Springtime in Georgia: the 1984 ARS Convention
Avis Aronovitz, Atlanta, GA
Azalea Chapter invites all ARS members to experience a "Springtime in Georgia" by attending the 1984 Annual Meeting April 26-29 at the Marriott Hotel-Perimeter Center located in North Atlanta's wooded countryside. Local experts, as well as trips to area gardens, will focus on the glorious azaleas and rhododendron indigenous to southeastern United States. In an area where one cannot rely on a sudden and conclusive onset of spring, collections of rhododendron and azaleas available will be limited less by winter extremes and more by capricious cold snaps following early spring warm spells.
Members are urged to arrive early and travel Thursday with the group to popular Callaway Gardens, a vacation resort and horticultural exhibit approximately an hour and a half southwest of the city. Even those who have visited the gardens before will want to see the new $3.5 million, 5-acre, indoor-outdoor Sibley Horticultural Center, which bears about as much resemblance to conventional greenhouses as Disney World does to a country fair. Plan to stay on at least through Sunday to journey to north Georgia to see Willis Harden's lakefront gardens and onto Transplant Nursery, home of those eastern native azaleas George and Mary Beasley have shipped to the great gardens of Europe as well as those in our own country. Along with 45 varieties of Robin Hill evergreen azaleas, 4,000 seedlings in their hybrid program, all eastern species azaleas, and 143 named Dexters - 100 numbered Dexters will be on display in the test gardens used for observation. Son Jeff and his new bride. Lisa, are now providing the additional energy necessary to bring about all that the four Beasley's plan for the future of their remarkable nursery.
In between Thursday and Sunday, there will be exciting, stimulating trips to outstanding in-town and suburban gardens located in Atlanta's extensive residential areas, rhododendron authorities sharing the latest information, a cable car ride to the top of Stone Mountain, and much traditional Southern cooking. There will be time to purchase the 5,000 azaleas, rhododendron, and wild flowers associated with this region, currently being grown for the plant sale. Time will be allotted to vote your favorites in the annual photography contest. Critically acclaimed Georgia artist and Azalea Chapter member, Freddie Styles, who drew the convention logo, is developing a series of his works "Azaleas/Rhododendron - Real and Imaginary" for exhibit and sale at the meeting. Of further interest, Dr. August Kehr will introduce another of his outstanding evergreen azaleas during the convention. Also, 91 year old Dr. Woolford Baker, for whom the Bakeri azalea is named, will be a special guest at the Saturday evening banquet. Convention-goers will have an opportunity to view the flower show on Friday at the hotel.
Scheduled for Friday afternoon is an expedition to Gene Cline's 25 acres under "cultivation" on Bird Mountain, Gardens de Pajarito Montana. Located 50 miles from downtown Atlanta, it is unique, being the personal garden of a collector in the tradition of the great plant collectors of history. The saying in Georgia is that if a plant can grow here, Mr. Cline will grow it. To expand his collections, he has cultivated friendships with plantsmen here and abroad, including Sir Harold Hillier, the world famous Briton, who is frequently Mr. Cline's houseguest. Rhododendron are one of Mr. Cline's great enthusiasms; he has approximately 150 varieties, including 25 species of evergreen azaleas and all of the deciduous azaleas indigenous to Georgia, the Southeast and Texas. Mr. Cline collects other groups of plants as tirelessly as he has rhododendron. He has amassed one of the important collections of dwarf conifers, a huge collection of magnolia species and varieties, hybrids or varieties of the American Kalmia, along with what surely must be the State of Georgia's finest collection of wild-flowers. No wonder a horticultural team from the National Arboretum recently described the Cline garden as "the best in the entire southeast!"
Delta Airlines has been designated the official airlines for this convention; it, in turn, is offering excellent discount fares to convention-goers to encourage more members to attend the 1984 convention in Atlanta.