Celebrate the Legacy - Plant the Future, 2004 ARS International Convention
A few days in May in District 8 will give you a keen sense of what this region is doing to preserve the best of its heritage and improve its future, with special insight into the genus Rhododendron. We're waiting to welcome you to our international convention, headquartered at King of Prussia, where we have a cornucopia of pleasures in store for you, including some of the world's finest gardens, some of its foremost lecturers, and a plant sale that should be second to none. Additionally, you will have a broad selection of activities to enjoy, some of which are scheduled in the convention program and others that are for your own choosing. You will find that our headquarters hotel is most conveniently located, and while we encourage you to become totally immersed in the theme of the convention, you may find time to enjoy a few extra-curricular activities. In addition to rhododendrons, our area provides countless outstanding attractions (historical sites, museums, gourmet restaurants - even shopping, for example). The Valley Forge Hilton is only about fourteen miles from downtown Philadelphia with such enticements as Independence National Historical Park, The Philadelphia Museum of Art and nationally acclaimed restaurants. On the other hand it is located within one mile of a world-famous shopping mall and two miles from Valley Forge National Park.
Our Hospitality Committee will furnish material that should be helpful in this regard, but if you would like information ahead of time on specific local points of interest, we recommend two websites: GoPhila.com and Philly.com; and if major regional gardens are your particular goal, there is: Worldslargestgardenparty.org. Because the greater Philadelphia region is heavily populated with universities, colleges and schools, many of which will be holding graduation during our convention week, we strongly urge you to make your reservations as early as possible.
While gardens and lectures may be the focal points of an ARS convention, for some members the plant sale represents the single most exciting attraction. And in this case they should be especially delighted with the great variety and quantity of plants available. We expect to have the largest variety of rhododendrons from East Coast hybridizers ever assembled for public sale. Over 5,000 rhododendron cuttings were collected over a four month period in 2002; these have been professionally rooted and grown by member-owned nurseries, through whose generosity the plants can be offered to you at reasonable prices. They represent hard-to-find varieties, many of which are unobtainable from other sources, including new hybrids which are being introduced and registered by District 8 members this spring.
In addition to lepidotes and elepidotes, there will be a very large selection of evergreen and deciduous azaleas, plus kalmias, perennials, native wildflowers, woody plants and others. Our goal is to make available to you unusual and desirable plants you can't find elsewhere, and since some varieties are in limited supply, we suggest that you mark your calendar for Wednesday, May 12, when the sale opens.
The Truss Show will embody our convention theme - Celebrate the Legacy, Plant the Future. In addition to the traditional classes of species and hybrids subdivided by type and color, there will be three trophies that look ahead: the ARS Seed Exchange Trophy, the Hybridizers Cup for cultivars hybridized by the exhibitor, and the Millennium Challenge, open to all competitors, for hybrids registered since January 1, 2000.
The competition takes place Thursday, May 13, with a 10:30 a.m. deadline for entries. Rules are available at the convention website and will be mailed to registrants who request them. The show is chaired by Michael Martin Mills of the Greater Philadelphia Chapter.
Prizes will be awarded in five categories this year:
• "Heaven in the Details" - Close-up of an individual flower or truss
• "Well Placed" - One or more rhodies in the landscape
• "Rhododendron Riot" - A medley of flowers
• "Green Seen" - Shots of foliage
• "Rhododendrons Plus" - People or objects with flower(s)
For information concerning size requirements, entry deadline, etc., mark the photography contest box on the registration form or check our convention website.
Raffle, Silent Auction, Special Programs & Miscellaneous
Objects of exceptionally fine craftsmanship will be included in the Raffle this year, as well as many other desirable and useful items; one of the most appealing is the generous donation of Piero Sambucci, ARS member in Italy, who will make available a 2-week rhododendron-oriented vacation with all the amenities at his house in Velletri. For details, read his advertisement in this issue or previous issues of the Journal.
A Silent Auction of especially rare and distinguished plants will be conducted in the same room that will also house the Convention Shop and Bookstore, which are brimming with bargains.
