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Potomac Valley Chapter
of the
American Rhododendron Society
Newsletter: Spring 2003

Chapter Calendar

  • March 30, 2003 1:00 - 4:00 PM Regular Meeting, National Arboretum: "Paul's Mountain"
  • April 24 - 27, 2003 District Meeting in Annapolis Joint Chapter Event
  • May 10, 2003 Annual Flower Show at the National Arboretum

"Paul's Mountain" by Paul James     Our March 30th Program

Paul's Mountain We are very excited to have Paul James as the speaker for our next meeting on March 30th at the National Arboretum. Paul will be sharing his beautiful slides and humorous commentary as he tells us about the plants he raises on "Paul's Mountain". Paul and his family own on the order of 1000 scenic acres of land adjacent to the Blue Ridge Parkway outside of Roanoke Virginia and this land has been under Paul's watchful eye for most of his lifetime. A view of his property shown to the right was taken on the hillside just below his lovely home. Paul carefully tends a number of acres of manicured garden on the knolls near his house but his "wild garden" extends all the way to the top of that mountain on the horizon.

Delp's Bloodline In rhododendron circles, Paul is probably best known for his extensive collection of the Delp and Haag hybrids. He has been testing these plants as well as many other selections over the years, planting them along trails that were once cow paths that traversed the slopes. Paul has generously donated many cuttings of his favorite hybrids which we now have rooted for our District IX plant sale.

In addition to rhododendrons, Paul has incredible collections of azaleas, maples, conifers, perennials... almost everything imaginable. In the wilder areas on his property, he has wonderful stands of native wildflowers including trillium species, wild gingers, orchids, and native azaleas.

Paul's Rock Garden Behind Paul's house is his spectacular rock garden with an enormous collection of rare and dwarf plants. The rock garden begins at the stone wall shown to the left and then continues up the hillside behind his home. Because of the elevation change at the wall and along the winding trails it seems as if all those choice treasures tucked among the rocks are perfectly displayed and practically at eyelevel.

A Stroll in Paul's Garden Whether walking with Paul in his garden as pictured to the right or hiking with him along some remote trail in the wilderness, it is like having a botanical reference book as a companion. Paul seems to know everything about every plant that grows, and whatever it is I am sure he is growing it there in Roanoke. You won't want to miss this meeting and the opportunity to be thoroughly entertained by a master plantsman. Our social hour will begin at 1:00 PM and we will have a short business meeting before turning things over to Paul at about 2:00 PM. Afterwards, we expect to have some books for sale that were donated by a woman in the Rock Garden Society, thanks to Eugene Vigil and Harry Dewey. Mark your calendars!

Directions to the Arboretum: The National Arboretum Administration Building is located in northeast Washington D.C. at 24th and R Street off of Bladensburg Road. For the best travel routes to the Arboretum depending upon the direction you come from, check out the Arboretum website: www.usna.usda.gov

Refreshment Duty: People whose last names end in Q through Z, please bring a goodie for the dessert table.

Assorted News

District IX Meeting - Registration Deadline March 24th
If you haven't sent in your registration for the District IX meeting in Annapolis, it is not too late but the deadline is getting close. We understand from the hotel that all of the standard Queen sized rooms are booked at this time but there are still King Suites available. If you have lost your registration materials or need information, contact Norman Beaudry at BeauNorm @ aol.com or Don Hyatt Don @ donaldhyatt.com. Check our chapter website for any late-breaking developments: www.donaldhyatt.com/ARSPVC

Happy Birthday Margaret!
We all want to wish Margaret White a Happy Birthday at the end of this month. She will turn 97 years young! Also, we will be starting up our "Friends of Margaret" group again in April so we hope some of you will join us this year. Weather permitting, we meet on the first and third Wednesdays of each month, arriving after rush hour at about 9:30 to 10:00 AM and working until we get tired. As you know, Margaret has given her 13-acre estate to Fairfax County as a horticulture park so we are helping her with chores like pruning, raking, weeding, deadheading, and of course planting a few more rhododendrons.

Wishing Good Friends a Speedy Recovery!
A number of good friends in our chapter have fallen this winter so be sure to watch your step. Margaret White is making excellent progress after additional surgery in January to repair the hip she broke at Thanksgiving. Margaret Church has been recovering at home after a fall and we hope to see her back in action soon. Delores Carter should be coming home soon from the Easton Hospital where she has been recuperating after breaking her hip in February. We wish them all a speedy recovery.

Expressions of Sympathy
Our chapter has lost some very dear friends this winter. Joe Miller lost his loving wife Nuran in January. In February, Carol Segree lost her husband Calvin and Peggy (Sue) Lombardo lost her husband Pat. George Miller, one of the founding members of our Potomac Valley Chapter, lost his wife Betty. Also, Jane Goodrich lost her son-in-law, Ray Coggin, husband of her daughter Anne. We also heard that Leona Stewart, wife of the late Clyde Stewart passed away as well. To these good friends and to their families, we extend our most sincere sympathy and wish them comfort during this difficult time.

