JARS 42n3 - Western Regional Rhododendron Conference

Western Regional Rhododendron Conference
Bob and Marge Badger
Kent, Washington

The 1988 Western Regional Rhododendron Conference will be held at the Everett Pacific Hotel & Convention Center in Everett, Washington on October 7, 8 and 9, 1988. The Seattle Rhododendron Society, the Komo Kulshan Chapter and the Whidbey Island Chapter have combined their efforts and wish to welcome you to this convention facility in Everett. It is located just a few blocks west of Interstate Highway 5 (at Exit 193) and is surrounded by three newer motels offering ample space for all attendees.

When District #2 of the American Rhododendron Society was formed, Seattle was the only chapter in the district. The boundaries included King County between Puget Sound to the west and the Cascade Mountains to the east. However, expansion of District #2 in recent years has added the Whidbey Island Chapter which lies to the northwest of Seattle and the Komo Kulshan Chapter which is to the north. The territory encompassed is from District #1 (the British Columbia, Canada, Chapters) to District #3 (the eight other Washington State ARS Chapters) located to the south and west of Puget Sound.

The heaviest populated area of Washington situated between the waters of Puget Sound to the west and the Cascade Mountains' snows to the east, is a strip of land some 150 to 170 miles long north and south and approximately 20 to 30 miles wide and home to the members of District #2. District #2's climate is among the finest in the world in which to cultivate rhododendrons. We grow alpine rhododendrons from the highest mountains through the entire range of rhododendrons to the largest of the "Big-Leafed" kinds from the lower sub-tropical levels. Many species and hybrid plants in section Maddenia have been grown successfully. A few members are growing plants of sub-genus Azaleastrum (Stamineum and Ovatum)and even attempting to grow plants in section Vireya outdoors in their gardens with varied and surprising success.

Mr. Aidan Brady, Director, of the National Botanic Garden of the Irish Republic at Glasnevin in Dublin, Ireland, is the featured speaker for the meeting. He has had a long career in horticulture starting at the Botanic Garden, Glasnevin, as an undergraduate, he studied further at the University College, Dublin and worked with the State. He returned to Glasnevin as a Lecturer in 1960, becoming Assistant Director in 1965 and Director in 1968. His particular expertise in horticulture is in the field of Dendrology, encompassing all species of trees and shrubs, including rhododendrons.

As the featured speaker at the Conference, and drawing on his broad horticultural knowledge, Mr. Brady has agreed to present an interesting lecture entitled "Rhododendrons in Irish Gardens". Extraordinary examples of rhododendron species and hybrids that are resident in the many fine Irish gardens will be shown. He suggests that some of these gardens and plants may be unknown to most of us rhododendron growers here in North America.

A note about Glasnevin: The Gardens were founded by direction of the Irish Parliament in 1795 when the (Royal) Dublin Society acquired about 11 hectares (approximately 27 acres); subsequent acquisitions have brought the Gardens to its present area of 19 hectares (approximately 47 acres). The soil is a heavy alkaline boulder clay underlain by lime stones which requires special treatment with peat for members of the various ericaceous genera to be grown. It has many superb plant collections and claims its oldest plant to be nearly 400 years of age. The present plant population includes approximately 20,000 species and varieties.

ARS members who are creating and expanding their own personal gardens will find the remainder of the program for the Regional Conference of great interest too. A guided tour of the largest building in the world - the Boeing Airplane Company's 747 Assembly Plant at nearby Paine Field has been arranged as a part of the conference activities. This tour will be limited to the first 100 people who sign up.

The ARS National Board of Directors Meeting will be held at the conference hotel on Friday afternoon, October 7th.

As the early fall snows dust the surrounding Cascade and Olympic Mountains, we, the members of District #2, cordially invite all ARS members to join with us and share in this camaraderie of rhododendrons.

Bob and Marge Badge are the general chairmen of the 1988 Western Regional Rhododendron Conference.