JARS v56n2 - Mountain to Sound: A Rhody Experience, Western Regional Conference

Mountain to Sound: A Rhody Experience, Western Regional Conference
Western Regional Conference, Bellingham, Washington, September 20-22, 2002
Don Smart
Carnation, Washington

The members of the ARS District 2 chapters - Komo Kulshan, Pilchuck, Whidbey Island, Cascade, and Seattle - would like to welcome you to the 22nd Annual Fall Western Regional Conference. Come and enjoy a taste of autumn in the beautiful Pacific Northwest along the shores of Puget Sound in Bellingham, Washington, September 20-22, 2002. Registration is not restricted to members of the American Rhododendron Society and all gardeners with an Mountain to Sound: A Rhody Experience Western Regional Conference, Bellingham, Washington, September 20-22, 2002 interest in rhododendrons are encouraged to attend.

We are concentrating on making this conference very affordable, from a registration fee of about $30 to room rates at the Bellingham Hampton Inn of $67 including tax and a continental breakfast. We especially want to invite our Canadian neighbors and have kept the dollar exchange rates in mind.

Come and enjoy a dessert social on Friday night, a full bevy of speakers on Saturday, and hybridizers' get together on Sunday. Enjoy a banquet of Northwest Cuisine and the fellowship of other "rhodoholics" and garden friends on Saturday evening. If that's not enough to whet your appetite, there will be door prizes, silent auctions, and raffles (I heard something about a week in a condo in Hawaii!). There will also be a gift and bookshop for your shopping pleasure. All of this will take place in the brand new convention facility adjacent to the hotel.

Although the programs have not been finalized, speakers already lined up include Steve Hootman, Curator and Co-Executive Director of the Rhododendron Species Foundation; Don Wallace, owner of Singing Tree Nursery who specializes in fragrant rhododendrons; and Frank Fujioka, a premier hybridizer from Whidbey Island. Also discussing companion plants will be Walt Lockwood, an avid hiker and member of the Native Plant Society with a particular interest in alpine natives; Doug Kirk talking about ornamental grasses; and Judith Jones, owner of Fancy Fronds Nursery who is very passionate about her favorite genera. She does allow, though, that rhododendrons make good companion plants for ferns. You won't fall asleep during her presentation! And you won't want to miss our own District 2 Director Bill Stipe, owner of Glynneden Gardens Nursery on Whidbey Island, who will talk about Integrated Pest Management - ways to get rid of our garden pests without killing the planet. We will post any additional programs and speakers on the Conference web site. Please stay tuned.

A plant sale will feature hundreds of different rhododendrons and companion plants from nurseries throughout the Northwest. Rhododendrons will include species and hybrids from the nurseries of Roy and Evelyn Thomson and Mike Stewart from Oregon; The Rhododendron Species Foundation, Elsie Watson, Steve Clark, Dave Hammond's Acres of Rhodies (including some hardy Dexter hybrids), Glynneden Gardens Nursery, Frank Fujioka and Greg Kesterson, in Washington; and from Les Clay in British Columbia. There will be companion plants such as conifers, ferns, and hosta, and a selection of Northwest native plants. You won't be disappointed!

Experience our diverse flora from Puget Sound to the top of magnificent Mt. Baker, standing 10,788 feet above sea level and less than 30 miles from the water's edge. Mt. Baker is a glacier-covered volcano, and is the second most active volcanic formation in the Cascade Range (Mt. St. Helens being the first) and a world-record setter for the most annual snowfall. An optional tour will be available to Heather Meadows and Artist Point, the most spectacular areas accessible by vehicle in the North Cascades. Two of the Cascades' most beautiful peaks, Mt. Baker and Mt. Shuksan at 9,127 feet, serve as backdrops for the fantastic alpine meadows with their photographic islands of stunted trees and alpine tarns. Also you may see two of our Northwest natives, Rhododendron albiflorum and R. groenlandicum at picturesque Mirror Lake on this trip. Add in the fall colors and the usually great fall weather for a wonderful autumn odyssey.

Attention hybridizers - a special invitation from Frank Fujioka who will be coordinating the Sunday morning hybridizer's session. If you live in the Puget Sound area or British Columbia and have hybridized rhododendrons, even a single plant, please bring pictures. We will be able to accommodate both slides and digital images.

There will also be many open gardens for you to visit before, during, and after your conference time spent in the Northwest. Visit the famous Meerkerk Rhododendron Gardens on Whidbey Island, the Rhododendron Species Foundation Gardens in Federal Way, the Minter Gardens at Chilliwack, BC, and the UBC Arboretum and the VanDusen Gardens in Vancouver, BC. Or, if you prefer native species, populations of native Rhododendron macrophyllum are accessible at Manning Park near Hope, BC, and at Rhododendron Lake on Vancouver Island.

For those of you who have more time and other interests there are a multitude of things to do and see. From Bellingham's historic Fairhaven district take a ferry tour of the San Juan Islands to Victoria on Vancouver Island for shopping and "High Tea". Victoria is also home to world famous Butchart Gardens, 50 acres of floral finery that started out as a limestone quarry. Drive the scenic 20-mile Chuckanut Drive that hugs the coast and offers spectacular views of the San Juan Islands and the Olympic Mountains.

Mark your calendars for September 20-22, 2002 and come join us. Additional information and registration materials will be in the ARS summer Journal.