The 62nd Annual ARS Convention
Dr. Paul Anderson, District 5 Director
The Seven ARS Chapters in District 5 were pleased to host the 62nd Annual ARS Convention in South San Francisco, Calif. April 12-15, 2007. With computer access, the convention planning became a team effort of the five chapters in Northern California with the expert leadership of Tim and June Walsh of the Eureka Chapter as co-leaders.
The convention featured three days of garden tours that had five different optional tours available. We were delighted to have beautiful weather for the most part and also a peak bloom period for most gardens. There were tours to gardens in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, a Peninsula tour to Filoli and three private gardens, an East Bay Tour to two private gardens, the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden and the Lakeside Vireya Garden that Bill Moyles has developed, a Santa Cruz tour to a private garden, the Bay Laurel Nursery, and the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum, a North Bay Tour to two private gardens and the Sonoma Horticultural Nursery, and a winery garden.
The convention featured speakers at the evening dinners as the time and distance for garden tours utilized the daylight hours. The speakers included Dr. George Argent of the Royal Botanical Garden, Edinburgh, Dr. Robert Raabe, plant pathologist of UC Berkeley, Michael Mc Kechnie, executive director of the SF Botanical Garden, and Doug Thomson, curator of the Dunedin Botanic Garden in New Zealand. There was an interesting post conference tour organized by Dee Daneri of the Eureka Chapter, that featured the Quarreyhill Botanical Garden in Sonoma, and a tour to gardens in Fort Bragg.
The convention banquet dinner included the presentation of the ARS Gold and Silver awards for recognition of achievements in promoting ARS goals. There were two Gold awards, one to Steve of the Rhododendron Species Foundation Botanical Garden and the other was to Peter Schick of the Noyo chapter. Of the three Silver awards given, one was awarded to Mitch Mitchell of the Hawaii chapter for his generous sharing of rhododendron information. The other two Silver Medals were awarded to Wing Fong and George McLellan. Of interest is that both Peter Schick and Mitch Mitchell are both over 90 years old and still able to enjoy and share rhododendron knowledge with others.
District 5 is indebted to more than fifty volunteers who participated in the planning and staffing of the convention. Some of these include, Bob Weissman, registrar, Mike Ekberg, treasurer, Dee Daneri, program speakers, catering for the bus tours, and post convention tour organizer and Beach Blanket Babylon Theater and dinner, Diane Weissman, tour buses, Tom Wynn and Primo Facchini, truss and flower show, Don Selcer, photographic exhibit, Dick Jones, plant sales and volunteers, and the tour bus captains, Nan Ray, Don Selcer, Marvin Larsen, Larry Brooks, Erika Enos, Tim and June Walsh, Barbara Campbell, Tom Kelly, Jerry Harris, and Ralph Love.
District 5 enjoyed welcoming our garden friends to the convention and having an enjoyable and successful meeting. The convention was also a financial success due to good attendance, plant sales, silent auction, and keeping costs low. The profit will be divided among the four chapters who were mainly involved in planning as well as a portion to be given to the ARS.
Thanks to all those who worked so hard in making the convention possible, and to all those who attended and helped to make an enjoyable and memorable event.