JARS v50n3 - Song of Ocean Shores: Western Regional Conference, Oct. 4-6

Song of Ocean Shores: Western Regional Conference, Oct. 4-6
Joanne Campbell
Western Regional Conference Co-chairman
Olympia, Washington

By the shores of the Pacific
Stands a great convention center,
Where the rhody folks will gather
In the fall - before the winter.

From all directions we will gather
There to congregate together,
Talk of hybrids, species, trusses
And, perhaps, about the weather.

Hear plant hunters tell of travels
Seeking species undiscovered,
Gain much wisdom from the experts
Many topics will be covered.

Learn to hybridize and botanize
"Find and keep" new plants to cherish,
Learn to care for all our rhodies
So they'll thrive and will not perish.

Share the laughter and the friendships
And plant lovers' deep devotion,
Come and join us in the autumn,
Gather with us by the ocean.

Poetry may not be your favorite thing, but if rhododendrons and azaleas are, the 16th Western Regional Conference is the place to be October 4-5-6, 1996. Members of the eight chapters in District 3 have worked together to plan a conference full of exciting programs, outstanding speakers, a most interesting tour, an abundant plant sale and other attractions.

ARS Fall Conference graphic
Drawing by Kathy Campbell

The tour on Friday includes a guided walk through the Ocean Shores Nature Preserve to view the flora and fauna wonders. At Lake Quinault there will be an easy hike in the Olympic rain forest, followed by a relaxing lunch at the July Creek Campground. Back to the beach at Ocean Shores to enjoy the ARS Kite Flying Competition.

The Friday evening session will feature an outstanding program by Harold Greer. He will utilize three screens for his presentation "Rhododendrons From Day One," a light look at rhododendrons from times past until today.

Saturday will be filled with a variety of programs and knowledgeable speakers. Learn about rhododendron population mapping with Clarice Clark, and evergreen azaleas with Eleanor Stubbs. Amy Denton will talk about DNA studies in Rhododendron macrophyllum whereas Sue Olsen will show how to use hardy ferns as companion plants to rhododendrons and azaleas. Kristi O'Donnell will help us in the use of computers in keeping track of the plants in our gardens. Even the most dedicated rhododendron enthusiasts will agree that occasional trees enhance our yards, and Robert Fincham will tell us of special conifers for our gardens. Steve McCulloch will show how the tissue culture program at Briggs Nursery benefits us by producing plants that are difficult to root in the conventional way. Helping us to understand taxonomy will be the task of Clement Hamilton, and Steve Hootman invites us to go along on his 1995 plant collecting trip to China. Another trip to share in will be the recent ARS Annual Convention in Oban, Scotland, as well as other features of the area, as recounted by Bob Zimmermann.

Beautiful deciduous azaleas and kalmia for added color in our gardens will highlight the program by Lori Gangsei. White Smith will share his love of vireyas that he grows in the Pacific Northwest. It will be hard to decide which seminars to attend! A delicious Pasta Bar Buffet lunch will be available between the morning and afternoon seminar sessions, featuring a speaker, yet to be announced.

The Saturday evening keynote speakers will be Warren Berg and Chip Muller, active members of their respective chapters, plant explorers and rhododendron experts. They will take us with them "In The Footsteps of Kingdon Ward in Southeast. Tibet." This will be a double feature program you won't want to miss.

As if this were not enough, the Sunday morning program will be an enjoyable Hybridizers Roundtable, featuring well known hybridizers discussing how to hybridize, goals desired in choosing varieties for hybridizing, parents and the offspring produce. Gwen Bell, a knowledgeable rhododendron enthusiast from Seattle, will moderate this panel.

The plant sale, always an important part of any ARS conference, will include many new varieties of hybrid rhododendrons, a good selection of species, heather, hardy ferns, azaleas, kalmia and Japanese maples.

Other special features: The Rhodie Cafe, a place to relax between activities or while contemplating plant purchases, etc. A photography contest - prizes will be given for the winner in several categories. Give it your best shot! A silent auction will feature special plants, and perhaps other items. Meals for the conference will be catered by The Shilo Inn and promise to be a feast for the tummy as well as for the eyes.

The Ocean Shores Convention Center is reserved the weekend of October 4-5-6 for all those interested in some of the most varied and colorful plants which abound. Be sure to make your reservation to gather with us by the ocean!