ARS 1977 Annual Meeting
Eugene, Oregon, May 12-15
Arlene F. Haugen, Eugene, Oregon
The Eugene Chapter will host the sixteenth national convention for the American Rhododendron Society. Chapter members have fond memories of the 1968 national meeting held in Eugene and invite members and friends of the society to participate in a renewal of friendships and acquaintances.
The convention program opens Thursday evening with a presentation by Fred Galle on native American azaleas. Mr. Galle, Eastern Vice President of the ARS, is Vice President and Director of Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia. Associated with the Gardens since 1953, he is largely responsible for the native azalea collection. Mr. Galle is active in several horticultural organizations and is a true friend of the American Rhododendron Society. Many rhododendron collectors share the opinion that the native azaleas are not grown as extensively as they should be, perhaps because there is not enough known about their fine qualities. A continuation of the discussion begun at the 1976 'annual meeting should be of interest to all rhododendron collectors.
Friday brings a full day of activities. "Trends in Rhododendrons" will be discussed in a series by Richard Murcott, Hadley Osborn, and Harold Greer. Mr. Murcott, an active member of the New York Chapter, has been hybridizing since 1964 and is currently working with indumented rhododendrons. He is interested in species hardy to the East Coast. A Director of the ARS, Mr. Murcott was Chairman of the Rhododendron Breeders' Roundtable at the 1976 Annual meeting.
Hadley Osborn from the California Chapter will bring an avid interest, contagious enthusiasm, and a wide range of knowledge to the discussion. As a hybridizer, Mr. Osborn tries not to duplicate what others are doing. He is serving his second year as President of the Strybing Arboretum Society of Golden Gate Park. He devotes a share of his time to public gardens because he believes in their need.
Harold Greer from the Eugene Chapter will review trends in the Northwest. Mr. Greer is a rhododendron enthusiast who became involved in growing and hybridizing rhododendrons at an early age. Because of this early interest, he is now producing second and third generation plants. As a successful nurseryman and collector and one who travels extensively about the Northwest seeking out the new and unusual, Mr. Greer is well qualified to discuss current trends.
Following this series, Keith Wade will present the topic "Study of the Habitat of New Guinea Rhododendrons." Mr. Wade was on the 1974 annual meeting program in Seattle and presented a most informative discussion on New Guinea rhododendrons in the wild. His New Guinea research was done as part of field work for his doctorate while at Australia National University. He is an Ecologist and Botanist at Capilno College and a research associate at the University of British Columbia Botanical Garden. He coordinates all rhododendron research at U. B. C. One of his projects is working with R. arboreum varieties through the chromosome approach to develop hardier strains. Mr. Wade grows about 300 varieties of rhododendrons, both species and hybrids in his garden in North Vancouver, B.C.
Garden tours begin at noon Friday. Tours are scheduled to the garden of Dr. Carl Phetteplace, Hendricks Park and Greer Gardens. Activities continue in the evening after a "special feature" buffet. John L. Creech will discuss "Plant Exploration in China and Japan - Past, Present, Future." Mr. Creech, now Director of the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington D.C., was instrumental in making the 1968 annual meeting in Eugene a success. His presentation on evergreen azaleas from Taiwan was outstanding. In the U.S. Department of Agriculture since 1947, he has been Horticulturist in charge of the U.S. Plant Introduction Station, Glenn Dale, Maryland; Assistant chief and chief of the New Crops Research Branch; and National Program Staff Scientist for the Agricultural Research Service. He has explored and been responsible for introducing and maintaining a broad array of plant species from all parts of the world. Mr. Creech has undertaken eight plant explorations for ornamental plants, including trips to Japan, Taiwan, Nepal, Yugoslavia, and two trips to the Soviet Union. In 1974 he undertook a trip to the Peoples" Republic of China as a member of the Plant Science Delegation appointed by the National Academy of Sciences. A ninth trip was begun in October, 1976, when he left for the Far East.
Saturday morning will bring a variety of interesting programs. J. D. Vertrees, from Roseburg, Oregon, and a member of the Eugene Chapter, will discuss "Companion Trees." Mr. Vertrees is widely known for his photography and lectures on insects and plant life. He is becoming equally known for his work with Japanese maples. Since his retirement from the staff of Oregon State University with emeritus status, he has devoted all his time to the study of maples. His enthusiasm, his background of 35 years of photography, and his knowledge of plant material combine to make this a program of value to everyone.
To those of you who have had the pleasure of hearing him, it should come as no surprise that David Goheen of Camas, Washington, is presenting the topic "Dwarf Rhododendrons for Your Garden." Mr. Goheen joined the ARS in 1962 and since that time has been assembling a collection of about 200 species which grow in his four-acre garden. He is an active hybridizer currently working on yellows, blues, and dwarf compacts, and indumented reds with typical yakushimanum growth habit and truss. R. hemsleyanum has been widely used in hybridizing to impart its excellent foliage traits. Mr. Goheen has traveled throughout Europe and visited many of the main rhododendron gardens, including that of Dietrich Hobbie. More recently, he visited gardens in Australia and New Zealand. Ever the collector, he has bought a rhododendron garden on the central Oregon Coast, where he may be able to grow species not quite hardy in his Camas area.
Saturday morning ends with William Letcher discussing "Plants of the Siskiyou Mountains." Formerly from Mount Shasta, California, his new home is Placerville, California, to which he is moving over 400 species and varieties. The Siskiyou Mountains contain an unusual and varied collection of plant material, most of which is of interest to gardeners and much of which is rare. Mr. Letcher made his first backpacking trip into the Siskiyou alone in 1932. His latest trip in 1976, made with Eugene Chapter member Jim Blackford, was to acquire more slides for the program at the annual meeting. He is an excellent photographer, a collector of rare plants, and an enthusiastic and knowledgeable lecturer.
A multi-image program entitled "Oregon Spectacular" presented during the Saturday luncheon should appeal to all who appreciate good photography. Don Hunter, Media Consultant at the University of Oregon, will present the program and his techniques should give some new ideas to photographers and program planners in the ARS.
The Eugene Chapter's Annual Rhododendron Flower Show will be viewed by the convention participants Saturday afternoon. The show is held under cover at the Valley River Center, one of the finest shopping malls in the Northwest. Buses will transport convention guests from the convention site to the mall. Traditionally, this show has 600-800 trusses on display, many plants exhibited, and beautifully arranged commercial exhibits.
The Annual Meeting and Banquet begin Saturday night. The President's address and friendly festivities will complete the day.
The Breeders' Roundtable, chaired by Dr. Robert Ticknor, will be held on Sunday. This is an event that attracts more interest and participants each year. More details about the roundtable will appear in the Spring Quarterly Bulletin.
The Eugene Chapter looks forward to hosting the annual convention. Our hope is to offer you a warm and informative convention. The convention headquarters will be at the Rodeway Inn, Springfield, Oregon. Please check your 1977 calendar and arrange to be with us May 12-15. We are working to make this a memorable convention.