More About The American Rhododendron Society
Annual Meeting May 14 and 15, 1971 TOURS
Three separate tours are planned for Saturday, May 15. The places chosen are representative of what is being grown in the Delaware Valley area. The gardens belong to members of one of the three chapters which are sponsors of the meeting-Philadelphia, Valley Forge and Princeton.
The price of a tour is included in the registration. However, unless your reservation for a particular tour is received by May 1, you will be assigned to whichever of the tours is open at that time. We suggest that you indicate on your reservation envelope which of the three tours you want. All tours will leave the hotel at 8:45 and will return by 4:30 p.m.
The first stop will be "Tranquility," the home of Mr. and Mrs. George A. Arrington. It consists of three acres of very hilly and attractively landscaped terrain. Visitors are sure to be impressed by the wide variety of plant material, including rhododendrons, azaleas, shade trees, wildflowers and herbaceous plants. George and Betty Arrington grow most (but they say not all!) the Exbury azaleas suitable for this area.
Water, which tumbles over a small falls, a ravine, woodland, walls, terraces, a small greenhouse and a lath house afford a number of microclimates. These expert growers have taken advantage of all of them.
From "Tranquility," the buses will proceed to Indian Run Nursery, Robbinsville, New Jersey, owned and operated by Dr. and Mrs. Leon Heuser. The nursery, started in 1964, covers 20 acres. It offers more than 75 varieties of rhododendrons, but specializes in Dexters and Ironclads. The large specimens are grown in 10 acres of woodland. Propagation and growing of small stock takes place in 10 acres of open fields. Jo and Leon Heuser's house is in a woodsy portion of the nursery. It is landscaped with-guess what-rhododendrons.
After lunch at Indian Run, the tour will move on to Princeton for a visit to the annual cut truss show of the Princeton chapter and a short look at the Princeton chapter's test garden at the Hun School.
The buses will travel through Fairmount Park (the largest city park in the world-over 4,000 acres) to the garden of Dr. and Mrs. Franklin H. West. Here, on only an acre and a half, you will find several hundred clones of Glen Dales and Gables, a vegetable garden, an orchard, a lily pond and 150 roses. Frank and Alice West started their garden in 1954. There were two trees on the site at the time. Frank explains that, because he has many small hills and dales, he is able to accommodate more plants than he could if the terrain was flat. In any event, the results are satisfying, not only to an expert plantsman, but to visitors as well.
This tour will then go to Swarthmore, to visit Dr. and Mrs. John C. Wister. Here, in 5 acres, you will see four to five thousand varieties of plants in a garden setting. Jack and Gertrude Wister are specialists in everything that grows, and Jack, a landscape architect to begin with, has laid out his acres with a master's touch. He reports that visitors can expect to see "the general run" of rhododendrons, including some Gable and Nearing hybrids, a large number of unnamed Dexter clones under test and many of the Wister's own seedlings, which, because they are June blooming, will have to be admired for their foliage. In addition, you can expect to see iris and tree peonies and Gertrude's rock wall and woodland plantings which, a few weeks earlier, will have featured a display of thousands of little bulbs.
Lunch will be at the John J. Tyler (Painter) Arboretum. Between 1954 and 1958 many species and hybrid varieties of rhododendrons and azaleas were planted in the Arboretum woodland behind the lilacs. Since 1958, a second and much larger area of approximately five acres has been similarly planted, along the northern border of the Pinetum. Here are about 50 wild species, about 250 named varieties, and 200 numbered selections-a total of over 1,500 plants, plus about 1,000 hybrid seedlings under test in the nursery. Director Robert D. MacDonald will have guides on hand to take the visitors to any part of the 690 acres they would like to see.
The buses will travel through Fairmount Park via the East River Drive and the Wissahickon Drive to Chestnut Hill, the highest point of land in the City of Philadelphia. The first stop will be at Mr. and Mrs. George C. Henny's place, which was chopped out of an abandoned tangle of honey-suckle and weed tree in 1957. The property consists of about 1-1/2 acres which originally comprised the stable yard, chicken run and carriage house of a large establishment. A life-time accumulation of manure and many hours of incredibly hard work on the part of George and Elizabeth Henny have produced a truly pleasurable result. Their interest in rhododendrons is obvious from the extensive use of these plants in the landscaping.
The next stop will be at the house and garden of Fred and Ernesta Ballard. The Ballards have been in this place since 1968 and have made extensive horticultural renovation, renewing almost all the shrubs and under-plantings. The garden (which occupies less than one acre) was established in 1920. It is considered a masterpiece of basic design and is noteworthy for its close integration with the house. Situated on the edge of Fairmount Park in an oak grove, the garden is ideally suited for the culture of rhododendrons and azaleas.
Following the visits to these two gardens, the buses will proceed to the garden of meeting chairman, Alfred S. Martin. He and Mary have three acres under intensive cultivation, planted mostly with rhododendrons. Their collection includes over 300 hybrids, including a complete selection of Tony Shammarello's, 50 Rhododendron species, 100 named Exbury Knaphill and Ilam hybrids and a fine collection of many other rare plants.
The last visit will be across the Schuykill River at "Stony Acres," the 2 acre garden of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Herbert. Starting in 1961 on an abandoned commercial rock garden, Charlie Herbert has amassed an impressive collection. Good use has been made of limited space and the results leave no room for time-consuming grass and flower beds! He has over 2,000 species and hybrids, including a complete selection of Gables and many of his own hybrids. Some of the plants which are over 25 years old were moved to this garden when it was started in 1961.
The return trip to the City will include a detour through Valley Forge State Park, spectacular in May because of the thousands of flowering dog woods (Corpus Florida) an unforgettable horticultural experience.