The Cape Orchid Society Archive 

News Archive

Growing hints


MAY 2006

Tuesday 23 May 2006 at 19h45
                Athenaeum, Newlands


Floral Kingdom of the Cape Flats

By Charmaine Klein

Charmaine Klein works in the Botany Department at the University of the Western Cape where she is involved in the indigenous plants of the Cape Flats with a special interest in orchids. So often we are not aware of the varieties of orchids that are right on our doorstep. Come along and support a local enthusiast who will undoubtedly have much to share and maybe you will learn of some new locations that will allow you the opportunity to get out and about in the fresh air and appreciate the orchids in their natural habitat.

There will be a Plant Table, Plant Sales Table and Raffle so come prepared. If you are bringing plants or orchid related items for sale at the plant sales table, please remember to bring a list of your sales items and the price and that 10% of your sales will be deducted for COS funds. Please speak to Jonathan Dennis if you have any queries (tel. 021 952 4570)

Happy Birthday greetings in May are for Sylvia Byren (12), Mike Byren (16), Erica Ronaasen (23), Ludwig Swart (24), Peter Hieke (27) and Jacques Jefthas (31).

Thank you to Carol Hoffman who has generously offered to assist Susan with the secretarial duties.

Please notify Susan Olfsen if you have a change of address - residential or email.

Welcome to our new President, Mike Tibbs, who was in the chair for the first time after the AGM.
We had a light-hearted ramble through thoughts and cultural tips from Rozalia Rau who was a regular contributor to the Greater New York Orchid Society’s monthly newsletter. I hope your enjoyed it.
Thank you to Volkmar Schmidt , Hendrik van der Hoven and the COS stockholders who brought donations for the raffle table. The winners were Eric Harley, Vic Baber (he was really on a roll this evening!) and Percy Olfsen - enjoy your latest acquisitions.

The May and June judging meetings will be as follows, but please confirm with the host before hand.:

Date and time 13 May 2006 at 2.30pm
Venue 6 Pivot Close, Creek Street, Lakeside.
Host Stuart Sutherland telephone no. 788 7517
Topic Cymbidiums: The important species and their breeding characteristics.

Date and time 10 June 2006 at 2.30pm
Venue 42 Poussion Street, Welgemoed
Host Bes Gous, contact no. 913 6902
Topic Dummy run plant table. Please bring suitable plants for this session.

Contact Sheila Smith at 558 5820 if you have a plant for award judging. The judges need 48 hours notice for judging, but all details can be obtained from Sheila.

The dates for our Show are 16 to 18 June 2006 at the Cloete Cellar, Groot Constantia and as this goes to print, we have just a few days short of 4 weeks to prepare. How are your plants? We need them on the Show.
Plant acceptance will be on Thursday 15 June 2006 from 09h00 to 13h00 and Judging from 14h00 onwards.
Please prepare your plants for judging and display and take advantage of the opportunity to sell extra divisions at the Plant Sales Table - nicely potted, labelled and disease-free plants are VERY welcome. Please supply a list of plants that are brought for sale as well as the selling price. Contact Jonathan Dennis (tel. 952 4570) for all the details and requirements. Will all Members who have trophies, please make sure that they are CLEAN and brought to the show venue on Thursday 15 June so that they can be displayed with the winning plants.

The 13th SAOC National Conference and Show is in White River from 4 to 10 September 2006 so prepare your plants for then too. The COS will be taking your plants to enter at the Show and to use in the Cape Orchid Society display.
Our stand will be mainly cut flowers but there will be arrangements made for plants to be taken for judging etc. although the spikes will be cut after the Show to lessen the burden on the return journey.


  • pollen is rich in protein and so an attractive food source for mice now that the colder, winter weather is setting in…take the necessary precautions to protect your plants.
  • recycle used pots by washing them in the dishwasher, thus eliminating the need for any further disinfecting.
  • don’t leave your magnetic name badges in handbags, pockets etc where they are close to credit or bank cards…the magnetic field can destroy all the encoded information!

