The Florida East Coast Bromeliad Society

Next meeting Sunday, December 11th – 1:00p.m.

December, 2005

Christmas Party - 2005!

President Linda Stagnol386/760-6842

Vice President – Jay Thurrott – 386/761-4804

Secretary – Calandra Thurrott - 386/761-4804

Treasurer - Ted Nuse - 386/673-2648


I hope everyone can make it to our annual Christmas party at the Finney Garden Center (our usual meeting place). This is always a lot of fun with plenty of good food (I know you are all excellent cooks!), and some great plants in the plant gift exchange. Please note that the time is one half hour earlier than normal – we will begin at 1:00 p.m. instead of 1:30. We started this time change three years ago (has it been 3years already?!!) since some folks can get pretty hungry by 1:30. We’re asking each person to bring food. Now this can be most anything from a box of Twinkies from the 7-11 to flaming baked Alaska – whatever you are comfortable with providing! You can also expect to receive a phone call so that we can anticipate what you may be bringing – we don’t want everyone bringing the same food (although if everyone brings Rich Temple’s key lime pies I guarantee that there will be no complaints)

Just like in past years, we will be having a Christmas Plant Exchange. These are always fun! Bring a nice bromeliad or some other plant that you think the other members will be interested in and wrap it, put it in a box, or bag it so that prying eyes can’t tell what it is. Incidentally, a prize goes to the best wrapped gift! We’ll line the gifts up on a table and everyone who brings a plant for the exchange will receive a ticket. Tickets will be drawn one at a time and the owner of that ticket number will get to select from the wrapped gift-plants on a table. He or she then unwraps the plant and tells the rest of the group what type of plant it is. Everyone who brings a gift will get to select a gift. Bring family, friends - maybe even potential new members – this is a great way to get acquainted! Plan on having a relaxing afternoon with some good food, good company and, of course, nice plants!

To spray or not to spray…

One of the "perks" of being a newsletter editor besides the great pay ($0) and healthcare benefits (unlimited band-aids for paper cuts) is having the opportunity to rant and rave concerning your personal pet peeves. I have always been opposed to the idea of soaking down every bug in sight with the strongest pesticides money can buy. In many cases either the wrong chemical is used, the bugs being targeted are harmless, or the "by-kill" of the pesticide application includes lizards, earthworms, birds and even neighbors’ pets. …and then there is the safety concern for the person applying the pesticide. Many times I have seen commercial spray services spraying pesticides on lawns without using respirators, gloves or safety glasses. I notice that these are generally young people and I wonder how many years they can continue in this field before experiencing health effects from chemical exposure. As a chemist, I have always been taught to read the directions on labels, never to mix chemicals when the results of mixing are unknown, and to always use recommended safety gear when working with chemicals. Yet how many times do you hear of homeowners mixing a little of this and a little of that to control insect pests? After reading this you may think that I am opposed to the use of chemicals and that is not the case at all. There are many situations where chemical applications are unquestionably the best solution to insect problems – try controlling the mexican weevil once it gets loose in your collection without chemical means and see how far you get! What I am saying is that you should: (1) use the right chemical for the right application – this also means that you should always try to use the least toxic chemcial available and (2) you should always read the directions on the container before using any chemical – this will ensure that you will be at least aware of proper safety practices for that specific material. I noted the following postings on the internet recently that illustrate these points and confirm that I am not alone in my feelings on this matter. This is the letter that started the discussion:

i have found numerous insects scurrying around the soil of some of my broms, ranging from pill bugs to millipedes, i would like to get rid of them because they are starting to leave the plant area. By what
means should i do this? I do have some orthene, but i wonder if that
is safe to use with broms?

…and this is the response:

As a Maine Nurseryman with a Private Pesticide Applicators License, it always strikes me as funny now when folks reach for the most toxic chemical to eradicate a supposed pest when their wasting time and money not to mention endangering themselves and others by using the bloody chemicals.

