Philadelphia Chapter Receives Gold Medal
Alfred S. Martin, Vice President, American Rhododendron Society
Fig.38. The Philadelphia Chapter's Gold Medal Exhibit
at the Philadelphia Flower Show, March 1970.
Photo by Vinciguerra
The Philadelphia Chapter was awarded the Gold Medal of the Chicago Horticultural Society for the outstanding exhibit by a plant society in the Philadelphia Flower Show, March 1lth to 22nd. The award was shared with the Bonsai Society, a perennial winner. The theme of the 140,000 square foot flower show was "You and Your Garden." Approximately 14 commercial nurseries and the same number of plant societies had exhibits in the Show. The Chapters own exhibition featured "A Woodland Garden."
The Exhibit was excitingly staged by Hans Daniels of Swiss Pines Arboretum. His grouping of colors, placements of plants and general design were judged to be superior. Past exhibits had developed into a good natured feud to see if John Schamenek and I could supply Hans with more materials than he could use. We consistently lost. This year we were more determined than ever and almost won. Some measure of his unusual skill is indicated by the total amount of material that Hans was able to place in a little less than 500 square feet without having the Exhibit appear either crowded or clustered. Material included four large woodland hemlocks 12-14 feet and three woodland white pines 10-14 feet. The design also included a dry stream bed, a pool, rustic bench, foot path and a dozen boulders ranging in size from 8 cubic feet to 24 cubic feet. Basic rhododendron material consisted of 80 plants of over 40 different species and hybrids along with 20 deciduous and native azaleas. Several dozen pots of wild flowers in 20 varieties were also worked into the design.
The framework for the exhibit and pond were designed and built by John Schamenek, who also designed a very practical and stable support for the cut trees. We were very fortunate in having McAndrews & Forbes furnish 15 tons of licorice root and Premier Peat Moss Corporation furnish 80 bags of Sphagnum moss for the pathway. Bruce Keyser of the Morris Arboretum, Max Tietjens and Earl Richmond helped us setup the Exhibit which took four days to complete. Members of the Society, under the direction of Ernesta Ballard, manned the Exhibit during the show.
The material blooming period of the plants to be forced covered about a ten-week span. This presents an extremely difficult forcing situation. Commercial nurserymen usually select plants within a narrow time band but we were extremely anxious to have an exhibition of as many different plants as possible. Several years of experience have brought us to the reluctant conclusion that forcing rhododendrons is at best an inexact science. This year proved to be more frustrating than usual. Not even reliable plants performed as they had in the past and in most cases there was not even a remote resemblance to past behavior. We were fortunate to have at our disposal one holding area and space in three other greenhouses. Unfortunately, we were able to control only one house completely. This necessitated a tremendous amount of moving from location to location either to retard or advance plant blooming. Each plant moved at least twice and sometimes more during the forcing period. The end results proved good as we were able to bring all but three of the following plant list into bloom at show time. David Leach, one of the judges, felt that it was one of the most comprehensive exhibitions of forced rhododendrons that he had ever seen.
Plant List for Exhibit Philadelphia Chapter
Common Shooting Star
Early Meadow Rue
Evergreen Wood Fern
Trillium sessile luteum
'Knap Hill Red'
#1 'Shocking Pink'
R. nudiflorum azalea
R. vaseyi var. 'White Find'
Rhododendron Hybrids 'America' 'Elizabeth' 'Pink Twins' 'Autumn Gold' 'Hardizer's Beauty' 'Princess Juliana' 'Belle Heller' 'Jaipur' 'Queen Mary' 'Blue Peter' 'Jean Marie de Montague' 'Ramapo' 'Boule de Neige' 'Keiskrac' 'Repens Bengal' 'Carmen' 'Madame Masson' 'Richards Hybrid' 'Carousel' 'Maryke' 'Romeo' 'Cary Ann' 'Mrs. Betty Robertson' 'Rosa Mundi' 'Catawbiense Album'
'Mrs. Charles E. Pearson'
'Rose Elf' 'Cheer' 'Myrtifolium' 'Spring Glory' 'Chinoides' 'Ocean Lake' 'Unique' 'Christmas Cheer' 'Odee Wright' 'Windbeam' 'Daphnoides' 'Olympic Lady' 'Wyanokie' 'Dora Amateis'
Plants were obtained locally from Indian Run Nursery, LaBars Rhododendron Nurseries, Medford Nurseries, Walter Kern's Azalea Gardens, and A. M. Shammarello & Son. We also brought in over a ton of plants by air from Van Veen Nursery, WilChris Acres and Comerford's Nursery. The wild flowers came from Indian Run Nursery and Vick's Wild Gardens. A few plants were furnished by members of the Chapter.