JARS v61n4 - Rhododendron 2008: 50 Years of Modern Day Exploration, Hybridizing & Conservation Celebrating the Silver Jubilee of the Scottish Rhododendron Society

Rhododendron 2008: 50 Years of Modern Day Exploration, Hybridizing & Conservation Celebrating the Silver Jubilee of the Scottish Rhododendron Society
2008 International Rhododendron Conference: Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, Scotland Wednesday 7th – Sunday 11th May, 2008
John M. Hammond
Conference Chairman
Bury, Lancashire, England

Join us to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of the Scottish Rhododendron Society at an International Rhododendron Conference to be held at the Royal Botanic Garden in the City of Edinburgh, Scotland, in the spring of 2008. If you love rhododendrons and azaleas, are enthralled by entertaining speakers, magnificent gardens and enjoy a friendly social atmosphere, then this is an event for you.
Jointly hosted by the Scottish Rhododendron Society and the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Rhododendron 2008: 50 Years of Modern Day Exploration, Hybridising & Conservation will predominantly cover the post-WWII period through a wide ranging programme of lectures, garden tours, a rhododendron show, exhibitions and social events in the evenings. International speakers will entertain you with a schedule of lectures covering contemporary exploration, hybridising and breeding, cultivation and propagation, historical, science and taxonomy and conservation. To cater for all tastes there will be an opportunity to attend an alternative set of lectures that will appeal to a wider audience.
The following notes provide an outline of the Conference Programme and Tour Schedule. A fully detailed Conference Brochure & Registration Form, Tour Programme and Hotel arrangements are now available on request.

Pre-Conference Tour: Saturday 3rd – Tuesday 6th May, 2008:
A four-day Pre-Conference Tour, visiting a wonderful selection of gardens in the South West of Scotland and the English Lake District, has been arranged to take place on Saturday 3rd – Tuesday 6th May. These gardens have not been included in any of our previous conference tour schedules. This is your opportunity to visit a significant number of highly regarded gardens, including many private gardens that are not normally open to visitors: Bargany, Glenwhan, Logan House, Logan RBG, Barnhourie Mill and Corsock Muncaster Castle, Holker Hall, Graythwaite Hall, Stagshaw and Holehird.
For the convenience of delegates staying in hotels, this tour will depart from and return to, Edinburgh City Centre. The tour package will include dinner, bed & breakfast for three nights, a buffet/light lunch at one of the gardens each day, an on-board courier, and all coach travel provided by a high quality garden tours operator. This will be a competitively priced, "first-come first-served" tour and early booking is recommended. A tour brochure and booking form is available giving further details for this tour and includes an outline of the gardens to be visited.