On Sunday morning a Hybridizers Roundtable is scheduled to expand your knowledge of rhododendrons and whet your interest in planting the future. A Hospitality Room will be open much of the time where you can go for information or simply to relax.
Mid-May should produce a dazzling rainbow of colors in the gardens that have been selected for tours. Nineteen private gardens plus five that are open to the public have been carefully selected. There is a wide diversity among the private gardens in size, topography, and plant content. That is one of the aspects of the tours that we believe you will enjoy. Three of the private gardens are described in the Fall 2003 issue of the Journal; and in case you missed that article, they are also included here with the others in alphabetical order. The tours have been assembled geographically to reduce overall travel time.
THE AHERN GARDEN, Bethlehem, PA
For those of us who have been fortunate enough to visit Tom and Barbara Ahern's home, we are constantly surprised with what Tom has accomplished high on a slope overlooking Bethlehem. When they purchased the 1.4-acre property in 1984, they had roses rather than rhododendrons in mind, but this changed for a number of reasons. Tom was invited to join the newly formed ARS Lehigh Valley Chapter, of which he subsequently became president, and soon afterward he became a serious hybridizer. His goals are not unlike those of many regional enthusiasts: combining the brilliant warm colors of the West Coast hybrids with the cold and heat tolerance of the hardier East Coast varieties. You will see some of the yellows, oranges, apricots and bi-colors he has developed, and a few of his recently registered hybrids will be available at the plant sale. The Ahern garden has several distinct areas, one of the most beautiful being the door yard garden. The grounds are well maintained, densely planted, and a joy to explore.
THE BROUSE NURSERY & GARDEN, Norristown, PA
Frank Brouse started this wholesale nursery and accompanying garden in 1958. The customer base is landscape contractors, and 80 percent of the production is in ericaceous plants. All of his field-grown plants are balled and burlapped for delivery, making Frank's nursery one of the few that still provide this quality of service. Frank uses a minimum of herbicide sprays and fertilizers in the fields, and no supplemental watering except in extreme drought conditions. He strives to grow a "tough" plant that will thrive in the landscape, emphasizing good foliage and plant habit as well as bloom. The south-facing slope of the nursery is a stern testing ground to see if a new variety is a "good doer". Three of the numerous rhododendrons which have thrived under the rigorous conditions without any special treatment are 'Ned's #1'*, 'Janet Blair', and 'Scintillation'. He finds that the trade still demands 'Roseum Elegans' and azalea 'Delaware Valley White', although he offers more unusual and sophisticated choices. Frank does his own propagation from seed, cuttings and grafts, and the nursery should exhibit a large number of rhodies in bloom at the time of the convention. A small garden of colorful and unique plants collected over the years is part of the landscape surrounding the house. In his endeavors, Frank is ably assisted by Margaret Fawcett. Together they have sixty years membership in the Valley Forge Chapter, ARS, and have been instrumental in the success of its annual plant sale.
THE BURKO-RYAN GARDENS, Point Pleasant, PA
Diane Burko and Richard Ryan bought their 2.5-acre garden and home from the estate of Wayne Fluke in 2002. The estate, previously 7.5 acres, was a geologically interesting area, but had become a dumpsite. When Mr. Fluke, described as an obsessed gardener (describes many of us, doesn't it?), bought it in 1964, he brought in 80-cubic-yard trailer loads of soil and began a garden project that remained in full swing while he owned the property. Richard, a landscape architect, and Diane, a landscape painter, are restoring and maintaining Mr. Fluke's garden in a manner which would thoroughly please him.
The garden receives filtered sunlight from 100-year-old hickory, beech, maple and hemlock trees. There is a talus slope above the Geddes Run Creek on the property and three distinct garden levels. The gardens include a bed of gold, yellow and orange-red Exbury azaleas, spring flowers, abundant mature specimen and native rhododendrons, and many other distinctive plants and trees. These include a limbed-up copse of blue spruce, creating an umbrella canopy, weeping juniper and dawn redwood, 50-plus-year old native dogwood, twisted miniature conifers and a Harry Lauder tree. The property also features shelf rock, a waterfall, and slopes upward of 40 feet. The two contiguous properties, part of the original estate, also remain nicely planted.
