American Rhododendron Society Annual Meeting Program
PHILADELPHIA, PA. - MAY 13-15, 1971
Alfred S. Martin
The educational sessions of the Philadelphia meeting have no central theme but certainly should not be considered disjointed. The program is arranged in sections dealing with landscaping, companion plants, propagation and plant physiology.
Growing and propagating Exbury and allied strains of deciduous azaleas such as Knap Hill and Ilam has been increasingly popular during the past few years. Few have had more experience in this field than Larry Carville. For the past four years he has been the propagator for the Rhode Island Nurseries and for almost a decade prior to that time, Larry worked with the Exbury types at Tumblebrook Nursery in Bloomfield, Connecticut. His talk, as the title indicates, will have a great deal more practical than theoretical content. Larry, a Cornell graduate, has been a long time active and concerned member of the International Plant Propagators' Society and the American Rhododendron Society.
Dr. Richard Jaynes, Connecticut Agricultural Station at New Haven, started genetic studies and breeding Kalmia in 1961. His work is now far along toward the ultimate goal of better garden laurel varieties that are easily propagated. Much of this talk will be new material for most of us. A companion field of interest for Dick Jaynes has been breeding blight resistant Chestnut trees for forest planting. He was also editor of the Handbook of North American Nut Trees published in 1969. Dr. Jaynes is also a member of the American Rhododendron Society.
The final speaker in the field of propagation, Dr. Gustav A. L. Mehlquist, needs little introduction to most Society members. His extensive work in breeding Rhododendrons while at the University of Connecticut is widely known and respected. Dr. Mehlquist has an encyclopedic knowledge of his favorite fields of plant genetics and interspecific hybridization. He is a fascinating speaker with a genius for making the complicated seem simple. I doubt that anyone has ever heard Dr. Mehlquist talk and left without a sense of enrichment of his own knowledge.
John S. Kistler, one of the best known Landscape Architects in the Philadelphia area, has worked with distinction in his field since 1940. Kistler has taught Landscape Architecture and for a period of almost ten years was Assistant to the Director of the Arboretum of the Barnes Foundation. His talk should provide all of us with fresh ideas, resolves and concepts.
Two of our other speakers in the landscape and garden field certainly need no introduction to the Society. There has been an ever increasing Eastern interest in species over the past few years. Certainly we could find no one more qualified to speak on species plants for Eastern gardens than the editor of the Society Quarterly. We suspect that Jock Brydon might also use part of the time to discuss the status of the Species Foundation. One thing is certain, Jock can make any subject alive, vibrant and vital.
Unfortunately, most of us tend to forget that plants other than rhododendrons and azaleas belong in every garden. Gertrude Wister will bring rare insight on companion plants for rhododendrons. The Wisters' own garden is a forceful, yet delicate and sensitive witness to her vast competence in this field. We all feel extremely pleased that Gertrude Wister is giving this talk for there is no one more eminently qualified.
Dr. Radcliffe Pike has long been one of my favorite people. His immense knowledge on the flora of northern New England is remarkably infectious. For many years at his home in Lubec, Maine, the easternmost point of the United States, he has grown Rhododendrons and allied plants. A businessman turned plant scientist, Dr. Pike was an extremely popular and successful professor at the University of New Hampshire and conducted the most popular television garden program in northern New England. Since his recent retirement, he has continued his long study of the ecology of the Wolf Islands. Just recently, he has returned from an envied trip to the far East including the entire length of the Trans-Siberian Railway.
In the area of plant physiology, we are most fortunate to have one of the outstanding speakers in the horticultural field. Dr. Charles Hess has a unique ability to make a complicated and totally unfamiliar subjects seem so simple that you cannot understand why you didn't think of it in the first place. This ability alone is certainly an adequate credential without the long list of honors that has come his way during a distinguished tenure at Purdue University at Rutgers University. Dr. Hess has always been extremely active in the International Plant Propagators' Society and served as International Editor for many years and was also President of the Eastern Region. He comes from a long nursery background, his parents immigrated from the Netherlands and owned and operated Hess' Nurseries in New Jersey. At the present time, Dr. Hess has been appointed Director of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station.
Alfred Fordham is becoming so well known as a speaker at National and Eastern Rhododendron Meetings that an introduction is almost redundant. The fact that his experience at the Arnold Arboretum goes back to the days of Ernest Wilson should interest rhododendron people. Mr. Fordham is a graduate of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew and a practicing gentleman besides, though our editor might dispute this claim for a Kew graduate. Certainly Alfred Fordham must be considered today the Dean of American professional propagators. His work on seed propagation and witches' brooms is widely known. The studies on microclimates that Mr. Fordham will present is new material from Arboretum studies and should help to settle the question of why a plant grows here, but not next door.