Report Of Eighteenth Annual Meeting of the A.R.S.
Winterthur, Delaware, Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania
May 6-7, 1962
The idea of an Annual Meeting of the American Rhododendron Society to be held in the Eastern part of the United States had been suggested by several members of the Society but it was not until 1959 when Mr. Henry F. DuPont made a direct proposal to the President of the Middle Atlantic Chapter that firm plans were undertaken to extend an invitation to hold the Eighteenth Annual Meeting of the American Rhododendron Society at Winterthur in the Spring of 1962.
This proposal resulted in much preliminary work by Mr. DuPont, our President, Thomas F. Wheeldon, and the first Initial Planning Meeting was called for April 15, 1961 at Winterthur. At this meeting, representatives from 8 of the Eastern Chapters, together with Mr. Henry F. DuPont of Winterthur, Mr. Gordon Tyrrell, Director of Winterthur Gardens, Dr. Russell J. Seibert, Director of Longwood Gardens, and Mr. Everitt Miller, also of Longwood Gardens, were present and plans were drafted for the organization of the Meeting and Show and estimates of attendance made.
Several interim sessions by Committees were held and a second meeting, at which representatives of 7 chapters were present, convened at Winterthur on November 11, 1961, at which progress to date was reported and final details worked out by those chapter members present and Mr. DuPont, Mr. Tyrrell, Dr. Seibert and others.
The major burden of coordinating and implementing the plans for the Annual Meeting was carried out by Mr. DuPont, Dr. Thomas Wheeldon, and the staffs of Winterthur and Longwood under Gordon Tyrrell and Russell J. Seibert, respectively, assisted by Dr. Henry Skinner, Dr. John Wister, and Mr. Everitt Miller, and other members of the Society.
When the first day of the 1962 Annual Meeting arrived, the wisdom of the selection of May 6th and 7th for the meeting date was evidenced. Pleasant, sunshiny weather coupled with profuse bloom of plant, shrub and tree found at Winterthur and Longwood, welcomed all those attending the meeting.
Registration was completed Sunday afternoon, May 6th, at the Pavilion at Winterthur. The grounds of Winterthur, for the benefit of those who were unable to attend, are English park like in character, comprising rolling hills covered with giant native forest trees combined with added plantings of specimen examples of flowering trees, pines and shrubs plus an under planting in the wooded areas of an unmatched collection of Azaleas and Rhododendrons all in a naturalized setting of wild flowers, ferns, ground cover, etc. Mr. DuPont constantly endeavors to extend the blooming period so that visitors will always find a beautiful vista whenever they come to Winterthur.
The Pavilion at Winterthur is a large one story somewhat Japanese style timber structure, approximately 200 feet square situated on a curving drive, with windows from floor to roof eaves around two sides so that those in the Assembly-Dining room area are permitted a lovely view of the nearby grounds and woodlands.
It was along a tree shaded path near the Pavilion that the Philadelphia, Middle Atlantic, Indianapolis, and Pacific Northwest Chapters held their plant display. The exhibitors of cut trusses, etc. showed their examples along the windows in the Assembly-Dining area inside the Pavilion. Those having displays were the National Arboretum and Dr. Thomas Wheeldon.
After receiving their registration material, members strolled around the vicinity of the Pavilion observing the plantings of Holly, other Evergreens, some striking Turkish Tulips along the entrance drive, the Chapter plant displays and then returned to the Pavilion for a social hour preceding dinner, at both of which members were the personal guests of Mr. and Mrs. DuPont.
Dr. Thomas Wheeldon, of the Middle Atlantic Chapter, presided at the dinner meeting and expressed, on behalf of all members, their thanks and appreciation for the beautifully served and delicious dinner and for the privilege of meeting at Winterthur.
Dr. Wheeldon then introduced many of the Committee workers, all Chapter presidents who were present and Dr. Clarke, President of the Society.
Mrs. Hansen, Secretary, gave a resume of the growth of the Society and emphasized that the best growth comes from the natural accretion of sincerely interested individuals, not from any high pressure membership campaign. It was a great pleasure for the Eastern members, who had not previously done so, to meet Dr. Clarke and Mrs. Hansen.
