JARS v54n1 - Eastern Regional Conference

Eastern Regional Conference
Doug Jolley
Flatwoods, West Virginia

Members of the ARS Middle Atlantic Chapter played host to the 1999 Eastern Regional Conference in November. A total of 251 members were welcomed to the Fort Magruder Inn, Williamsburg, Virginia, on Nov. 5 for a weekend of activities.

On Friday and Saturday members bussed to nearby Richmond to tour the renowned Lewis Ginter Botanic Garden. Eighty-degree sunny weather throughout the weekend made for perfect late fall outings. Many also found time to visit Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown.

Friday evening, MAC President Alton Hall welcomed attendees, and conference chairman Ray Doggett introduced our evening speaker, Henry Schannen. A review of past hybridizing accomplishments, current trends and future goals gave members an overview of the hybrid rhododendron world.

Saturday was filled with speakers addressing a myriad of topics. George McLellan, David Sauer, and Paul James, all of MAC affiliation, spoke on native azaleas, new Kurumes, and Delp/Haag rhododendrons respectively. Past ARS president and hybridizer George Ring shared his experiences in growing rhododendrons in the DC suburbs and his present mountaintop environs. Don Hyatt combined computers and rhododendrons and Dr. John Thornton spoke of growing plants in the heat and humidity of Louisiana. Later, Sonja Nelson took us to many gardens and highlighted her expertise in landscaping with rhododendrons.

At the conclusion of our evening banquet ARS President Lynn Watts introduced attending ARS dignitaries, both past and present. Past presidents in attendance included Richard Brooks, Bud Gehnrich, George Ring, Herb Spady and Gordon Wylie. Bud Gehnrich presented Robert and Jay Whitney Murray with the ARS Gold Medal. Western Vice-president Mike Stewart urged that we all work towards increasing membership. Attention then turned toward our evening speaker, Tony Avent, and his account of his recent China expedition. Tony covered all facets of the trials and tribulations of plant exploration in western China. Tony is certainly an engaging speaker and via his Plants Delights Nursery is evaluating and introducing many new plants into the nursery trade.

Sunday morning, George McLellan introduced the group to the MAC Species Photo Project which utilizes close-ups and habitat pictures of native eastern azalea and rhododendron species. The ensuing breeders roundtable included brief talks by Dr. John Thornton, Werner Brack and Walter Przypek. Harry Wise and Doug Jolley concluded the session with an overview of the ongoing MAC Nursery Project and its introduction of native azaleas into public gardens.

Photo Contest

Seventy-six outstanding photographs made the photo contest an outstanding success. Entries were submitted by members from nine ARS chapters (Mason-Dixon, Massachusetts, Middle Atlantic, New York, Noyo, Potomac Valley, Princeton, Seattle, and Valley Forge). Photographs were divided into four categories and attendees voted for their favorites. Wing Fong from the Princeton Chapter won Best-in-Show with his stunning foliage close-up of Rhododendron yakushimanum x 'Britannia'. A selection of non-judged photos accompanied the show.

Winners of the photo contest were:
Close-up of truss: 1st-Dick Gustafson, Doug Jolley, Joe Parks; 2nd-Katherine Constable, Dick Gustafson; 3rd-Katherine Constable, Sandra McDonald, Joe Parks.
Foliage: 1st-Wing Fong; 2nd-Katherine Constable, Wing Fong; 3rd-Eleanor Philp.
Landscape: 1st-Wing Fong; 2nd-Dick Gustafson; 3rd-Katherine Constable.
Creative: 1st-Don Hyatt; 2nd-Dick Gustafson; 3rd-Katherine Constable, Wing Fong.
Best-in-Show: "Two Faces of R. Yak x Britannia", Wing Fong.