next meeting

OSSC's Panel of Experts
"Phalaenopsis Workshop"
Monday, May 8, 2017
(Doors open 6:30PM)

Meeting Hall, First Christian Church
221 South Sixth Street, Burbank, California

about this event

OSSC members and visitors, roll up your sleeves! Tonight's meeting will be a "hands on" event, overseen by OSSC's Panel of Experts comprised of Donna L. Ballard, David Lafond, and Harry Sinanian. Each has their area of expertise when it comes to growing orchids. We will be breaking up into teams to learn how to care for the 20 or so Phalaenopsis orchids that the society is bringing for tonight's meeting.

about our panel

Photo of Donna L. BallardDonna L. Ballard received her 1st orchid in 2007 for her 47h birthday from a neighbor, a lovely standard hot pink Phalaenopsis, which she still owns and keeps in her kitchen window. She repotted it after it finished blooming, not really knowing what she was doing and put it into her east facing bathroom window. The following spring it put up a spike two feet tall with fourteen flowers and that was it…she was hooked! Donna started buy more orchids and looking around on the internet for information on how to grow what she had bought. Her husband Daniel had since joined a political web blog called Little Green Footballs, and had mentioned to another blogger that his wife was taking care of plants for a living. Her online screen name was Floral Giraffe and he talked Donna into joining the blog to “meet” her. She told the Ballards she was looking for someone to come out and water her orchids during the summer, and she lived about an hour away and I agreed to go out and meet her. Daniel came with her and the three of us hit it off and we became fast friends. She hired Donna to care for her orchids twice a week and she took her under her wing teaching her as much as she could absorb about the fascinating orchids. Donna bought a steel and glass set of book shelves, then went to Home Depot and bought small plant grow lights, searched the internet and found humidity trays and created her own light unit. After she started killing plants left and right, she went back on line and found an 5 foot long x 6 foot tall x 22 inches deep grow cart and her husband bought it for me for my 50th birthday thinking it would satisfy her craving, but all it did was whet my appetite for more! Donna is greenhouse trained, taking classes on plant identification, greenhouse maintenance, insect identification and control, lawn maintenance, irrigation, and botany. She worked as a student employee at Pierce Junior College in Woodland Hills California in the fall of 1981, spring and fall of 1982 and the spring of 1983 but did not complete her Associate Arts degree because she had a wedding to plan. But she did not give up her love of growing things at all! She now owns over 500 orchids, 50 or 60 various house and outdoor plants and is in the process of redoing her Mom’s backyard, working for a Landscaper taking care of home and office plants for other people as well as helping to run the office full time. She is also beginning her 2nd year as a student judge with the American Orchid Society. Her my passions are (A) learning as much as I can about orchids, (B) growing orchids and (C) teaching others about how wonderful orchids are and how to take care of the ones they want to grow.

Photo of David LaFondDavid Lafond started growing orchids in 1991 when he first moved to Miami, and bought his first orchid, a Cattleytonia, from Jones and Scully. He had a small orchid collection on the windowsill behind a sheer curtain. When he got a yard, the collection grew fast! David loved the big Vandas in Miami, but on his little patio he is currently growing Mini Vandas/Neos and Mini Catts outside and a few Phals and Paphs inside. Mr. Lafond has grown: Vandas, Angraecums, Cattleyas, Laelias, Encyclias, Dendrobiums, Phalaenopsis, Phrags, Phals, Peristeria, Epidendrums, Miltonias, Oncidiums, and Cymbidiums. He grew from seedling and bloomed a Ghost Orchid (Dendrophylax lindenii).

David earned a B.S. degree in Horticulture from University of Florida, and acted as a Volunteer Garden Tour Guide at the American Orchid Society Headquarters in Delray Beach, FL. He also acted as Orchid Curator for Marjorie Merriweather Post’s estate in Washington, D.C. (Hillwood Estate) for a year, managing 5 greenhouses with multiple climate zones, approx. 4,000 plants, and creating orchid displays inside the residence. He once moved about 800 orchids from Miami to Baton Rouge via truck with permits to cross state lines from the FL Dept. of Agriculture, and built a 600 sq. ft., heated greenhouse at his home in Louisiana.

David has grown orchids and plants under lights: HID, fluorescent, and LED. He has been a member of American Orchid Society, South Florida Orchid Society and Past-President of the Baton Rouge Orchid Society, and is currently a member of the Orchid Society of Southern California. Mr. Lafond is currently working as an Account Manager for a high-end, residential landscape company.

Photo of Harry SinanianHarry Sininian has had been an active member of the OSSC for 15 years, during which he has consistently volunteered to work at the Annual Auction and Orchid Show. Additionally he, along with Linus Bittner, fabricated the props and holders we use for the OSSC display at our annual show. As an expert in growing orchids outside, he grows an extensive array of orchid species under the pergola of his Burbank home.