CHANTICLEER, Wayne, PA
As the private estate of the Adoph Rosengarten family, Chanticleer stood for decades as a showplace with formal gardens and sizeable wooded areas bordering the natural stream. While Mr. Rosengarten, Jr., oversaw the estate, he underwrote a summer program dubbed "Weed and Read" for a limited number of teenagers who were having scholastic difficulties with their English requirements. The young students were paid for gardening assignments, and they received as a bonus an hour or more of instruction on their required summer reading from the owner himself. Needless to say, the program was overbooked before summer. Since the death of Mr. Rosengarten, Jr., The Chanticleer Foundation, which he established, has maintained and developed the 31-acre pleasure garden for the benefit of the public and, in particular, plant enthusiasts.
THE CRESSON GARDEN – HEDGLEIGH SPRING, Swarthmore, PA
This two-acre garden, created and maintained by the Cresson Family, spans four generations and over 100 years. It still retains its original character from the early 20th century when most of the important features were created. Changes in topography and numerous retaining walls divide the garden into many habitats, intensively used to "naturalize" a wide range of unusual plants. Ancient towering oaks and black gums were underplanted with azaleas and dogwoods in 1948. Rhododendron hybrids and hardy camellias were added later. Beyond the house, the central flower garden of roses and perennials comprises over 100 feet of borders. Other areas include an amply flowing creek and waterfall, a small pond, rock garden, vegetable garden and lowland perennial meadow. Immediately behind the house, numerous exotic potted plants furnish the patio in summer.
The rhododendrons and azaleas are integrated into the landscape in combination with other plant collections and serve to demonstrate the diversity of the genus as much as possible. Most of the evergreen azaleas are varieties available prior to 1948. Most of the large flowered rhododendrons were planted in the early 1980s and are hybrids of Dexter, Gable and Wister with an emphasis on Rhododendron fortunei hybrids and late blooming cultivars. A selection of dwarf species and hybrids, mostly planted after 1970, are to be found along the path leading to the pond garden. The present owner, Charles Cresson, has written extensively on his experiences and the techniques of maintaining this extraordinary garden which is acclaimed by local and national garden tours.
THE DOPPEL GARDEN, Lenhartsville, PA
Over the past twelve years John and Holly Doppel have developed their 10-acre property into a garden with over 1,000 azaleas and rhododendrons in a wide assortment of varieties and sizes. They are arranged in meandering beds that are pleasing to view when entering the garden, which stretches behind their hilltop house. One noteworthy asset of this garden is the ease it provides of examining individual plants. Interspersed in the beds are many varieties and species of dogwood, magnolia, crabapple, flowering cherry, halesia, stewartia, sophora, Acer griseum, Carpinus carolinianum, ilex, and tree peony, to mention a few. Most recently, a formal oval garden has been designed in front of the house, featuring a small pool and admirable brickwork.
The Doppel property is located on high, open ground with gale force winds in winter and scorching sun in summer, making it a very difficult environment for rhododendrons, but also a good test area for them. John has been actively hybridizing and selecting plants which not only withstand these conditions but also show good plant habit, good leaves, and colorful, distinctive flowers.
THE GEARS GARDEN, West Chester, PA
Jim and Kay Gears have developed a garden on 1.3 wooded acres of south central Chester County surrounding their house built in 1976. The garden began in 1985. Most of the plants were either purchased at the Valley Forge Chapter's annual plant sale, were grown by Jim from cuttings acquired from ARS members, or were started from seed. The garden is a work in progress, but chock a block full of Gable, Dexter, Haag, Rhein, Nearing, Pride, Shamarello and Shapiro hybrids. Among the evergreen azaleas represented are Robin Hill, Huang, King, Yavorsky, Satsuki, Schroeder, Harris, North Tisbury, Linwood, Gable and Pride. The plants range in size from dwarf to over 6 feet, and there are over 250 hybrids and species of rhododendron, 300 varieties of evergreen azaleas, many native azaleas (species and seedlings grown from seed collected in the wild), and eastern wildflowers.
