JARS v61n4 - Siuslaw Chapter Celebrates the Rhododendron

Siuslaw Chapter Celebrates the Rhododendron
Jeannie Shields
Florence, Oregon

The first ever district-wide rhododendron flower show that was held in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of Florence, Oregon's Rhododendron Festival became a historic event with a record breaking 1,381 trusses entered. This is believed to be the largest rhododendron flower show ever held in the United States. Each year the Siuslaw Chapter's shows are bigger and better than last year's show and this year was no exception. More than 100 individuals entered trusses in this spectacular show including the members of five statewide District 4 chapters, rhody enthusiasts from Washington and California, and the citizens of Florence.
Show chair Jim Smith assembled an array of judges who are notables in the rhododendron field including experts from Australia, current and past presidents and officials of the American Rhododendron Society, past and present presidents of West Coast rhododendron chapters and nursery owners from Oregon and California including: Fred Whitney, current ARS president; Harold Greer, ARS past president and owner of Greer Gardens in Eugene, Ore.; Mike Stewart, ARS past president and Maria Stewart, owners of Dover Nursery in Sandy, Ore.; Gordon Wylie of Eugene, Ore., ARS past president; June Walsh of Eureka, Calif., current ARS secretary; Tim Walsh of Eureka, Calif., past ARS treasure; Carol Quinn, past secretary of the Australian Rhododendron Society, and John Quinn; Bruce Palmer of Eureka, Calif., past president of the Eureka Chapter; Nelda Palmer of Cutten, Calif., Eureka Chapter past president; Steve Hopkins of Gresham, Ore., past president of the Portland Chapter; Larry Landauer, owner of Flora Lan Nursery in Forest Grove, Ore.; Don Smart, current ARS Western Vice President; Don Wallace, co-owner of Singing Tree Nursery in McKinleyville, Calif.; Terry Henderson, owner of Long Cabin Nursery, Springfield, Ore.; and Galen Baxter, past president of the Siuslaw Chapter.

Judges of the Siuslaw Chapter truss 
show at the Rhododendron Festival in Florence, Oregon.
Judges of the Siuslaw Chapter truss show at the Rhododendron Festival in Florence, Oregon.
Photo by Jim Smithg

In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Rhododendron Festival the Siuslaw Chapter had special "100th anniversary" blue, red and white ribbons printed that are now collector's items. On display this year for the first time was an exhibit of 150 rhododendron art pieces painted by students of Siuslaw Elementary School, one class from each of the six grades. Each "masterpiece" received a yellow 100th Anniversary Ribbon. The display was so well received that the Siuslaw Chapter is planning this to be an annual event.
This year the chapter entered a float in the Rhododendron Floral Parade. Current ARS President Fred Whitney, Ann Whitney, and Siuslaw Chapter President Mike Bones rode on the rhododendron decorated float that won 3rd place. This is only the second time in the 26-year history of the Siuslaw Chapter that a float has been entered - the chapter is usually too involved in their show!

Fred Whitney, Ann Whitney and Mike 
Bones on the Siuslaw chapter's float in the Rhododendron Festival parade.
ARS President Fred Whitney, Ann Whitney and Siuslaw Chapter President Mike Bones
on the chapter's float in the Rhododendron Festival parade.
Photo by Charles King

This historic show marks the retirement of Jim Smith as show chair, a position he has held for over a dozen years. Smith has been instrumental in developing the philosophy of the Siuslaw Chapter that more ribbons and trophies awarded will lead to more trusses entered and more involvement by the local non-chapter members in the community. This philosophy has led to the popularity of the Siuslaw Chapter shows.
Smith retired in style when Jim and Sylvia Smith swept the show with the Sweepstakes Award for the most total points for all first, second and third prize ribbons plus trophies received. The Agnes McCornack Award presented in honor of one of Florence's earliest citizens and a charter member of the Siuslaw Chapter for the Best White Rhododendron entered, was again won by the Smiths with the truss of 'Long Island'*. The truss also won the Best in Show. The Vern & Marion May Memorial Fund awards also went to the Smiths for the Best Deciduous Azalea, 'Arneson Ruby', and 'Ben Morrison', the Best Evergreen Azalea. 'Ben Morrison' also won the Queen's Trophy.
Other trophies were awarded to the outstanding in the class. The Henry McKenney Memorial for the Best Lepidote Hybrid was awarded to Jim and Janice Gerdemann of Yachats for the vireya R. macgregoriae . The Tom Drake Memorial for the Best Pink with a Blotch was presented to Carl Nys of Longview, Wash., for 'Burgundy's Sister'*. The Best Light Pink selected was 'Ooh-la-la' submitted by Jack Olson of Eugene. The Best Pink Bi-color, 'Fantastica', was yet another of the Smiths' trusses. The Best Medium Pink chosen was 'Trude Webster' entered by Larry and Sandy Jensen of Noti. The Best Dark Pink was deemed to be 'Denali' grown by Paul and Joanne Wilson of Florence. The Best Pink Walloper was from the garden of Carlo and Joyce Fernando of Florence. This was the first time the Fernandos had entered a truss in a Siuslaw Chapter rhododendron flower show.
'Creole Belle' was judged the Best Rose or Light Red and was presented to Charles and Betty King of Florence. The Best Dark Red was 'Vulcan' brought by Jeff and Wendy Grant of Florence. The Best Dark Red Bi-color with a Blotch was 'Vincent van Gogh' entered by Larry and Sandy Jensen. Carl Nys submitted The Best Lavender, 'Marley Hedges'.
The judges selected the Smiths' 'Ted's Orchid Sunset' as the Best Light Purple with a Blotch. Jack Olson submitted the Best Dark Purple with a Blotch, 'Mrs. O.B. Watson'. The Best Cream or Light Yellow was entered by Larry and Sandy Jensen for 'Golden Torch'. 'Horizon Lakeside' was chosen as the Best Dark Yellow and was entered by Jeff and Wendy Grant of Florence. 'Thor' was picked as the Best Orange and was submitted by Jack Olson. The Best Light Tricolor was deemed 'Nancy Evans' crossed 'Paprika Spiced' submitted by the Smiths.
'Dad's Indian Summer' was the Best Dark Tri-color and was entered by Lorall Phillips-Woerner of Florence. The Best R. occidentale was submitted by Dick Cavender of Sherwood, Ore. Jack Olson was presented a trophy for the Best Yak, R. ponticum crossed with R. yakushimanum . The Best R. macrophyllum went to Joanne McMicken of Florence. Larry and Sandy Jensen entered the Best Elepidote species, R. decorum . The Best new American Hybrid was an R. occidentale cross hybridized by Dick Cavender.
On behalf of the Southwest Chapter of the ARS, Chapter President Bob MacIntyre presented the Siuslaw Chapter a new perpetual trophy honoring Everett Hall, past president of the Siuslaw Chapter and an avid rhododendron hybridizer, who passed this last year. The first time winner of this trophy was Jim and Janice Gerdemann of Yachats for R. ellipticum , the Best Lepidote Species.
Rhododendron foliage provides year-round interest in the garden and can be as varied as the trusses themselves. This year marked the first time rhododendron foliage was judged during a Siuslaw Chapter show. The Best Small Foliage on a Hybrid Rhody was 'Noyo Brave' crossed R. proteoides picked by Larry and Sandy Jensen; the Best Large Foliage on a Hybrid was R. basilicum entered by Gene Cockeram of Florence. The Best Small Foliage on a Species Rhododendron was R. pronum shown by the Smiths and the Best Foliage on a Large Species was R. arizelum , also entered by the Smiths.

* Name is not registered.