JARS v56n4 - Treasures of the Pacific Northwest: ARS 2003 Convention

Treasures of the Pacific Northwest: ARS 2003 Convention
Ramona Schultz, Olympia, Washington

Mark your calendars for May 1-4, 2003: Schedule your vacations and save your resources (health and wealth) for what is planned as an outstanding convention experience. The Olympia, Washington (state, not DC) committee has been planning for some time to make this one of your most memorable "gathering of the clans." We've put in the order for good weather, outstanding bloom season and hospitable hosts all for your attendance enjoyment.

So, what is planned? A superb stable of outstanding speakers-not just rhododendron topics but a variety which will both entertain and educate us. A plant sale which will make available "traveling size" plants-some of the newest introductions just coming through tissue culture as well as an outstanding variety of cutting propagated varieties, not to forget the companion plants. Tours?-again a variety which includes outstanding gardens of the area encompassing both rhododendrons and all of their companions. The selections are there. Your challenge will be to decide how many of them you are up to tackling as well as the other convention events. Truss and photo shows will be extensive and will showcase the diversity of the genus for which the Northwest is famous.

Our intention is to make this convention one balanced between business, entertainment, and opportunities for renewing and making new acquaintances. So, here are some of the details as of this July date:


Our two keynoters will be Holger Hachmann and Graham Smith, both outstanding individuals in their Germany and New Zealand locales and both great speakers/presenters for your enjoyment. Fortunately, Briggs Nursery (our corporate sponsor) is sponsoring these individuals which greatly aids in our objective to make this convention an affordable event.

HOLGER HACHMANN: Son of ARS Gold Medalist Hans Hachmann, father and son who have made more than 4,500 crosses and have raised more than 1 million seedlings to flowering size. Holger has assumed the mantra of the nursery and hybridizing operation for the family, and his warmth and willingness to share his plant knowledge has allowed him to travel extensively and build relationships internationally.

GRAHAM SMITH: Graham is currently Director, Pukeiti Rhododendron Trust, New Zealand (a 900 acre paradise of botanic treasures). He was trained at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, England, and has organized and led multiple tours to Great Britain, United States, Yunnan (China), Tasmania, Ireland, Canada, and Australia as well as numerous speaking engagements at international gatherings (most recently the conference in Edinburgh, Scotland).

JIM BARLUP: Jim's reputation has been portrayed in numerous issues of the ARS Journal and he continues his extensive and focused hybridizing activities with worthy crosses finding their way into the trade.

GWEN BELL: Gwen has been an avid observer of rhododendrons in Europe, New Zealand, Japan and the Himalayas of China and Sikkim. An active member of the Seattle ARS chapter, Gwen's scholarly approach to presenting information is sure to add to your enjoyment of this convention.

MARIANNE BINETTI: One of the area "celebrities of the airwaves," Marianne is a practicing landscape designer and author (books will be featured at the convention) and has the rare ability to be both lighthearted and "grounded"-a combination which will delight our convention attendees.

LYNNE CATON: Propagation Manager at Briggs Nursery, Olympia, Washington. She manages the micro-propagation laboratory (tissue culture) and propagation greenhouses, growing the largest volume of tissue cultured rhododendrons in the world. Lynn will explain the process, time-line for new introductions and some of the newest varieties to come.

SCOTT CONNER: Scott comes from a nursery management background and now operates his nationwide horticultural consulting firm in addition to teaching at several educational facilities in the Northwest. He also hosts a live radio "Gardening in the Northwest" program each weekend as well as a variety of Master Gardener and vocational advisory councils in the area. Scott's presentations are both practical and broad based.

STEVE HOOTMAN: Steve is Co-executive Director and Curator of the Rhododendron Species Botanic Garden in Federal Way, Washington. This 22-acre garden contains the premier collection of species rhododendrons in the world and has been significantly enhanced through Steve's knowledge and personal excursions into the China Himalayas on a number of collecting/identification trips. He is an accomplished speaker who will give us a significant focus on the species-remember, all hybrids came from these "beginnings."

DR. RITA HUMMEL: Associate Horticulture and Landscape Architecture Professor at Washington State University. Her research on cold hardiness and water stress physiology and the effects on production and landscape/nursery plants has led her to a very interesting focus on root structures of our plant materials.

AMY McBRIDE: A working artist who focuses on small metal sculptures, Amy is Public Art Coordinator for the City of Tacoma, Washington. She works with neighborhoods to implement public art throughout the city from large-scale projects to grassroots neighborhood installations. In various settings, we've all seen the integration of sculpture with rhododendrons as well as examples where "integration would have enhanced both."

CISCOE MORRIS: Ciscoe is recently retired as the grounds and landscaping manager of the 53-acre Seattle University campus. He is a TV/radio regular in the Seattle area and has written numerous articles as well as serving on several advisory boards. Ciscoe's humor and knowledge is woven together for a most enjoyable crowd pleasing presentation.

GARY RITCHIE: One of the significant geological features (as well as happenings) of the Northwest is Mount Saint Helens. Gary's career culminated in the Timberlands R&D organization at the Weyerhaeuser Corporation. This activity was significantly involved with the regeneration/aftermath of the eruption of Mt. St. Helens.

JOHN RUSSELL: John is known as the "water garden guy" and is the owner of Russell Landscape Services. His practical approach to establishment of water features will make each attendee "rush home to do one too!" (Water features are so much more water effective than lawns!)

RICHIE STEFFAN: Richie is Coordinator of Horticulture for the Elizabeth Miller Botanical Garden in Seattle. He is responsible for maintaining and improving the extensive/diverse collections of this garden as well as the development of new collections. Current work is on a breeding program for hepaticas to develop superior flower and foliage forms.


A colorful palette of tours will provide convention attendees access to "Treasures of the Pacific Northwest." The Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden and Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection, Warren Berg's garden, Whitney Gardens and other "must see" rhody destinations are included. The convention also features many new tour stops not visited during past conventions. The recently opened Museum of Glass in Tacoma is a fine example. It features Dale Chihuly's world-renowned glass art. Glass creations from baroque to ultra-modern are on view on the Bridge of Glass, a walkway connecting downtown Tacoma with the Museum above the Foss Waterway. Inside the museum, glass blowing is continually underway in a unique theatre, a multi-story "hotshop" its angle and cone-shape reflecting that of nearby Mount Rainier. The Washington State Historical Museum, the old Union Railway Station with more Chihuly glass on display, shops and several lunch destinations are within short walking distance from the Museum. Other tours include beautiful collections of rhododendrons, a Japanese garden recently publicized as a "garden of perfection" by the Seattle Times, a garden created among a Stonehenge of basaltic pillars, a bulb farm with colorful display gardens, a koi farm with spectacular water features and a turn-of-the-century castle. Some tours will show off Olympia area sights like the Capitol campus, dockside Olympia Farmers Market and the Miller Brewery. Rhapsody Garden will be featured on the Rural Treasures Tour.

With such a wide array of seminars, tours and other convention activities, attendees are assured of finding much to hold their interest. With most speakers and some tours being offered twice, we think you'll be challenged to make your selections of speakers and tours to focus on.

The Facility

The West Coast Olympia Hotel is conveniently located in the heart of Washington's state capitol. On the Puget Sound and near the beautiful Cascade Mountain range, Olympia offers historical sites as well as diverse shopping. The hotel has 190 guest rooms and suites, featuring in-room coffee, hairdryers and irons/ironing boards. The hotel also has an outdoor heated swimming pool and spa, fitness center and complimentary parking. There is also an in-house restaurant and lounge.

We hope to see you all for a wonderful convention experience in May!