Charles Sumner Lambie

Charles Lambie Rittenberry Orchid

Today, in 1941 the Amarillo Daily News ran an article featuring Charles Sumner Lambie, who was a Denver area civil engineer by day and a rare orchid breeder by night. 

Lambie grew up in Pittsburgh, tending the family garden. He later married Margaret McCandless, and together they raised nine children.
As his engineering firm became successful, Lambie's wife said he turned to the hobby of raising orchids as a means of relief from the stresses of his job. Mr. Lambie shared an upside that he discovered about greenhouse gardening: He no longer suffers from hayfever as he did when he gardened outside.
After sharing the various types of orchids grown by Lambie, the article shared Lambie's method for documenting his plants. Here's what it said:

"Mr. Lambie has a card index file ... on each plant. Here is a simple entry from the card of C. Talisman:
L.O. Talisman: 6 inches, December 1938, Christmas; Winter Bloomer, October to early summer, variable. Flowers large, Sepals and petals – Light to dark rose. Lip, dark rich crimson; Throat purple with yellow – gold veins."

Mr. Lambie puts a protective canopy over the orchids when they are in bloom, and he sprays them several times a day.
When Mr. Lambie leaves town on business, Mrs. Lambie makes sure that the orchids are watered several times today.
As the reporter for the story was leaving, Mrs. Lambie showed him a small orchid and shared that Mr. Lambie was given the orchid when he subscribed to an orchid magazine.
The orchid is called the Charles Lambie Rittenberry orchid named for their grandson, and of course, it receives "very careful attention," she added with a smile.

This post was featured on
The Daily Gardener podcast:

helping gardeners find their roots,
one story at a time
Charles Sumner Lambie
Charles Sumner Lambie

Leave a Comment