An Invitation to the Annual Meeting
Ernest H. Yelton, M.D., Rutherfordton, N. C.
The 1967 annual meeting of the ARS will be held at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, N.C. May 7 through May 9. The Carolina mountains offer a fresh approach to the study of rhododendrons in their native surroundings. Much of the very beginning of interest in rhododendrons was derived from the descriptions of R. catawbiense, maximum and carolinianum by early plant explorers Michaux, Catesby and Bartram working in the North Carolina mountains. Areas of special interest to our members are Roan Mountain and the magnificent natural "slicks" of R. catawbiense; Table Rock Mountain and the Linville Gorge area with extensive colonies of R. carolinianum along the cliffs; Ayah Bald with thickets of R. calendulaceum and arborescens, Pearson's Falls preserved as a wildflower sanctuary with a beautiful mountain glen, roaring falls and rapids lined by rhododendrons and native azaleas; and Gregory Bald in the Smokies with many natural hybrid deciduous azaleas.
All the Carolina highlands abound in wildflowers in a continuity of bloom from March through October. The Blue Ridge Parkway is a wildflower garden over 200 miles long which allows easy access to virgin mountain peaks over 6000 feet in elevation. Natural rock gardens are at every turn of the road. The Appalachian Trail is world famous for hikers, naturalists and ornithologists, and the annual wildflower pilgrimage, under the guidance of the Smoky Mountains Park naturalists, in April, draws visitors from many states.
For over fifty years as superintendent of the famed Biltmore Estate gardens, the late Mr. C. D. Beadle collected native Southeastern azaleas and other plants. These will be a feature attraction of the meeting. One form of R. calendulaceum with ball-type trusses and a beautiful R. speciosum are especially notable as examples of the fine selectivity Mr. Beadle used in choosing his garden plants.
The Asheville-Biltmore College botanical garden is developing a fine collection of native trees and particularly wildflowers and rock plants. Asheville offers the annual spectacle of the Dogwood Trail( a self-guiding tour of the city at dogwood blooming time. Biltmore Forest has many beautifully landscaped estates and some of these gardens will be visited by the ARS members.
The Southern Highlands Handcraft Guild has two conveniently located shops in Asheville. These stores are treasure houses for collectors of native crafts ranging from wood carving through iron work and crewel embroidery. The Biltmore Industries offer hand woven woolens of excellent quality similar in many ways to the crafters work of the Scottish Highlands.
Dr. Donald Wyman, of Arnold Arboretum, will speak on 60 years of experience with rhododendrons and azaleas at the Anold Arboretum. Mr. Frank P. Knight, of Wisley Gardens of the Royal Horticultural Society, will speak on some notable rhododendrons in the United Kingdom. Dr. Mark Cathey of Beltsville will speak on growth regulators and light effects on rhododendrons.
David Leach, ScD., will speak on "Sex and the Single Rhododendron," a bizarre title, but interesting. Dr. Robert Ticknor will speak on weed control. Mr. Ralph van Landingham of Charlotte, N.C., has generously invited our members to see his gardens after the meeting. He even has invited all of us for lunch! So make your plans now to take in some of this storied Southern hospitality and you all come this spring.
For those who plan to fly, three airlines, United, Delta and Piedmont, come into Asheville. The Southern Railway also goes through Asheville. For those coming from the northeast or even the west, access is by Interstate 40 which provide interesting scenic views. Let our secretary know if you come by plane, the day, the flight number and the airline. Come to see us!