president's message


November 2020

Dear Members,

Photo of Erin MaxickAnother month has passed us by. I can hardly believe it’s been so long since we regularly switched on the church lights, celebrated member birthdays and anniversaries within our society, watched fantastic speakers click through vibrant presentations on our big screen and looked on eagerly as opportunity table plants were snapped up to be taken home and cared for. With each passing month, I hope that we’re that much closer to returning to our in person meetings. In the meantime, we’re thankful for Zoom and to be able to carry on in this alternate way. We had a fabulous 26 person turn out for our October meeting with Tim Culbertson, thanks to all who attended and participated. The questions for the speakers at the end always seem to result in welcome tips, keep ‘em coming! This month we’re excited to shake it up with a presentation by our own Alfred Hockenmaier on mounted orchids! This will be a great opportunity to learn how to mount if you’ve never tried it, or pick up some special tips and tricks for the more experienced in the group. Alfred is a master grower and we’re so excited to have him sharing a presentation on this subject.

In closing, thank you to all who submit photos for our newsletter each month. Seeing your plants in bloom always brings such joy to my day, and surely to many of you as well.

I’m wishing you all the best,


erin's fun fact

Let’s talk cork!

While there are a number of materials on which orchids can be mounted, cork bark is an all-time favorite. As orchid are epiphytes, mounting on actual tree bark makes so much sense. Cork bark grows on the cork oak tree (Quercus suber), a medium-sized, evergreen oak tree. Over half of the world’s cork is produced in Portugal. While cork trees are not uncommon in the USA, the cork produced is not commercially suitable due to improper climate.

According to “The Cork Tree has a lifespan of 200-250 years. The first harvest occurs when the tree is between 20 to 25 years old. During its lifespan, a Cork Tree allows about 15-16 harvests repeated every 9 years, producing hundreds of kilos at each crop. The cork stripping is assured by skilled labor and does not harm the tree in any way, being a vital process for the tree’s reinvigoration.”

Another cork info site,, tells us: “In Portugal, the Cork Oak tree is considered national heritage, and is protected by law. It cannot be cut down without a written permit from the authorities and, even so, it must be diseased, dead or really old and unproductive. As a protected tree, its harvesting is highly supervised and the rules very strict.”

Next time you mount an orchid and appreciate all of the nooks and crannies in which its lovely roots can cling, give thanks to this wonderful miracle of nature – cork, with its many fine attributes: lightweight, resilient, impermeable/waterproof, fire retardant, low conductivity, wear resistant, anti-static … and let’s not forget, simply beautiful with a mounted orchid growing on top!

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