While still employed full time, Jim began a small nursery business, and upon retirement in 2000, began working full time in his own business, Octoraro Farm Nursery. He leases ground in southwestern Chester County, and specializes in raising native azaleas, evergreen azaleas, rhododendrons, and Daphne 'Carol Mackie', as well as eastern native plants.
THE HOWE GARDEN, Downingtown, PA
The Howe garden sits on what was an abandoned cornfield, rife with brambles and "volunteer" bushes and trees. It was not an easy job to transform this ground into a rhododendron-friendly site, but Win and Anne have accomplished this over the past fifteen years, and although it is a comparatively young garden, it seems to have been established for many years. Tulip poplars and oaks, a nice mixture of ornamental flowering trees and shrubs, and a number of interesting conifers shelter the 1.5-acre garden. Intermingled with the hundreds of rhododendrons and azaleas, there are clusters of colorful spring bulbs, perennials and native wildflowers.
The rhododendrons are mostly elepidotes, Dexter hybrids being the predominant group, with a sizable selection of Rhododendron degronianum ssp. yakushimanum forms and crosses, and a representation of lepidotes. The azaleas are an even mix of evergreen and deciduous with the latter being mostly eastern species and hybrids.
THE HUBER GARDEN, Salford, PA
The garden of Robert and Helene Huber is one of three selected for description in the previous issue of the Journal. Although Bob is the fourth generation to maintain this land, the garden itself did not begin until he and Helene became owners in 1953. As you might expect, the Huber garden contains some very large rhododendrons which have resulted from cuttings and seeds and early acquisitions from Caroline Gable, daughter of Joseph Gable.
Besides a long list of Gable hybrids, the Huber garden contains many uncommon varieties by other well-known regional and local hybridizers, such as Charlie Herbert and Guy Nearing, and there are some of Bob's own cultivars ('Gary Huber' and 'Aaron Heckler', for example) in the garden. In addition there is an impressive collection of ssp. yakushimanum hybrids, some of which are 30 years old and one-of-a-kind, as well as an outstanding display of azaleas.
THE JACKSON GARDEN, Radnor, PA
This is an impressive, one-acre hillside garden with original, large, native oak and dogwood trees providing an ideal canopy of dappled shade for rhododendron culture. Eva and Noel Jackson's 25-year-old garden features Dexter hybrids among its many elepidotes; 'Mrs W.R. Coe' and three plants of 'Richard Bosley' should be flowering at convention time. In addition there are numerous lepidotes and azaleas, the latter mainly composed of nursery-propagated natives and a large number of evergreens. Even more color is anticipated in May from an assortment of shrubs and perennials, including Hyacinthoides 'Excelsior', and from wildflowers indigenous to the property - trillium, Jack-in-the-pulpit, Solomon's seal and Mayapple.
The owners' expertise and knowledge in the field of rhododendrons and companion plants have come largely from their involvement in local ARS activities and related arboretum volunteer work.
JENKINS ARBORETUM, Devon, PA
There is a complete article on the Jenkins Arboretum in this issue of the Journal.
THE KEIM GARDEN, Rydal, PA
Twenty-four years ago, Brian and Cathy Keim began collecting and planting rhododendrons and azaleas on the 1.75 acres surrounding their 1920s colonial revival stone house in the northern suburbs of Philadelphia. The sloping terrain and tall trees provided excellent conditions for growing rhododendrons and companion plants. As the collection grew, the garden expanded, gradually overtaking more of the lawn. The collection includes several hundred different lepidotes, native azaleas, ssp. yakushimanum hybrids and traditional eastern elepidotes. There are a few evergreen azaleas, most of which are old standards that came with the property. Various dwarf conifers provide texture throughout the beds. The Keims have an extended blooming season from early spring with R. mucronulatum to late summer with R. prunifolium and some of its hybrids. At the time of the convention, Gable and Swarthmore/ Dexter hybrids should be in bloom as well as native species and hybrid deciduous azaleas. Brian is currently experimenting with "blue" lepidotes, primarily R. augustinii hybrids, to determine which will do well in the Delaware Valley.
The garden of Brian and Cathy Keim in a northern suburb of Philadelphia,
showing the front garden with primarily Dexter hybrids.
