JARS 43n3 - Rhododendrons In And Out Of The Garden

Rhododendrons In And Out Of The Garden
1989 Western Regional Conference
September 29, 30, and October 1
Portland Marriott Hotel

Michael Robert, Eugene, Oregon

Oregon's District Four, American Rhododendron Society, cordially invites you to attend the Ninth Annual Western Regional Conference in Portland, Oregon. More than the "City of Roses" - Portland is a city of dramatic natural landscapes and parks, complemented by historic architecture and reflected in a brilliant modern skyline. Eminent, mature gardens and innovative, young gardens confirm Portlanders' keen and lasting interest in horticulture and Portland's importance in defining an American landscape style.
This year's Western Regional Conference will develop the theme, "Rhododendrons In And Out Of The Garden," combining presentations, tours and exhibits of public, residential and commercial landscapes which feature rhododendrons. Outstanding speakers will present the gardens of Scotland, color and interest in the winter garden, the development of residential and public landscapes and garden design with rhododendrons. Clinics will explore a host of topics from garden construction to restoration and garden management to computer applications. Plant sales, book sales and a photography contest will round out the conference agenda. The conference will be held at the Portland Marriott Hotel - a gracious convention facility, located in the heart of downtown Portland, adjacent to the Yamhill national historic district, and overlooking the Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park - offering boutiques, marina, restaurants and pleasant waterfront strolls. Special room rates at the Portland Marriott and reserved parking will be available to all convention delegates.

Mervyn Kessell will open the Conference program Friday evening with a slide presentation and talk on Rhododendron Gardens of Scotland - their history, evolution, and distribution. Mr. Kessell, professional horticulturist in Scotland for twenty-five years, is currently the Principal Officer of outdoor recreation in the district of Argyll, where his responsibilities include the direction of parks and public gardens. He has recently completed a survey of rhododendron gardens in Scotland and in his address will lead us on a tour of these gardens.
Dr. J.C. Raulston will address the conference delegates Saturday evening with a presentation on Color and Interest in the Winter Garden. Dr. Raulston, professor of Horticultural Science at North Carolina State University, is also Director of the NCSU Arboretum. Under his direction more than 5000 species and cultivars of plants from all over the world, including Asia, Europe, New Zealand, and North America have been collected, grown, and tested for suitability in American gardens. Raulston is a plant evangelist; his gospel is "Plan and plant for a better America."
Harold Greer, recently awarded the ARS Gold Medal for outstanding achievements in rhododendron culture and service to the Society, will make a colorful presentation on Rhododendrons for the Garden. Owner of Greer Gardens, renown hybridizer, author and photographer, Mr. Greer will describe the versatility of the genus Rhododendron for a variety of garden and landscape applications.
Saturday morning's program will further develop the conference theme by exploring the use of rhododendrons in a range of environments. Linda Royer, A.S.L.A., head of the Landscape Architecture Department of OTAK, Inc. will present her work with Rhododendrons in Commercial Settings. Ms. Royer's design projects include Portland's Waterfront Park, the Portland Mormon Temple and the Nike World Headquarters.
E. White Smith, Superintendent of the Tacoma Metropolitan Park District and holder of the ARS Bronze medal, will discuss Rhododendrons in Public Settings. Mr. Smith will present selection criteria, advantages, disadvantages and appropriate sitting for rhododendrons in public landscapes.
Kendall Gambrill will discuss Rhododendrons in the Small Garden. Following his years of experience in horticulture and landscaping, and curatorship of the Rhododendron Species Foundation Garden, Mr. Gambrill is currently a consultant and garden designer in Sumner, Washington. The emphasis of his talk will be on the selection and requirements for rhododendrons in small gardens and intimate settings.
Herbert Spady, M.D., past president of the Rhododendron Species Foundation, frequent contributor to the American Rhododendron Society Journal and collector of rhododendrons will present a talk on The Collector's Garden. Dr. Spady and his wife maintain a collection encompassing about 1000 clones of the genus Rhododendron and a nursery of several acres.
Jason Ashford will make the final presentation during Saturday morning's program with a discussion of the management of the Cecil and Molly Smith Garden since its acquisition by the Portland Chapter, ARS. Mr. Ashford is a proprietor of Westside Ornamentals in Salem, Oregon and a member of the Willamette Chapter.
Sunday morning the conference will provide a choice of six clinics in four sessions focusing on practical applications and problem solving. Richard Piacentini, Director of the Rhododendron Species Foundation, has first hand knowledge of computer application computers to gardens. He will explore the ways to use computer data bases, word processing and mapping for the home garden.
Dr. Dave Adams, Oregon State University Extension Service, will present a clinic session on basic plant needs and their relation to soils and soil amendments. Dr. Adams is a consultant to all types of ornamental crop growers and an instructor in the Master Gardener Program.
Philip Thornburg will lead a discussion on garden structural problems including path construction and drainage and managing wet locations. Mr. Thornburg of the Winterbloom Company provides landscape consultation and design, and teaches landscape classes at Portland Community College and for the West Linn School District.
Richard Regan is a Marion County Extension horticulturist for Oregon State University. He will conduct a clinic on irrigation. Mr. Regan has a M.S. degree in plant-water relations and during the past five years has led educational programs relating to commercial nurseries and greenhouses.
Ted Van Veen, owner of Van Veen's Nursery in Portland, is an active member of the Portland Chapter of the ARS and serves as Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden Chairman, where he is leading the garden's restoration efforts. Mr. Van Veen will direct a clinic on pruning, evaluating, and removing plants.
Dr. Duane Coyier will lead a clinic session on rhododendron pest problems with some up-to-date information about rhododendron mildew. Dr. Coyier has studied rhododendron pests and diseases at the U.S.D.A. Horticultural Crops Research Laboratory in Corvallis and is a co-editor of the Compendium of Rhododendron and Azalea Diseases .

