JARS v41n3 - 7th Annual Western Regional Conference, 1987

7th Annual Western Regional Conference, 1987
E. White Smith
Tacoma, Washington

The eight chapters of ARS District #3 invite all rhododendron and azalea fanciers to the Seventh Annual Western Regional Conference to be held at Ocean Shores, Washington. The dates will be October 9th, 1Oth and 11th.

We in the West seem to be drawn to the Pacific Ocean. This is the 5th time that our conference will be held in sight of the water. Early October is a good time to be at the ocean, the sun is still warm, the weather still nice, most of the people are gone and we will be talking rhododendrons.

We have two beach front hotels booked (the Canterbury Inn and the Polynesian). They are both within easy walking distance of the Convention Center. The Center is publicized as "The Newest and Largest Meeting Facility on the Washington Coast". I have found it to be a superb building that will allow us to put on a fine meeting for our rhododendron friends from around the world. There is much more to the Ocean Shores area than two streets fronting onto the ocean. There are lakes and canals to the east that you can drive around and look at.

It will be hard to get to Ocean Shores by air plane, but people flying to this meeting could go to the Portland or Seattle-Tacoma airports and drive the rest of the way in a car. We plan to have a list of "neat" places (plant places) for you to visit on the way that will be sent to people who register for this Conference.

We have a program planned that will suit everyone with special presentations about Northwest hybrids, plant collecting in New Guinea, rhododendron problems, moving and pruning rhododendrons, the benefits of alfalfa, propagation and nursery practices, variation in the species, and the special gardens of the British Isles.

One of the highlights of this meeting will be the opening session on Friday night. We will have Dr. David Chamberlain from The Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, as the featured speaker. Dr. Chamberlain will have just returned from China. What was he doing in China? He left for China on May 10th so he will be the one to answer that question. Will he have found new rhododendron species, or looked at some of the swarms of plants that sometimes produce natural hybrids, or botanized in a never before collected area? We shall see what he has to say and shall be very honored to have him at our meeting.

Clint Smith will speak on the important new Northwest hybrids and will show slides and discuss the plants that we might be growing in the near future. Steve McCullough, who works for Briggs Nursery, will tell us about some of the new things being propagated in the tissue culture laboratory at Briggs'.

Fran Rutherford was on the South Pacific island of New Guinea in August, 1986, looking for and at the rhododendrons that grow there. Fran has an exciting story to tell about this wild and mostly unexplored location. Sharon Collman, who is one of the co-authors of the Washington State University publication, How to Identify Rhododendron and Azalea Problems , will be one of the speakers that you should not miss. This booklet is an exemplary example of what can be done to help people with plant problems, that will surely be copied in the future for our gain.

Bob Badger is going to tell us in layman's terms what is to be gained with the use of alfalfa. Bob will even delve into a bit of chemistry and try to help us understand what happens when alfalfa is used. We welcome your success story and hope that you will bring it to the meeting in writing so that we can do an article about alfalfa for the ARS Journal .

The identification of species rhododendron can place a demand on all of us, so we have asked Richard Piacentini to discuss with us the challenging and difficult subject, "Clonal Variation Within a Species". Richard is the Director of the Rhododendron Species Foundation Garden and he needs to deal with this subject all of the time. Many rhododendron lovers feel that we have been blessed by having the Species Foundation located in our area. Richard Piacentini is putting all of his effort into developing a major "World Class" garden that we all can be proud of in years to come.

All rhododendron people know that there are some very special gardens in England but we never seem to get over there to see them. So, we have invited Ken Gambrill to talk about and show pictures of these special places. Ken has extra knowledge about these gardens that you will not want to miss.

We are honored to have John Palmer as our closing speaker. John is the Director of the Campus Arboretum at Haywood Technical College near Clyde, North Carolina. This school is near the eastern entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Many of the garden supporters are active in the Southeastern Chapter.

A new feature of this regional conference will be the "Get Together" meetings. We urge all Western chapter presidents, vice-presidents, district and national officers to attend the meeting that will be held on Friday afternoon. We believe that by sitting down together we can help make our chapters stronger and better for all of us. We will talk about programs, speakers, new members, plant sales, meeting places and many more things that make the ARS such a strong and vigorous plant society.

The second meeting will be for the chapter secretaries and treasurers. They will meet for a "Coffee and Tea, Get Together" with Paula Cash, our national Executive Secretary. We think that much can be gained by this type of a meeting in the early fall. Paula will discuss the method of sending in chapter dues and how to report who the new chapter officers are. Everyone should gain from talking directly with each other and this should help make running the ARS easier for all of us.

Much of the enjoyment of working with rhododendrons is meeting the people involved and getting to know them. Life long friendships have often been established that need to be rekindled. Here is a good chance to talk rhododendrons with new and old friends before the long cold winter sets upon us, so come to Ocean Shores on October 9th, 1Oth and 11th. Get some sand in your shoes and some knowledge in your ears. Our Eastern friends are more than welcome. We shall look forward to seeing many of you at Ocean Shores!