Photo by Brian Keim
THE KLINE GARDEN, Bernville, PA
Howard Kline has developed an informal hobbyist's garden which surrounds an early stone farmhouse, strategically placed near a swift-flowing creek. The topography is beautiful, and a wooded slope behind the house provides an ideal site for the hundreds of rhododendrons growing along hillside paths. The collection was begun in the 1970s and has steadily been increasing with new hybrid cultivars, including some of Howard's own crosses. The initial plants were primarily Dexter and Gable hybrids, obtained as rooted cuttings and small plants at chapter meetings and plant sales. Now the garden is very mature and has many old and new varieties, including East Coast, West Coast and European hybrids.
A sunnier area on a lower level is home to a superb collection of deciduous azaleas which bloom in a profusion of yellows, oranges, pinks and combinations thereof. Many of these were hybridized by Howard himself, and they should not be missed. Besides all this, there are many perennials and plant species, varied mature hardwoods and softwoods, and especially interesting specimens of smaller trees such as Japanese maple, magnolia, dogwood, holly and stewartia.
The garden of Howard Kline in Bernville, Pennsylvania,
showing a grouping of deciduous azaleas.
Photo by Howard Kline
LONGWOOD GARDENS, Longwood, PA
As one of the world's great gardens, Longwood should be part of any cultural visit to the Mid-Atlantic region. Beginning as a grand scale, country estate garden of Pierre S. duPont in the 1920s, with Mr. duPont's comparatively modest house screened from the elaborate conservatories, formal gardens and fountains, it has grown since his death into a tremendous attraction for anyone interested in horticulture. More than fifty gardeners, plus several hundred employees, students and volunteers oversee some 11,000 plant varieties grown on Longwood's 1,050 acres.
THE MOYER GARDEN, FIRELANE FARM, Bethlehem, PA
Firelane Farm is a rhododendron and azalea garden in the making. It is located on a hillside with southern exposure in the Appalachian Mountains of eastern Pennsylvania. Topographical variances in the landscape provide several microclimates, and there are mature shade trees, including American elm and specimen white and black walnut.
Five years ago a deer fence enclosing 15 acres was installed, and shortly thereafter the owner joined the ARS Lehigh Valley Chapter. Armed with deer protection, new knowledge and enthusiasm, along with the generosity of chapter members' gifts of plants, seeds, cuttings and manpower, a new garden took root. Now there are areas devoted to active propagating and hybridizing; a cold house for winter storage and protection; woodland test beds; gardens in various stages of development; and a rhododendron and azalea walk leading to the pool.
MOUNT CUBA CENTER, Wilmington, DE
Until recently Mount Cuba had been the private home of Pamela C. and Lammot duPont Copeland. The extensive terrain features a series of magical woodland, wildflower, pond and meadow gardens that harbor a diverse assemblage of plants representative of native deciduous forests, especially the Piedmont. The complex combinations and patterns in the gardens drew heavily on the Copelands' vision to create a garden where visitors could come to appreciate the diversity, beauty and landscape potential of native Piedmont plants.
Although rhododendrons are not prominently featured at Mt. Cuba, it is worth noting that a popular yellow elepidote hybrid bears Mrs. Copeland's name.
RAREFIND NURSERY & GARDEN, Jackson, NJ
RareFind Nursery is the 11-acre nursery and garden of Hank Schannen located at the northwestern tip of the New Jersey Pine Barrens, which is anything but barren. He has a 4-acre display garden interwoven with roads and pathways, all in a natural wooded setting. Spread throughout the garden are picnic tables which allow for a relaxing snack. Plants native to the property include: Pinus rigida, five Quercus species, Gaultheria procumbens, Epigea repens, Clethra alnifolia, five species of blueberries and box huckleberries. In other words, it is an ericaceous paradise in Zone 6b. The display garden is home to one of the largest and most diverse collections of rhododendrons in the east, containing 2,000 different varieties of rhododendrons, native deciduous azaleas, magnolias, hollies and other rare and unusual shrubby plants. In addition, as a result of an extensive hybridizing program, there are approximately 20,000 rhododendron seedlings, many of which are beginning to bloom and should be at their peak at convention time. The nursery's name says it all - it specializes in finding, propagating and growing rare and unusual plants.