1) Get a proper identification of the insect in question and find out about it, in this case both millipedes and pill bugs (or as we call them up here sow bugs) do absolutely no damage to plants whatsoever. They live on detris, ie, decaying plant material. They do not spread disease nor do they eat live plant tissue that is known, I could be wrong but thats what I studied in Pesticide Class. Pill bugs(or Sow bougs) are actually crustaceans and so thats one of the reasons their found in dark damp environments. Many beneficial insects are drawn to plants not only for pollen from flowers but for sites to lay eggs or to hunt for prey so carelessly spraying can and will do more harm than good.

2) simply submerging the plant in a bucket or sink full of water will drive any and all insects or what have you to the surface where you can easily pick them off and toss them outdoors or in the compost bucket, I too use(d) to kill them until I read up on them now their actually allowed to remain as their cleaning the plant roots from fungal and bacterial problems.

3) When using a chemical always start with the lowest toxicity, if you start at the top of the danger level if the insect is immune or the chemical is not effective on it you risk endangering yourself, the plant and others around you.

* Orthene that is sold to homeowners is the same formula that is used by Greenhouse Owners has a 6-12 Reentry Interval(REI) and requires long sleeved shirt, long pants, shoes plus socks, face shield and in some cases a NIOSH approved Respirator. The REI means anyone entering before the 6-12 hours is up must wear all of the above if handling the plants, funny how they don't bother to mention that eh? read the label carefully. What you don't know can and will kill you or someone you love.

Simply using a product such as Ultrafine Oil or Horticultural oil is enough for the home greenhouse gardener. Heavy duty chemicals should only be used on advise of a trained professional Nurseryman or Horticulturist, No Disrespect to you Charles.

Heavy duty chemicals such as orthene should only be used in cases of severe infestation of harmful insects, not everyday innocents.

Best of luck and get some samples and get some identification - then get some horticultural oil.

*** We no longer spray -- but when we did, we used chemical gloves, long
sleeves, and a respirator when applying Orthene. We quit for many reasons --
not least because it triggered seizures in our older dog. I'm no "missionary"
for organic gardening, but observation and experience have made me wary of
chemical solutions, except as a last resort.

kfb - maine zone 5

Be sure to note on your calendar the upcoming events of interest. In particular, we would like everyone to keep in mind the upcoming flower show at the Ocean Center. This is the 51st annual show and our club has always encouraged its members to enter plants in the show. This is the time to begin selecting those plants you wish to enter. Make sure you turn these plants regularly so that they have even growth on all sides and are not leaning toward the light and please, please, please…don’t feel that your plants aren’t "good enough" to enter in the show. If you start cleaning them up now and pampering them a bit, they’ll be blue ribbon entries for sure by the Spring! Also, you may want to consider entering plants other than bromeliads as I’m sure that most of you have some of these non-bromeliads as houseplants.. If they are interesting enough for you to have them around, they will certainly interest someone else attending the show, so why not enter these also? Let’s see how many ribbons our club can acquire this year!

Also please keep in mind that the Master Gardener’s sale at the Volusia County Fairgrounds will be coming up at around this same time. This is our one big fund raiser for the year, so we are asking everyone to provide at least 3 bromeliads for sale – proceeds to benefit FECBS. Beyond that, please feel free to participate by adding some of your extra plants for the sales table. You will receive 75% of the sales price on each plant and the club will get 25%. This is a great way to get rid of some of those extra pups that you have taking up space in your collection and you can make a few extra dollars that to use for buying potting mix, pots or even…more bromeliads!




Looking ahead:

Jan. 7th , 2006 Florida Council of Bromeliad Societies quarterly meeting hosted by the Bromeliad Society of Broward County

Feb. 11, 2006 Garage sale – proceeds to benefit

Halifax Council of Garden Clubs

Feg. 25-26, 2006 Tampa African Violet Society annual show and sale – "Violets on Broadway"

The Farm Bureau – 100 South Mulrennan Road

Valrico, Fl. Call Tricia at 813/3367-6382 for more details

March 16 – 19, 2006 Everybody’s Flower

Show -