Long Island '92: Highlights of the Convention
The New York Chapter invites everyone to share in an exploration of Long Island gardens, to hear an array of interesting talks, and to enjoy the company of fellow rhododendron enthusiasts. This spring's convention is to be held May 13 to 17, with headquarters at the brand-new Radisson Plaza Hotel in Melville, a very central and convenient location from which to tour. The western portion of Long Island is part of New York City (the boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn), yet the East End has wide fields, vineyards and lovely old villages. Pristine beaches stretch for miles, until Long Island ends with a tall white lighthouse high above the Atlantic surf, at Montauk Point.
After dinner on the first evening, Wednesday, May 13, Dick Murcott will give one of his spirited talks on the "Great Men of Long Island Rhododendrons." The following day is devoted to garden tours; the schedule includes a visit to the beautiful 400-acre Planting Fields Arboretum (see the two-part article in the Journal, Spring 1989 and Summer 1989), led by the director, Gordon Jones. Next, a choice of four special private gardens - the Hess garden (see article in this issue of the Journal), the wooded and richly planted Murcott garden, nurseryman Phil Waldman's home garden, and a unique new garden belonging to the Richard Cohens. The dinner speaker on Thursday will be Dr. Henry (Marc) Cathey, director of the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, who will show us the treasures of our superb national garden. We all know it holds our legacy of azaleas from Ben Morrison.
|Planting Fields Arboretum|
On Friday, there will be a selection of informative and beautiful slide talks, grouped under several titles. Among these is "Around the World," which features John Basford (recently retired from Brodick Castle Garden) showing us the gardens of the National Trust for Scotland, and Warren Berg reporting on his most recent journey to China. His talk on the Muli area of remote southwest Sichuan will be "Following in the Steps of Kingdon-Ward." Another set of talks, "Rhododendrons in the Garden," will include Phil Waldman bringing us up-to-date on "What's New on Long Island," and Nick Nickou surprising us with "Species in Connecticut." "Landscaping and Companion Plants," the final set, includes wild-flowers - always a favorite for the rhododendron gardener. Our wild-flower guide will be botanist Paul Martin Brown of the New England Wildflower Society. Alternatively, there will be a half-day tour to the two large and beautiful Phipps gardens - the 100-acre Old Westbury Gardens, developed by John S. Phipps (opened to the public in 1959), and the nearby estate of Howard Phipps, Sr. (now owned by his son). This is the home of the Phipps hybrids, including ever-popular 'Wheatley' and the fine yellow Phipps #32, a favorite of hybridizers in our area.
The garden tour for Saturday is an all day excursion "Out East" with Jim Cross's Environmental nursery as the destination. Not only does the nursery have very special plants (from rhododendrons to heathers and wildflowers), but Jim and Connie's beautiful home garden will also be open for us. En route, we will explore Werner and Patricia Brack's wooded hillside garden in St. James, home of 'Tiana' and 'Gordon Jones'.
Saturday night's banquet, always the high point of a convention, will be followed by John Basford's talk on "Flowers of the World in a Scottish Garden." John spent more than 30 years in charge of perhaps Scotland's greatest rhododendron collection on the Isle of Arran (see "A Day at Brodick" in the Fall 1987 Journal issue). On Sunday morning, a stimulating "Hybridizers Roundtable," led by Dick Murcott, rounds out the programming.
No, "dragee" spouses have not been forgotten! Two very special days have been planned just for them. An East End tour will meander through the lanes of fashionable Southampton, then on to quaint Water Mill, Wainscott and Bridgehampton. The pretty village of Easthampton, its wide main street shaded by handsome old trees, provides a mecca for boutique shopping. Lunch will be a real "shore dinner" in Montauk! The other special day will be a luncheon cruise around Manhattan, on a World Yacht excursion, with the New York skyline a glamorous backdrop for the buffet.
Of course there will be a big Flower Show (bring your best trusses), and a Super Plant Sale. Two new introductions are to be featured - a double Kaempferi azalea named in honor of Planting Fields, and a waxen semi-double white rhododendron from Nat Hess, 'Long Island'. Roslyn Nursery is growing thousands of special plants, so visitors can have treasures to take home.
We are sure the convention will be a most enjoyable one. Do plan to join us for May on Long Island!