The RareFind Nursery garden in Jackson, New Jersey.
Photo by Hank Schannen
THE RAUGHLEY GARDEN, Wilmington, DE
This mature garden, assembled and planted by dedicated gardeners, Pauline and Francis Raughley, covers two acres of landscaped property. Along with a large representation of rhododendrons and azaleas, there are special garden areas of daylilies, irises and a holly collection. Within the extensive plantings of rhododendrons, there are lepidotes as well as elepidotes, evergreen and deciduous azaleas and a number of native azaleas. One Knaphill plant from the ARS Seed Exchange has been registered and named by the Raughleys as 'Pauline Emelia'. There are some newer beds of rooted cuttings of all types of plants.
Placed through the garden to advantage are magnolias, stewartias and an assortment of flowering shrubs. A 50-year-old Chinese elm, Ulmus parvifolia, with exfoliating bark, is featured in the approach to the house. Also of interest is a Davidia involucrata tree started from seed by the Raughleys over twelve years ago.
THE SCHUMACHER GARDEN, Gulph Mills, PA
Ralph and Elizabeth (Liz) Schumacher started their garden over thirty years ago. They began as collectors of rhododendrons and azaleas, but eventually became interested in their integration with companion plants into good garden design. However, rhododendrons still constitute a large part of the overall garden, and there are some unusual hybrids and species. On the rising slope behind the house, the Schumachers have gradually developed a terraced hillside garden with seven separate levels of beds featuring shade tolerant plants. Along the paths are areas with many varieties of rhododendrons and azaleas, viburnums, dwarf evergreens, groundcovers and annual beds. At the very top there is a shrub and perennial border. The garden also contains a small waterfall leading to a fish pool, a Japanese-inspired gazebo, ornamental sculpture from their travels, and secluded areas in which to sit and contemplate. The Schumachers are especially partial to trees with distinctive bark and winter interest and have collected many beautiful specimens.
THE TIFFANY GARDEN – MILL FLEURS, Point Pleasant, PA
The garden, which really is a tapestry of gardens, at Mill Fleurs was first undertaken by Robert and Barbara Tiffany in 1993 when they brought in two backhoes and five people to spend three weeks clearing 40-foot stands of bamboo. The rock outcroppings and precipitous slopes that surround the Tiffanys' 1742 gristmill/sawmill home on the edge of Tohickon Creek have been planted with about 300 rhododendrons and azaleas, shade-accepting trees with interesting bark, and the most unusual plants they could find that will grow in Zone 6. Although the gardens are only ten years old, they give the impression that they have been there for generations. The Tiffanys are pushing the zonal envelope with camellias and mahonias. The garden "rooms" are defined by foliage color, where leaf texture and plant architecture are emphasized. Of special significance are the rock-laden and shale slopes of Tohickon Creek and the historic, stone mill which the owners have renovated as their home.
TYLER ARORETUM, Media, PA
Tyler Arboretum, listed in the National Registry of Historic Places, is one of the oldest and largest arboretums in the eastern United States; it is comprised of over 650 acres of lush, naturalized plantings and twenty miles of trails through native woodlands. The arboretum has renowned plant collections, several state champion trees, a butterfly-filled "meadow maze" and historic buildings which once belonged to the Quaker family that originally farmed the property.
Dr. John C. Wister served as the arboretum's first director from 1946 until 1968. By far the greatest lasting impact on Tyler's landscape from the Wister years is the establishment of several horticultural collections, the most spectacular of which is the 11.5-acre rhododendron garden with 1,600 plants. Dr. Wister's hybrids are noted for their vibrantly colored blossoms and late blooming time. Some of his best varieties, including 'Always Admired'* and the late blooming 'Alumni Day'*, are being “reintroduced” in specialty catalogs. Additional eye-stoppers at Tyler are mature Dexter and Shamarello crosses; these are complemented by Glenn Dale azaleas, native species and deciduous hybrids. You should find this an outstanding arboretum in all respects.
The Tyler Arboretum in Media, Pennsylvania.
