All posts by Robyn LaMantia

AOS News – May 2016

Wow! The American Orchid Society (AOS) has a brand new website! I took a look at it today and it’s pretty cool. The website address is and the first thing you’ll notice are the pretty new pastel colors. I like a good look, but I’m mostly a ‘content’ girl. Not content; I mean I’m pretty rowdy most of the time, but rather content – you know, the meat in the sandwich, the stuffing the turkey, the frosting in the oreo. Got it?

Growing orchids is a journey. Some of us have been at it for much of our lifetime, while others of us are still wiping the drool off our chin while staring entranced at our first orchid. Regardless, we all have questions from time-to-time. While the addiction adventure is incredibly rewarding, it wouldn’t be an adventure without challenges.

As a member of the American Orchid Society (AOS), you don’t have to face those challenges alone. Being part of the AOS community means having thousands of peers and mentors around the world to guide and support you on your path to orchid growing bliss.

While there are still many great freebees for non members, membership in AOS is a wonderful thing and gets you some of the exclusive goodies only available to members. Fantastic articles in ORCHIDS magazine, live and on-demand webinars, live question and answer chats… where you can have your specific questions addressed, physical shows, conferences and events…and most important, your AOS membership card which proves you are on the road to that exalted platform where the expert orchid growers live, close to the sun, looking down at the rest of us and beckoning…..beckoning……

Please consider joining the American Orchid Society. With your membership you receive Orchids Magazine. If you don’t know what the magazine looks like, see our Librarian, Helen Orgill, to borrow issues. See me with any questions.

The following is a link to AOS articles for beginning growers:
and a link to public webinars (available to non-AOS members:

–  Karen Wofford (AOS Rep)

AOS News – February 2016

Volunteer Spot is Ready for Sign Ups!

Here’s how it works in 3 easy steps:

1) Click this link to see our Spring Show Sign-up on VolunteerSpot:

2) Review the options listed and choose the spot(s) you like.

3) Sign up! It’s Easy – you will NOT need to register an account or keep a password on VolunteerSpot.

This is such a simple way to sign up and see what jobs are available!

Details: When you type into your web browser, you will see a welcome page for the Sonoma County Orchid Society Show. You will be asked for your email address.

Once you put in your email address, click NEXT and you’ll be able to see all the great jobs available for sign up. Do yourself a favor though, and click the open square that says “Hide Full Spots”. Otherwise you will see EVERY job that is listed, even though they are already filled.

Have fun scrolling down the page to see what the jobs are and if one piques your interest, click the orange “Sign Up!” button. Once you click the button, you will be prompted to add your name and phone number. This information is only for me and the committee chair you are working for. That’s it. No one from VolunteerSpot will use this information in any way. That is their guarantee. If they do, I’ll personally represent you in the lawsuit.

That’s it! You’re finished! You can remove your name later if you need to and you can swap with other people. Within a few minutes, the program will send you an automated email welcoming you and listing any jobs you have signed up for. (Ed. Note: You can get to VolunteerSpot to access your signup or make changes at anytime by using this link )

Any changes that are made to your job between now and April will automatically be sent to you by email. A few days before the event, you will get another email reminder that confirms what job and hours you have signed up for.

Not all volunteer positions are listed yet. Bookmark the web address and check back if you don’t see the job you are looking for. An email blast will go out to everyone once all jobs are listed.

Looking forward to the Show and seeing you all there!

PS. Anyone not comfortable using their email address online, please call me, Karen Wofford, 707-975-4299 and I can sign you up manually.

DON’T FORGET TO CHECK OUT THE NEWEST AOS AWARDS AT the California Sierra-Nevada Judging Center at and the Pacific Central Judging Center at

–  Karen Wofford (AOS Rep)

AOS News – January 2016

Volunteer Spot

Last month we talked about using the internet program, Volunteer Spot, to help organize our volunteers for the 2016 Spring Orchid Show and Sale. This technology is not meant to take the place of personal contact with each other. It is simply a tool for us to use for the benefit of our members. Creating a volunteer database for an event this large can be an enormous undertaking. This software is meant to simplify things for everyone, reduce mistakes and confusion and provide a clear understanding of what is needed. For the first time, each job will have a description attached to it and you will know exactly what you will be volunteering to do as well as who is volunteering around you and who you are working for. I have a secondary agenda of possibly bringing in non-members who would like to see the show but are uncomfortable paying the admission fee. Since volunteering allows them to see the show without admission, I’m sure that once they see how fun we are, they will want to join us!

How do I view what volunteer opportunities are available?

Once the volunteer coordinator (me) receives information from the various chair people regarding what they each need in the way of volunteers, I will begin to enter those needed volunteer positions and the times they are needed. Once I have initiated the event and populated it with volunteer positions, I will be sending an email link to all our members. You will be able to view the positions and times that need volunteers, with the associated duties for each position. At that time, you will be able to sign up for volunteer positions and even change your selection up until the day prior to the event.

The difficult part for some of you will be that you must register with your Name, Email Address, and Phone Number in order to view the volunteer positions. I want to assure you that in a thorough test several months ago, no one was contacted by Volunteer Spot for any reason. I have researched the organization and am satisfied that using this process will not, in any way, compromise anyone in our society as it relates to identity theft or spamming of your email. “Emails and phone numbers are not used for advertising, spamming, or anything unrelated to the current event. They are accessed only by the volunteer coordinator or chairperson for the purpose of this event alone.”

You will only receive a few emails generated by the program to remind you what you have signed up for as the show approaches. These emails will stop as soon as the event is over.

For those of you who don’t use a computer or are not comfortable with this system, be assured we will develop an alternate method so that you can still volunteer. It takes all of us together to make our show a success!

–  Karen Wofford (AOS Rep)

AOS News – December 2015

AOS Reno Show & Sale

November 11 -15 was a grand time in Reno for the four of us who represented the Sonoma County Orchid Society at the 2015 Fall American Orchid Society meeting and sale! Susan Anderson, Angelique Fry, Lynne Murrell and me (Karen Wofford) attended the entire event, then stayed an extra day because it SNOWED! It was blue skies all around for the event until the last day when the clouds came in, the sun got dark, and white whirly flakes buried us under their quiet blanket.

This is the second show this year that was essentially in our own backyard. The spring show was in Portland, OR. The Spring Meeting in 2016 will be held far to the east of us. Classes we attended were wonderful and included topics on ‘Paphiopedilums’ by Theresa Hill and Dave Sorokowsky, ‘conservation’ by Peter Tobias, ‘viruses’ by Janet Lamborn of Agdia, ‘growing orchids his own way’ by Dennis Olivas, Fukiran by Terry Kowalczuk, ‘pendulous cymbidiums’ by George Hatfield, ‘Phalaenopsis’ by Carlos Fighetti, ‘Laelia purpurata’ by Sergio Garcia, breeding trends by Dr. John Chant and orchids in Columbia by Gary Meyer.
Between classes we dodged cigarette smoke and slot machines and sampled the casino restaurants. Occasionally a glass of wine slipped in. Halfway through the show I decided to take the big jump and start my memoir. It will be titled, Confessions of an Orchid Addict.

Just checking to see if you are still reading.

Angelique and I took Amtrak from Martinez to Reno. I’ve never done this before. It was a supremely enjoyable experience. I arrived at my destination completely relaxed both directions. The only difficult part was smuggling our “agricultural items” aka orchids, on board and hiding them from the conductor who did not have a sense of humor about how many orchids we brought onto the train. Surprisingly, the orchids survived the trip home pretty well. All four boxes of them!

See you next month!