Tours of Portland's gardens will enhance this year's Western Regional Conference. Public parks, estate gardens and landscaped public and commercial areas present exemplary models of Portland's garden style and skill. Bus tours will be available both Friday and Saturday afternoons by reservation on the conference registration form.

Portland's Japanese Garden
Japanese Garden
Photo by Bill Robinson

Crowning Washington Park in Portland's scenic west hills is a haven of tranquil beauty which has been acclaimed one of the most authentic Japanese Gardens outside of Japan. The gardens were designed by Professor P. Takuma Tono, internationally renowned authority on Japanese landscaping. Five traditional gardens and an authentic Japanese Pavilion combine to recapture the mood of ancient Japan. Visitors meander over five and one-half acres in their discoveries of the Flat Garden ( Hiraniwa ), Tea Garden ( Rojiniwa ), Natural Garden ( Shukeiyen ), and the Sand and Stone Garden ( Seki-Tei ).The pavilion looks to the Flat Garden on its west, and onto a beautiful vista of Portland and Mt. Hood to the east.

The Berry Botanic Garden, located in a quiet residential neighborhood in southwest Portland, provides a variety of habitats for a wide range of plants. In 1938, Mrs. Rae Selling Berry moved her already extensive plant collection to this wooded property. A renowned plantswoman, she collected and grew plants from all over the world. As a subscriber to plant hunting expeditions to western China, Tibet and the Himalayas, she received rare seed, much of which grew into the more than 1,000 mature rhododendrons found in the garden today. These along with her ever-expanding collection of alpines and her favorite genus, Primula , were a life-long interest.

Lilla and John Leach were a unique couple who left their mark on Oregon. Through Lilla's love for botany, they explored Northwest wilderness in the 1920's and 30's in search of plants previously unknown to science. Her discoveries include Kalmiopsis leachiana and Iris innominata .
In 1931, John and Lilla settled on five wooded acres along Johnson Creek and called their home "Sleepy Hollow." Their estate and beautiful garden have become a botanical garden for the public to enjoy.

Bishop's Close Garden
Bishop's Close Garden
Photo by Michael Robert

The beautiful manor house and garden of Peter Kerr sits atop a cliff on the western bank of the Willamette River. In 1916 construction began on the "Scotch Baronial" home and Peter Kerr contacted John Charles Olmsted to design the surrounding acreage. The design included viewing paths and terraces overlooking Elk Rock and the Willamette River and a view of Mt. Hood, while capturing the grandeur of the site in a large open meadow. E. T. Mische, designer of Portland's Laurelhurst Park, implemented the Olmsted plan and enriched the garden with hundreds of ornamental trees and shrubs, keeping the native oak and fir trees.
When Kerr died in 1957 his estate was left to the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon, and the grounds, now known as Bishop's Close at Elk Rock, are open to the public and maintained by an endowment from the Kerr family. The garden includes a rich array of mature shrubs and trees, blended with bulbs, perennial flowers and groundcovers to create a garden of year round interest and color.

Fred Paddison Fountain, Crystal Springs 
Fred Paddison Fountain, Crystal Springs Garden
Photo by Bill Robinson

In 1950 Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden was jointly established by the Portland Parks Bureau and the Portland Chapter, ARS. Many ARS charter members contributed to the garden's beginnings and established this garden as a National Test Garden, offering collected species and newly introduced hybrids for garden display. Visitors enter the garden over a wooden bridge and walk along meandering paths lined with rhododendrons and other companion plants to the spring-fed Crystal Springs Lake.

Now preserved by the Portland Chapter, ARS, the Cecil and Molly Smith Garden is a fine example of a rhododendron garden in a Northwest woodland setting. Beneath the canopy of Douglas firs the Smith Garden sits on a ridge not far from the Willamette River, thirty miles from Portland.
Among decaying logs and even within stumps a rich forest floor brings life to the many rhododendron species, native plants and bulbs that adorn this garden. The special collections of large leaf species, dwarf plants and hybrids by Cecil Smith and others have created a garden of rich textures and interest.

Michael Robert, Eugene Chapter member, is the 1989 Conference Chairman.