A special welcome was extended to the Tappan Zee and Midwest Chapters, the two chapters most recently added to the American Rhododendron Society roster.
Awards presented during the dinner meeting were the American Rhododendron Gold Medal to Dr. John Wister and awards by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society to Neighborhood Gardens Society, Longwood Gardens and David Leach.
Prior to his discussion of American Rhododendron Society affairs, Dr. Clarke asked Mr. DuPont to convey the regards and best wishes of the American Rhododendron Society to the Royal Horticultural Society of England, the current meeting of which, Mr. and Mrs. DuPont were to attend a few days after the conclusion of the American Rhododendron Society meeting at Winterthur and Longwood. Mr. DuPont journeyed to England to accept a Vice Presidency in the Royal Horticultural Society.
Dr. Clarke, as his principal address during the official business portion of the meeting, discussed the problems involved in the administrative functions of the Society, which historically was a relatively localized matter, and now has become national in scope. He emphasized that, although the Society Board of Directors is composed of members from the Pacific Northwest because of historical and communication factors, every Chapter President is automatically a Director of the American Rhododendron Society and entitled to express opinions and vote on the policy and actions of the Society.
Dr. Clarke also mentioned the American Rhododendron Society project to assemble a Species Collection in the Society Garden with the objective of collecting and identifying species plants and to define their true characteristics. This project has been undertaken by four chapters and they are starting with ten Species.
Cecil Smith of Aurora, Oregon, has been appointed Chairman of the project. The Rating Scale for Rhododendrons and Test Gardens are to be established or are in existence in Portland and Eugene, Oregon, and in Union County, New Jersey.
Future awards for superior clones or species are to be based upon a preliminary recognition, followed by a Test Garden Certificate and are to be given for a plant of outstanding ability as a Plant, not an indirect recognition of the person who developed it or who may have been prominent in the field of Horticulture or Hybridization.
The Awards Committee is to be appointed by the President of the American Rhododendron Society.
Dr. Clarke concluded with a Question and Answer period.
Mrs. Powell Glass, whose husband discovered R. catawbiense album, and who in her own right is an active member, in her truly gracious Southern manner asked for the Meeting's indulgence, in that, since Dr. Thomas Wheeldon was the presiding Chairman of the dinner meeting, he had been overlooked in the recognition for efforts devoted to the organization and presentation of the 1962 Annual Meeting and as President of the Middle Atlantic Chapter, and asked that the audience give him recognition also, and they enthusiastically granted her request.
Before turning the meeting back to Dr. Wheeldon, Dr. Clarke asked any member who had a question, not to hesitate to approach him at any time during the meeting.
Dr. Wheeldon then called on Gordon Tyrrell, Director of Winterthur Gardens, who welcomed the members to Winterthur and expressed his thanks and appreciation for the assistance given by the staff at Winterthur, and especially Mrs. Geer and Mrs. Clark and also reminded members of the Post Meeting program of the Tour of Gardens and Arboreta and Winterthur Museum on Tuesday, May 8th.
Dr. Clarke added some interesting comments on the gavel made from Rhododendron maximum from Valley Forge and the gavel of Rhododendron red maximum from Mt. Mitchell, which had been previously given to him as President of the American Rhododendron Society. A similar gavel from the same red maximum was also previously given to Sir Giles Loder of the Royal Horticultural Society of England.
Dr. Clarke then introduced Mr. Edward Dunn of the Seattle Chapter and Vice President of the American Rhododendron Society who gave a talk on Rhododendron Breeding in the Pacific Northwest. His talk was followed by a presentation of colored slides illustrating many of the hybrids mentioned in his discussion.
The meeting then adjourned until 10:00 o'clock the following morning on Monday, May 7th.
Many enthusiastic members returned to Winterthur Monday morning prior to the scheduled assembly hour of 10:00 o'clock to view again the interesting exhibits and the glories of Winterthur and the Spring weather.
