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Potomac Valley Chapter
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American Rhododendron Society
Newsletter: Summer


  • September 19, 2004 1:00 - 4:00 PM Regular meeting at National Arboretum
  • October 9, 2004 4:30 - 8:00 PM Fall Banquet - JRs Stockyards Inn, McLean, VA.
  • January 16, 2005 1:00 - 4:00 Regular Meeting, National Arboretum
  • March 20 2005 1:00 - 4:00 Regular Meeting, National Arboretum
  • April 30 - May 2, 2005 ARS Convention - Victoria, British Columbia
  • May 7, 2005 Chapter Flower Show, National Arboretum
  • May 8 - 9, 2005 Chapter Field Trip to the Roanoke area
  • May 12 - 15, 2005 District 9 Meeting, Westminster, MD

Ed Reiley: "Rhododendrons and Thoughts on Hybridizing"

At the National Arboretum on September 19, 2004 from 1:00 - 4:00 PM

Our next meeting will be at the National Arboretum on Sunday, September 19th, so bring your questions to Ed Reiley, our resident expert who recently retired as ARS President and received the ARS Gold Medal. Ed will speak on rhododendrons and directions in hybridizing.

Over many years, Ed has been developing some rugged new hybrids in the lovely garden he and his wife Mary keep in Woodsboro, MD. Ed has many amazing crosses including bright yellow hybrids of tender plants like Crest' and 'Odee Wright', which have now survived heat, drought, and winters of -10 F. Ed is now evaluating second generation hybrids of his yellows crossed with 'Janet Blair' too. Those seedlings have large flowers in blends of pink, yellow and apricot. We hope Ed will introduce some of his hybrids soon but you can see them and his garden at the District 9 meeting in May.

Ed's expanded and revised edition of his excellent book, Success with Rhododendrons and Azaleas is hot off the presses. We should have a few for sale and have asked Ed if he would autograph them for you. The new edition is completely updated with plant lists for our region and lots of practical advice on planting, propagation, and care, plus more pictures too.

After the program we will get together to finish our Van Veen group order to see if we can meet the minimums. Bring your order forms.

We will also have a cutting exchange for the large leaf rhododendrons at this meeting too. If you have cuttings to share, please bring 3 to 5 of them in a plastic bag and label with the variety. Rare forms may be auctioned off.

The Arboretum is located in northeast Washington D.C. at 24th and R Street.

Refreshments: We ask those whose last names start with A through H to please bring a treat.

Annual Fall Banquet: John Weagle -"Northern Gold Rush!"

"The great plants grown by keeners in Nova Scotia, Hokkaido and Scandinavia. A veritable treasure trove for the hybridizer, north and south, sadly ignored by many hybridizers." - J. Weagle

JRs Stockyards Map Where: JR's Stockyards at Tysons Corner
When: Saturday, October 9th 4:30 - 8 PM
Cost: $33.00 Prime Rib or Grilled Salmon

This is a repeat of last year's popular menu which includes choice of entre plus a tossed salad with house dressing, chefs choice of baked potato or vegetable of the day, fresh bread, and beverage.

We are very excited to have John Weagle as our banquet speaker. John is a world renowned horticulturist who has won many prestigious awards including the Hybridizer's Award from the Rhododendron Society of Canada for his many contributions to the genus. John's talk is titled "Northern Gold Rush!" He will tell us about some great new rhododendrons, from tiny dwarfs to huge giants, that he is currently working with in his far northern zone. After seeing John's pictures and hearing his expert commentary, we will all be rushing north to get those plants for our own gardens.

John started growing plants as a young child in Halifax and over the years has tried to raise almost every plant that exists. From all reports, he apparently succeeded! John works for a nursery in British Columbia as well as a horticultural supply and seed company in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He and his associate Ken Shannik operate four separate gardens in Canada where they have amassed an incredible collection of hardy azaleas and rhododendrons, and some tender species too, but also a wide range of herbaceous and woody plants.