Main Conference Programme: Wednesday 7th – Sunday 11th May, 2008:
There will be two levels of registration: firstly, for delegates attending the full conference, and secondly, for partners of delegates who will not be attending lectures but wish to participate in the tour programme, attend the evening events, gain entry to the main venue and to use the tea and coffee facilities in the breaks between lecture sessions. Look for the substantially discounted "Early Bird" Full Registration special offer.
The first Conference Session will cover recent developments in the fields of deciduous azaleas, evergreen azaleas and vireyas. Clarence Towe will discuss work with native American deciduous azaleas, Donald Hyatt will outline the recent developments in evergreen azaleas, and Dr. George Argent will discuss recent work with vireya rhododendrons. The second Conference Session is entitled "From Wild to the Garden" and, as the name implies, it will cover the discovery of new rhododendron plants, their introduction, through to how to make a beautiful garden with spectacular hybrids. Kenneth Cox will be our guide to the hitherto undiscovered rhododendron paradise of Arunachal Pradesh, Steve Hootman will deliver a key lecture outlining the species introductions of the last 50 years, and then Ann Steele, Maurice Wilkins and Nigel Price will present "Right Plant, Right Place" and explain how the National Trust for Scotland manages its rhododendron collections in their world renowned gardens.
There will two choices of Lecture Programme for the third and fourth Conference Sessions. The third Conference Session will be R.B.G.E. led and begin with "In-situ Conservation work in China" as explained by Dr. David Paterson, whilst Sarah Oldfield from BCCI will outline the steps being taken to draw up a Red List of rhododendron species under threat in the wild. Dr. R. Milne will present "Adventures in Rhododendron Evolution," and Dr. David Mitchell has a presentation covering the work of "The Four Gardens of the R.B.G.E." The fourth Conference Session covers recent work in rhododendron hybridising. David Millais will present "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly," an evaluation of U.S. hybrids, whilst Paul Molinari will cover recent Madennia hybridisation work, and Hartweg Schepker will provide an overview of hybridising in Germany over the past 50 years.
An alternative programme has been arranged for those delegates who have a wider and more general interest in rhododendrons and azaleas. The alternative third Conference Session will cover more recent work on propagation, pests and diseases, and companion plants. Alan Clark, Jens Nielsen and John Hammond will lead a presentation on alternative approaches to propagation, Dr. John David will explain the new challenges facing those who deal with rhododendron pests and diseases, whilst John Richards suggests that primulas can make excellent bedfellows for rhododendrons. The alternative fourth Conference Session will provide a different way of approach to taxonomy, outline recent conservation schemes involving rhododendron hybrids, and developments in the field of breeding for extreme hardiness. To enhance the level of audience participation Dr. David Chamberlain, Dr. R. Milne, Steve Hootman, Dr. Mike Robinson and Kenneth Cox (Chair) will debate various controversial views on taxonomy. Dr. Mike Robinson will outline the conservation projects currently being taken forward to secure the future of older rhododendron hybrids, whilst Steve Krebs and Peter Tigerstedt will explain the present status of the breeding work for extreme hardiness and Phytophthora resistance.

Tour Programme: Thursday 8th – Sunday 11th May:
Four full day tours have been arranged to a variety of gardens that will complement the theme of the Conference and each tour will run on two days to make them available to all delegates. The first day of tours will encompass two sets of gardens in the Scottish Borders, to the south of Edinburgh. Delegates will have a choice of which set of gardens they wish to visit, subject to availability of seats in the tour coaches.
Tour A will visit Dawyck R.B.G., Stobo Castle Garden and Kevock Garden.
Tour B will visit Manderston, Charterhall House and Silverwells Gardens.
The second day of tours will encompass two sets of gardens in Perthshire, to the north of Edinburgh. Delegates will have a choice of which set of gardens they wish to visit, subject to availability of seats in the tour coaches.
Tour C will visit Cluny Castle, Bolfracks and Craigowen Gardens
Tour D will visit Glendoick Gardens, Branklyn Garden and Meikleour
Outline details for each of the gardens can be found in the tour brochure & booking form.
A specially arranged full-day sightseeing tour with a cruise on the steamer Sir Walter Scott, built in 1900, on Loch Katrine, followed by opportunity for lunch and a little retail therapy in the bustling town of Callander, and then a boat ride along the Union Canal to the famous Falkirk Wheel, is available for the partners of delegates who would prefer not be attending lectures or garden tours.

Evening Receptions, Art Exhibition and Conference Banquet:
The Wednesday Evening Reception and Art Exhibition will be your opportunity to renew acquaintances and make your plans for getting together during the days ahead. A Thursday Evening Reception to welcome conference delegates is currently in the planning stages with the City of Edinburgh, the R.B.G.E. and the N.T.for S. and this is expected to include a talk by Peter Cox and Sir Peter Hutchison on their memoirs of over 40 plant-hunting expeditions since 1962. The Conference Banquet will take place in the spectacular Kings Hall when our after-dinner speaker Frank Fujioka will enthral you with an outline of his passion for creating beautiful rhododendron hybrids to grace our gardens.

Rhododendron Show, Displays Trade Stands:
Scotland's Annual National Rhododendron Show will be held in the Exhibition Hall at the main venue on two days during the Conference. The Show is competitive and will be judged by an International panel of Judges. There will also be space to accommodate rhododendron displays, information boards, research posters and trade stands.

For Further Information:
Updates will regularly appear during 2007 & 2008 on the Scottish Rhododendron Society website. For Registration Packs and further information contact Marjory McFarlane, Conference Registrar.