Click here to learn more about OSSC's regular meetings.

news in brief

  • SMARTPHONE CAMERAS [Submitted by Ben Boco on April 24, 2017]

    Convenience and simplicity. That’s the best way to describe the phenomenal rise in the use of smartphone cameras.

    About a year ago, I made a presentation to OSSC on the subject of orchid photography. At that time, more photographers were taken with cameras than smartphones, probably a 60 to 40 ratio. But that’s no longer the case. When I visited the Santa Barbara Orchid Estate show in March, I was amazed to see that at least 80 percent of the attendees were using their smartphone cameras to take orchid photographs. In fact, on the photo-sharing website Flickr, the top five most popular cameras are now smartphones. There are several reasons for this change, all beneficial for the casual photographer.

    The compactness of the smartphone camera makes it easy to carry with you wherever you go. Accessories such as photo cards and extra lenses are no longer needed, and the cumbersome camera bag has now become a thing of the past.

    The technology of the smartphone camera makes sharing your photos easy. You can take a picture of your favorite orchid and share it with your friends, either locally or internationally, via the Internet or through Facebook or Email.

    It is also possible to electronically connect your smartphone to your home computer. Photos taken on your smartphone when you’re away from home can be transmitted back, and will be waiting for you when you return. If your smartphone camera is not compatible with your computer, you can still transmit the images by simply sending yourself an email with the photos as an attachment.

    The point and shoot aspect of smartphone cameras has made photographing orchids available to everyone. At a recent orchid show, I used only my smartphone camera and was thrilled by the quality of the photographs. And the fact that the pictures were waiting for me on my home computer took away the work and made everything fun.

    It has been personally rewarding to me to watch people become comfortable with cameras and see them enjoying photography more. The intimidating aspect of cameras can be forgotten. The smartphone has become a part of our everyday life and we never leave home without it. The fact that we also have a camera with us at all times means that we can record life’s special moments with convenience and simplicity.

  • IT WAS A WILD NIGHT: [Submitted by 1st Vice President Carol Beule on November 14, 2016]  It was a WILD night, wasn't it? Our monthly November meeting was certainly not staid, prim or proper. But hey…… the mold needs to be broken every now & again. Who else to break it but the OSSC, the oldest orchid society in Southern California? And we certainly made a great big mess that was easily cleaned up with the help of everyone. Thank you all.

    And additonal thanks to everyone who helped make this experimantal night a smashing success. It was was exciting and vibrant, something orchid meetings are not often found to be. OSSC Webmaster Ted Augustyn wrote a masterful piece for our website that drew new visitors to our fold last night. I think they will become new members in the future. Krystine Chaparo and Norma Skinner’s help with coordination couldn't have been more generous and positive. I thank all 3 of you again. And lastly, many thanks to Linus, without who's help this never would have happened. I'm sure Linus Bittner will know all about it wherever he happens to be right now! All of his plants have new and happy homes. David Dassey and I have several plants that we have kept to auction off either this winter at one of our monthly meetings when they are in bloom or next June during our annual money making auction for the society.

    Art Mendoza, Harry Sinanian, Donna Ballard and David Lafond all must be given kudos for how they all prepared and executed their participation in last night's meeting. Erin Maxick and Wendy Fischer both contributed a great deal to it's success as well. They also helped to rescue Linus’s plants as did David Dassey who was in New Zealand running another marathon instead of being at our meeting. We met over the weekend at Wendy's house to arrange for items to be delivered and chose what might be needed for the night. Lastly, Alberto Osso stepped in as an additional “orchid expert” to help new members learn how to repot orchids when we realized we needed more help.

    It was loud and raucous, if you can ever consider an Orchid Society meeting to be something of that nature. EVERYONE had a great time I believe and thought it was both a cultural and social success. There were calls for more of this in the future.

    Ben Boco and Donna Ballard both have connections to people who have Phalaenopsis in need of rescuing. I spoke with both and we will need to coordinate another meeting of this nature. Possibly in May of 2017. We will keep you posted.

    My thanks and sincere apologies to any I have forgotten. I doubt last Monday’s meeting can ever be equalled!

  • NEW MEMBER BENEFIT: [Submitted by OSSC Webmaster Ted Augustyn on March 2, 2014]. Starting this month, every new member and their sponsor will each receive a certificate good for one 1-gallon Cymbidium orchid, courtesy of Orchids by Art in North Hills, CA, which is owned and operated by OSSC member Art Mendoza. The society expresses sincere thanks to Art for this generous offer. This offer supercedes the prior offer from Rudvalis Orchids.

other orchid news

(Most recent articles listed first.)

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