Our thanks to Mike Byren, Bes Gous, Mike Tibbs and Hendrik van der Hoven for their comments on the plants and of course a special thank you to the Members who brought their plants.
Vic Baber’s Cattleya labiata ‘Amesiana’ x Perola Rubra sometimes flowers with an "uncoloured" lip which may temperature related and the flower opening too quickly before the flower has fully formed. This flowering shows a good representation of both parents and the flower had a pleasant rose fragrance.
Frans & Bes Gous’s Dracula bella AM/SAOC won many accolades. It is a cold growing plant which will drop its buds if the plant is moved even 1 metre and if the humidity drops. It crosses readily with Masdevallias.This was a very well grown plant and a credit to the growers. Their Trichoceros parviflorum is related to Oncidiums. It was mounted on cork oak and has a creeping rhizome. Cattleya Hausermann’s Sensation ‘Erwin’ was a first flowering meristem and "the cleanest Cattleya" Mike Tibbs had ever seen! Ascocenda Yit Hoe is not the easiest to grow in Cape Town although it is tolerant of cooler conditions because of is Ascocentrum background. A beautifully grown plant. Sophrolaeliocattleya Fire Lighter had a single intense orange flower.
Eric Harley’s Pleurothallis hamosa can be easily grown from a leaf cutting but be sure to take a leaf from a growth that has flowered and not a new leaf. Eric’s Phleophora paulensis is slow growing and produces very tiny flowers that Hendrik described as looking like dead flies! I must say, I do agree.
Although Jacques Jefthas’s Miltassia Explorer looked a little stressed, it had produced 6 spikes - an achievement on a plant not usually easy to flower. Perhaps the spikes should be cut to allow the plant to recover?
Jenny Kavarana had 2 Dendrobiums, Dendrobium Genting Rose she carried home from Kuala Lumpur in 2002. It had 11 deep purple flowers and 1 bud, apparently with antelope Dendrobiums in its background - a typical cut-flower Den. Phal. The second plant had 3 beautiful spikes of similar colouring but was the more typical Den. Phal. shape.
Volkmar Schmidt’s Catasetum fimbriatum had 2 spikes each with about 16 flowers - all male. These plants are heavy feeders. Some growers put cow manure in the bottom of the pots when they repot. When the roots reach that length, they are mature and no longer so tender as to be burnt. Dendrobium bowmanii is rewarding in that it flowers 3-4 times per year.
Mike Tibbs’ Dendrobium sulawesii had 4 heads of electric mauve flowers and was probably the first time it has been seen in South Africa. Unfortunately the flowers were passed their best so Mike didn’t put the plant up for an award. The plant was only introduced about 5 years ago and has been growing in Mike’s greenhouse in Durban where it should have had optimum conditions. It has been in Cape Town for 8 months and now has produced its best flowering on a new growth at least twice as tall as any other on the plant. Well done!

PLANT TABLE  - April 2005
Use this monthly list as a reference to the flowering season of specific orchids and also to contact the grower if you have the same or similar plant that is maybe not doing so well for you.

Vic Baber

Cattleya labiata ‘Amesiana’ x Perola Rubra

Frans & Bes Gous

Dracula bella AM/SAOC

Trichoceros parviflorum

Sophrolaeliocattleya Hausermann’s Sensation ‘Erwin’

SLC Sierra Doll ‘Annalet’ HCC/SAOC

SLC Fire Lighter

Ascocenda Yit Hoe

Eric Harley

Pleurothallis hamosa

Phleophora paulensis

Jacques Jefthas

Aerangis kotschyana

Miltassia Explorer

Jenny Kavarana

Brassocattleya Languedoc ‘Singapore Welcome’

Dendrobium Genting Rose

Dendrobium (Lady Hamilton x Keli Nicole) x (biggibum var. compactum x Little Diamond ‘Compactum’)

Volkmar Schmidt

Brassavola nodosa

Polystachya concreta

Catasetum fimbriatum

Dendrobium bowmanii

Cirropetalum Elizabeth Ann ‘Buckleberry’ AM/AOS,RHS,SAOC. FCC/AOS

Brassocattleya Binosa ‘Kirk’ AM/AOS

Colmanara Wildcat ‘Bobcat’

Mike Tibbs

Dendobium sulawesii

Plant of the Evening
1st  Dracula bella AM/SAOC from Frans & Bes Gous
2nd Sophrolaeliocattleya Fire Lighter from Frans & Bes Gous
3rd Dendrobium sulawesii from Mike Tibbs

Most Difficult to Grow
Dracula bella AM/SAOC from Frans & Bes Gous

Member’s Choice
Dracula bella AM/SAOC from Frans & Bes Gous and chosen by Eberhard Gersie

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P O Box 3347, Cape Town 8000, South Africa 
NPO (Tax Exemption) Number: 930009225 ?

: Michael Tibbs  Tel. 072 446 6272

Vice-President: vacant
Past-President: Hendrik van der Hoven  Tel 021-790 2443

Susan Olfsen Tel.
855 5701

Treasurer: Jacques Jefthas Tel. 021-511 4508
Percy Olfsen, Tel. 855 5701

Newsletter editor: Wendy Gersie Tel 021-712 8721
Show Chairman: vacant
Jonathan Dennis, Tel. 952 4570
Clif Eva
Margaret James, Tel. 713 1376
Gerry Walden, Tel. 021-447-3850

COS Website:     ñ