John is an accomplished hybridizer. He has traveled to places like the wilderness island of Hokkaido, the most northern part of Japan, and parts of Scandinavia to collect many rare and extremely hardy azaleas and rhododendrons to use in his work. You will be amazed at his gorgeous new hybrids and those of other Nova Scotia people like Gable expert Captain Dick Steele, and of course, those exciting introductions from abroad.

Happy Hour and Plant Auction:
Before dinner, enjoy a drink or two from the cash bar while Don Hyatt auctions off a few choice plants to help cover our speaker's expenses. The auction will begin after 5:00 PM and we should eat by 6:00 PM.

Directions to JRs Stockyards Inn:
JRs Stockyards Inn is conveniently located off of International Drive adjacent to Tysons Corner Center in Northern Virginia. From the Beltway (I-495), take exit 47A onto Leesburg Pike (Route 7) heading toward Tysons. Stay to the right and at the second stoplight (just past the entrance to Tysons Corner Center), turn right onto International Drive. At the next intersection, turn left onto Fletcher Street between the Silver Diner and Chevy Chase Bank. JRs Stockyards is on the right, just past the bank.

Registration Deadline: October 1, 2004
Make checks payable to Potomac Valley Chapter ARS and mail with the enclosed registration form to our Chapter Treasurer, Phyllis Rittman. Dont forget to indicate your entre preferences.

Captain Dick Steel Receives Canada's Highest Honor

We wish to congratulate Richard M. Steele, C.M., of Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia, who on July 29th was appointed to the Order of Canada for his work in the genus rhododendron. It is their country's highest honor.

Many of our older members will recall Captain Steele's presentation to our chapter in the late 1970's when he introduced us to the hybridizing efforts of his late friend Joe Gable. His memorable talk really started our chapter's interest in the Gable heritage and resulted in the formation of the Gable Study Group which was able to document so much of Joe Gable's work. Dick Steele's contribution to the rhododendron world extends way beyond the Canadian border and we are grateful. Congratulations!

Convention 2006 Update

Plans for the 2006 ARS/ASA Convention are coming together but we will need volunteers. This is a multi-chapter event sponsored by three ARS Chapters, Potomac Valley, Mason Dixon, Middle Atlantic, and the Brookside Gardens Chapter ASA. However, the sheer numbers of people we will need to put on this event is overwhelming so we may be calling on you!

Our next big project set for Saturday, October 23rd, which will be a "potting party" at Marshy Point Nursery. The Van Veen Nursery will be sending over 1000 rooted rhododendron cuttings that we must pot up so they can be grown on for the convention. If you can help us out, please call Don Hyatt for more details.

Raising plants for the convention is a major operation. In addition to the rhododendrons, we have several thousand seedlings of native plants like the rare red maximum and a red vaseyi on the way for banquet favors. We just started 3000 cuttings of local azalea hybrids for the sale too.

When the convention arrives, will need 20 to 30 people to help move plants from growing areas to the hotel sale room. When the sale is actually open, we will need 8 to 10 people there at all times to assist with things like being cashiers, verifying purchases, helping with traffic, and keeping plants organized.

During the garden tours, we will need several people at each garden to assist the hosts with crowd management and refreshments. We anticipate as many as 8 buses on each tour day, so that means we need at least 8 bus captains familiar with the gardens and the routes.

Help! We are still searching for a short, catchy theme for our convention. Considering our proposed speakers, tours, and plants under propagation, we seem to have three main focal areas: 1) wonderful legacies left by our ARS and ASA luminaries like Joe Gable and George Harding, 2) exciting plants of the future developed by local hybridizers, and 3) rare selections of choice rhododendrons and azaleas from the wild. If you have some thoughts for a theme that could pull all of these ideas together, please let Don Hyatt know.

How to Root Rhododendron Cuttings

If you haven't had success rooting rhododendron cuttings, check out Don Hyatt's technique:
Rooting Rhododendron Cuttings

Van Veen Plant Order

Check out the possibilities for our Chapter Group order of yearling ordered through Van Veen Nursery:
Van Veen Group Order
Copyright © Donald W. Hyatt