JARS v45n2 - Olympia to Host Western Regional

Olympia to Host Western Regional
Steve Gangsei
Olympia, Washington

Olympia, Washington plays host to the 1991 Western Regional convention this fall. The event runs October 4, 5, and 6 and hopes to attract hundreds of eager rhodaholics to the capital city. Washington, and the entire Northwest region, is well-known rhododendron country and makes an excellent convention site.
The Westwater Inn serves as headquarters for the event being hosted by ARS District 3. Nestled on a ridge overlooking Capital Lake and the legislative buildings, the Westwater is both beautiful and centrally located. Since it is right in the middle of the district, members from almost every chapter will be involved in some way before or during the event.
The convention will bring together experts and hobbyists with a wide knowledge of plants and how to care for them. Practical information about choosing, planting, feeding, and nursing your landscape will be featured. Also, you will have an opportunity to learn more about the local area.

Washington State Capitol
Washington State Capitol, Olympia, WA
Photo by by Harry T. Halverson, courtesy of Briggs Nursery

Many of you may know Olympia only as the place where the legislature meets, or the home of Briggs Nursery, or perhaps you have only heard of Olympia Beer. But, there is much more to our area than meets the eye.
Olympia, and the surrounding Thurston County, is one of the fastest growing areas in our state. Part of this is due to growth of government, but much is due to the attractive environment. With the Olympic Mountains on one side, 14,000-foot Mount Rainier on the other, and the beautiful Puget Sound in between, it is like living in a natural wonderland.
These factors make excellent conditions for rhododendrons. Rhodies need moisture and do not like temperature extremes and western Washington fits the bill. Relatively tender H-3 rhododendrons generally do well outside and some locals grow choice Maddenii and Vireya selections with winter protection. Of course, Washington's state flower is R. macrophyllum which grows widely on the Olympic Peninsula and near the slopes of Mt. Rainier. One of our local chapters holds an annual late spring picnic in the mountains to view the plants blooming in the wild.
The rhododendron thrives in our area and the ARS does too. The members of District 3 eagerly await your arrival in October to spend the weekend, or perhaps the week. One thing is certain, you will have a wonderful time at the 1991 Western Regional. You will see old friends, make new ones, and share the excitement. The flowers may bring us together, but it is the people who bring us back.