Greetings to All Delegates
St. Catharines, Ontario
The organizing committee for the 1998 Annual Convention of the American Rhododendron Society cordially invites all rhododendron enthusiasts to meet in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, from May 27-31, 1998, to celebrate growing rhododendrons "On the Edge."
The Niagara Region is well known for its tender fruit and especially as Canada's premier wine growing region. While Niagara is less well known for rhododendrons, rhododendron breeders, growers, vendors and active amateurs have made substantial contributions to developing Rhododendron as a genus appreciated by a large segment of our gardening community. Our enthusiastic local growers and hybridizers wish to share their experiences with you.
The convention theme is "On the Edge." This refers to the geological, ecological and climatological features of the area. The Niagara Escarpment is at one end of what is known in North America as the Carolinianum Forest. The growing conditions, expressed terms of soil and temperature, provide an ongoing challenge to create conditions that support representatives of the genus and to develop hybrids that do well under our extremes of temperature and weather.
The program will provide delegates with opportunities to view locally developed hybrids that are established in a variety of relatively small private gardens, a hallmark of gardening in Eastern Canada. These same hybrids have been propagated by committee members and will be available to delegates in easily transportable sizes. Tours of local public gardens, significant growers, the Niagara School of Horticulture, including their new Butterfly House, and the internationally renowned Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton, Ontario, will be available.
Wine connoisseurs will have an opportunity to sample the full range of Niagara's vintages and to visit both cottage and larger wine producers. Tours are being arranged to allow you to experience the novelty of the Welland Canal, the commercial artery that enables ocean-going ships to by-pass Niagara Falls and to carry goods to the center of North America. Other tours will enable you to walk under the Falls and to experience the Niagara River at the base of the Falls.
The unique geological features of the Niagara Escarpment, including its extraordinary natural plant life, will be the subject of guided tours conducted by Niagara Peninsula experts resident at Brock University and Guelph University. Those interested in the colourful historical relationship between Canada and the United State will explore it first hand by visiting Fort George and Queenston Heights, key venues in the War of 1812, and will learn many interesting vignettes through discussion with local historians. Niagara's climate, influenced by the Great Lakes, in the center of a continental land mass, will be discussed by a noted climatologist.
Dr. August Kehr is assembling a formidable group of growers and scientists for the annual Breeders' Roundtable to discuss new advances in hybridizing. He promises to provide topics that are at "the edge of knowledge" in hybridizing rhododendrons.
Dr. Peter Tigerstedt, who has devoted years of research into hardy azaleas at the Department of Plant Biology, University of Helsinki, will be the key dinner speaker.
We look forward to meeting you at Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, on May 27, 1998.