Photo by Mimi Favre
THE WINTER GARDEN – COMPANY FARM, Pottstown, PA
Company Farm derives its name from the great barn and property which housed the hundreds of mules that towed the barges up and down the riverside canal for the Schuylkill Navigation Company. Needless to say, the animals left their "legacy" of soil where Fred and Barbara Winter's rhododendrons now flourish by the hundreds. This very large property, owned prior to 1754 by descendants of William Penn, encompasses an historic bank barn, a long pond, rhododendron lined pathways, formal gardens, informal gardens, lath houses for Fred's young hybrids, plus examples of architecture and sculpture emanating from Fred and Barbara's numerous visits to Thailand. There are also small bronze statues of their three children who as youngsters played and worked on the grounds.
This premier garden, often featured on garden tours throughout the Philadelphia and Delaware Valley areas, has deservedly been included in the Smithsonian's Archives of American Gardens.
WINTERTHUR, Wilmington, DE
While Winterthur's unparalleled collections of American furniture and decorative arts are widely known, its superb, naturalistic, 60-acre woodland garden represents an equally important part of Henry Francis duPont's Americana legacy. His friendship with leading plantsmen of the era (Joe Gable and Charles Dexter to name just two) influenced his collection, which consists today of hundreds of varieties of azaleas and rhododendrons that blend with spreads of wildflowers and bulb plants in complex but seemingly simple arrangements. To walk along the shaded pathways of the woodland garden in springtime and feast your eyes on the essence of Winterthur is an experience not to be forgotten.
THE ZURICH GARDEN, Toms River, NJ
The most unforgettable feature of this garden is the winding, moss-covered paths that are bordered with exquisite elepidotes. Those that have visited Bill Zurich's land say that its beauty and serenity give the impression of being in another world. Work is constantly in progress on the four acres that comprise the Zurich property as Bill "plants the future," while the past is well represented through mature collections of hybrids by Dexter, Gable and others. This outstanding garden is more fully described in the Fall 2003 issue of the ARS Journal.
Speakers and Seminars
We are most fortunate to have as our dinner speakers four extremely knowledgeable and dynamic gentlemen, two of whom will be travelling some 3,000 miles in opposite directions to educate and entertain us. Jim Barlup, who hails from the Pacific Northwest, is one of our country's leading hybridizers and has a substantial number of recent introductions to his credit. One of his goals has been to combine the beautiful flowers of western plants with the greater hardiness of selected eastern forms. Jim is a frequent contributor to the ARS Journal and the ARS Seed Exchange. His presentation will be on "Plant the Future" hybrids. Kenneth Cox is known to a great many members internationally as an intrepid explorer in the quest for superior species in the wild (ten trips to China, Tibet and India in the past ten years), and as the author and coauthor of several outstanding books on rhododendrons. Kenneth, who is following his father as Managing Director of the long-established family enterprise, Glendoick Gardens, in Scotland, will be our banquet speaker on Saturday evening. Dick Murcott, our welcoming speaker at the first dinner, has been growing, propagating and hybridizing rhododendrons on Long Island since 1964. When the ARS convention was hosted by the New York Chapter in 1992, he gave a superb talk on the history of East Coast hybridizers, and his garden was one of the show-stoppers on tour. Hank Schannen, ARS Gold Medalist and chairman of the ARS Research Foundation, has become a leading grower of rhododendrons, with special consideration to unusual varieties, through his RareFind Nursery, which is on tour. Hank is an outstanding authority on the parentage of today's hybrids, so his talk on how to "Celebrate the Legacy" is well founded. He himself is an accomplished hybridizer, a spellbinding auctioneer who volunteers to help with various chapters' sales, and a speaker whose enthusiasm is contagious.
A list of the seminar speakers and the topics of their presentations is included in the Convention Insert. It should be noted that the seminars are scheduled on Friday when there are half-day tours. Each of the morning seminars will be repeated in the afternoon, allowing members to enjoy a day's combination of tour and seminar.
* Name is not registered.
Howard Roberts, a member of the 2004 Convention Committee, is a past president of the Greater Philadelphia Chapter.