At 10:00 o'clock grounds under the guidance of Mr. DuPont, Gordon Tyrrell, Henry Chillcott, Walter Petroll and Harold Bruce, toured the extensive grounds which comprise several hundred acres in all. The magnificence of color, variety of planting of trees, shrubs and flowers make futile any effort at description by the written word. It is only hoped that every Chapter may have the opportunity of viewing colored slides taken of the sights of Winterthur during the Annual Meeting. It might be a thought for all who took colored photos to have reproductions made of their best shots and contribute them to the Society's Slide Library.
The effort of the tour of the Gardens made luncheon doubly welcome as an opportunity to renew one's energies, and members returned to the Pavilion where the sights of the morning were discussed over the luncheon tables. One bright event, not on the scheduled program, was the surprise celebration given to Mr. Paul Bosley, Sr., of Mentor, Ohio, in honor of his birthday. He was presented with a birthday cake and key ring by Mrs. David Leach. All members joined in best wishes.
At the conclusion of luncheon. Cordon Tyrrell, Director of Winterthur and Local Chairman of the Annual Meeting, introduced the panel comprised of Joseph Gable, John Henny, Rudolph Henny, David G. Leach, Henry T. Skinner and Paul Vossberg with Clement G. Bowers as Moderator.
The subject of the panel's discussion was "Rhododendron Growing, East and West" and the prominence and reputation of the members makes superfluous the compass identification of the participants. Suffice it to say that their wit was exceeded only by their erudition and the interest of the audience. One pithy gem of Joseph Gable's in explaining the brevity which would limit his remarks was the comment that "It doesn't take long to talk too long". The panel pointed out that the subject of their discussion included by implication, "Rhododendron Growing, North and South."
Mr. Gable told of his hybridization using R. maximum as a base as suggested by Dr. Wister. Rudolph Henny stated that great advances had been made in hybridization in the last 20 years on the West Coast and urged continued efforts in hybridization keeping in mind that good parents do not guarantee good offspring.
David Leach advised that Knaphill and Exbury Azaleas have not worked out as successfully as anticipated and that the Ilam types appear to hold the most hope for culture in the Eastern part of the United States.
John Henny recommended that we resolve on a common pronunciation of Latin names which led Dr. Bowers to comment on the confusion arising from the pronunciation of that Latin (?) name "Pepsickola."
Dr. Skinner stated that native species have a limited and special interest but urged their wider culture even though some may be difficult to propagate from cuttings.
The panel discussion closed with a question and answer period.
Here ended the Winterthur part of the program and members adjourned to Longwood Gardens situated some 5 miles further Northwest of Winterthur. Longwood is a very large establishment comprising of many acres of formal gardens in the Italian style, several of the principal features being fountains, water pools, cascades and large conservatories, there being more than 3½ acres in all under glass.
On arrival at Longwood, members were met by members of the staff of Longwood and were conducted on tours of the gardens and were then free to roam the conservatories at their will. In the main conservatory was found a magnificent display of rhododendrons and azaleas, some outstanding examples of which were Rhododendron 'Pink Pearl', 'Mrs. Furnival', 'Eureka Maid', 'Fragrantissimum' and many others.
A pleasant and gay social hour preceded the dinner and meeting at which Dr. Seibert, Director of Longwood Gardens, welcomed members, expressed appreciation for the efforts and assistance by the staff of Longwood and presented the Massachusetts Horticultural Society Gold Medal to Dr. John Wister.
Then followed a lecture by Dr. John Creech of the U.S. Department of Agriculture on his search in the principal islands of Japan for native azaleas. Colored slides accompanied his talk.
When Dr. Creech's talk ended, members moved out to the terrace in front of the Main Conservatory and in the cool Spring darkness, were enchanted by a magnificent illuminated fountain display, the waters playing in many forms, now high, then subsiding, and always in varying colors of red, blue, green, gold and pastel shades thereof. The performance ended in a crescendo of water, spray and color and slowly subsided as the lights dimmed and darkness once again descended on the appreciative audience.
So ended the Eighteenth Annual Meeting of the American Rhododendron Society at Winterthur and Longwood Gardens. An occasion marked by much hard work by those involved in the presentation of the meeting, great scenic and cultural enjoyment, many friendships made and renewed, and a barometer of the interest in the Society with a capacity attendance of 321 members from 16 Chapters in 14 states.