis is a beautiful species in its own right and is used in a lot of hybridizing. But due to sterility problems, it is rarely used with the Colombian Miltonias. It tends to reduce the numbers of flowers per inflorescence, since it is single flowered itself. When several flowers per inflorescence are produced by the hybrid, the flowers are not well displayed, but are bunched together at the end of the inflorescence.

In 1889 Godefroy-Lebeuf separated the six 'cool growing', or 'Colombian Miltonias', also called 'Pansy Orchids', into the genus Miltoniopsis.

The Andean Mountains in Colombia are the centre of distribution.

Miltoniopsis bloom in early spring to June, but the best quality flowers are produced in early spring.


Virtually all the hybridizing has been done with four species.

There are two more Miltoniopsis species.


The famous M. vexillaria 'Hillian' imparted its good shape and large size to present day Miltoniopsis.

M. roezlii is the best parent providing the colour to red hybrids.

Many crosses of M. vexillaria using both the true M. vexillaria and the M. vexillaria 'Mem. G.D. Owen' were made with M. roezlii resulting in the important M. Bleuana hybrid. By selecting progeny in which the basal colour spot of M. roezlii was bleeding upward on the patals, a solid red colour was finally achieved.

Then shape and substance of the above M. Bleuana was improved with further crossing and selecting using such important parents as:
M. Bleuana 'Princess Elizabeth' and in later generations M. Mem. H.T. Pitt. The M. Mem. H.T. Pitt was an early, often poorly shaped cross, but producing a significant number of red clones. M. Lycaena 'Stamperland' CCM/AOS and M. Limelight 'Imogene Smith' CCM/AOS, both have red and white flowers and are further important parents and best of all they are still in cultivation today.

Their crossing produced M. Lola Lane. 10% of the plants in this cross had solid red flowers.


This is similar to red breeding but concentrate more on selecting from richly coloured clones of M. vexillaria and those that are well shaped such as:
M. vexillaria 'Lambeaiana' FCC/RHS - this is not a true alba clone, but contributes excellent shape and good light colour to its progeny. (Mericlones are available from Oak Hill Gardens).
M. Dearest 'Dark Pink' CCM/AOS and M. Marie Riopelle 'Portland Rose' FCC/AOS are some of the best available today.


M. vexillaria alba is crossed with M. roezlii alba where the latter species introduces vigour to the crosses.

Most of the progeny will be white, but the odd one will show a hint of yellow. The yellows are then crossed with each other in the hope of intensifying the colour in some of the progeny. Fading of mature flowers is also a problem. There is still lots of work to be done in that area.


There are two genes involved, but they are dominant when both are present.

This type of breeding gets its distinctive genes from M. phalaenopsis.

Depending on whether the true M. vexillaria or M. vexillaria 'G.D. Owen' is used as the other parent we get black or white waterfalls.

A note on Miltoniopsis intergeneric crosses - Miltoniopsis is a very reluctant breeder with other genera and the progeny of such crosses are not very fertile. As a result, there are very few such crosses.

References. AOS bulletins - Oct. 1982, Nov. 1982,Jan. 1977


The three pointers marked with an asterisk are of the utmost importance. Remember that the plants originated on the moist but windy Andean mountains.

Reference: Miltoniopsis Culture by E.J. "Woody" Carlson.

Inge Poot - Southern Ontario Orchid Society

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