The Sandwich Club by Norman Beaudry

Studying Rhododendrons at Heritage During the early 1980?s, my wife and I started visiting the Heritage Plantation in Sandwich, Massachusetts, first with Marshall and Peggy Stilwell and later with Don Kellam and Richard and Jeanne Gustafson. Here we met a dozen or so fanciers studying a group of ?Dexter Grandchildren? rhododendrons hybridized for the most part by Jack Cowles and Charles Owen Dexter?s gardener Tony Consolini. These rhododendron hybrids were allowed to grow in the bramble rich wilds and woods surrounding Heritage Plantation for twenty years entirely on their own.

Drs. Don Kellam and Dick Gustafson, were primarily responsible for bringing this group of rhododendrons to the attention of the ARS membership. At the 1988 ARS meeting in Williamsburg, VA, they urged the Board of Directors to allow them to form a group to select and propagate the best of these hybrids growing at and around Heritage Plantation. The ARS Board enthusiastically agreed and a group ?The Sandwich Club? was formed. Don and Dick were named cochairman and with the help of the Heritage Plantation and its horticulturist, Jeanie Gillis, the Sandwich Club was allowed to take cuttings of promising material for distribution to the SC membership and ARS gardens.

Cape White

Consolini's Windmill

This year on May 31, we meet again at the Heritage Plantation antique automobile Shaker Barn for the fifteenth time. Following a slide show of many of the available hybrids, an auction will be held for 150 to 250 selected rooted cuttings. The proceeds of the auction will be donated to Heritage in support of a student intern. The afternoon is spent with a group walk in the woods evaluating old and new seedlings that have merit and have not been propagated. All identified plants will be tagged for collection in July or August for next years auction.

One goal for the Sandwich Club is to provide plant material for evaluation. Already several hybrids have been named such as Cape White, Consolini?s Windmill and Bellringer. These hybrids, as well as a group of a hundred others are being evaluated as garden plants. The club has put together a database of fifteen hundred plants including registered and unregistered plant names, their Heritage Plantation numbers, synonyms and digital photographs for identification.

Please join us in Sandwich this year. You can join the Sandwich Club by sending $5.00 to Dick Gustafson. Five dollars will buy you a lifetime membership. Most of the attendees stay at the Shady Nook Motel in Sandwich. It is reasonably priced and clean. Their telephone is 1-508-888-0409. For further information, you can contact Norman Beaudry at:

BeauNorm @ aol.com.

And the Winner Is...

The American Rhododendron Society has announced the 2003 Rhododendrons of the Year for our region. Plants were chosen at the previous ARS National Meeting by a small committee that reviewed good doers in each district. The winners this year are: Solidarity (Elepidote Rhododendron), Windbeam (Lepidote Rhododendron), Blaauws Pink (Evergreen Azalea), and Cecile (Deciduous Azalea).

At our January meeting, we also held an informal survey to identify the proven performers for the Potomac Valley Chapter. The top three winners in each category are listed below along with a host of Honorable Mentions to give our Top-20 favorites in each section. With the exception of the Evergreen Azaleas which are universally great here, all of the national winners were among our favorites too. If you don't already grow these plants, add them to your collection!
Elepidote Rhododendrons:
1) Cadis (pictured)
2) Ken Janek
3) Janet Blair
Honorable Mention:
Bellringer, Ben Mosely, Betty Hume, Caroline, County of York, Fantastica, fortunei, GiGi, makinoi, metternichii, Mist Maiden, Roseum Elegans, Scintillation, Shazaam, Solidarity, Tom Everett, Wheatley

Lepidote Rhododendrons:
1) Mary Fleming
2) PJM
3) Olga Mezitt
Honorable Mention: Aglo, April White, Blue Ridge, carolinianum, Cornell Pink, Crater Lake, dauricum, Dora Amateis, Faisa, Ginny Gee, Kehr's (Epoch x augustinii), keiskei, Malta, Pioneer, 24 Karat, Yellow Eye, Windbeam
Olga Mezitt
Evergreen Azaleas:
1) Elsie Lee
2) Nancy of Robinhill
3) Koromo Shikibu and Hardy Gardenia (tie)
Honorable Mention:

Ben Morrison, Betty Anne Voss, Conversation Piece, Dayspring, Fairfax, Girard's Hot Shot, Glacier, Hershey Red, Marion Lee, Martha Hitchcock, Pink Pearl, Rose Greeley, Rosebud, Sir Robert, Treasure, Vuyk?s Scarlet
Nancy of Robinhill
Deciduous Azaleas:
1) calendulaceum and Gibraltar (tie)
2) Mount Saint Helens
3) prunifolium
Honorable Mention:

arborescens, atlanticum, austrinum, Cecile, Chetco, cumberlandense (bakeri), Goldflakes, Marina, My Mary, Old Gold, periclymenoides (nudiflorum), schlippenbachii, Sweet Christy (pictured), vaseyi, viscosum, Weston's Lollipop
Sweet Christy

Copyright © Donald W. Hyatt