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Potomac Valley Chapter
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American Rhododendron Society
Newsletter: Fall 2005

Our Convention is Coming! HELP!!

Our big chapter activity this year is the joint 2006 ARS/ASA Convention that we host in Rockville, MD, this coming May 12 – 15, 2006. This is a major undertaking. We could get anywhere from 300 to 500 attendees, so we will need the help of many, many people to make this convention a success.

Much of this newsletter is devoted to our current convention plans. Details will appear in the winter issues of both the ARS Journal and the Azalean, but we thought you deserved an advanced peak at the schedule and the incredible plant lists. Look over this issue and consider volunteering for some of the activities. We desperately need your help.

There are three activities that will really require a large number of volunteers:

  1. The Plant Sale
  2. Garden Tours
  3. The Flower and Photography / Art Shows

The plant sale will really have three phases: setup, sales, and the takedown. We will need to transport thousands of rhododendrons and azalea from various places in Maryland and Virginia, move them from trucks to the plant sale room at the DoubleTree Hotel in Rockville. Then we need to organize that room by hybridizer and mark plants with prices. During the sale, we will need people to assist with traffic control, as well as others who will serve as cashiers and assistants. When the convention is over, we need to clear out the plant sale room divide up the remaining plants, and transport them back to holding areas for each of the participating chapters.

The plants we have underway for the convention really look great. Many of the rhododendron cuttings we potted up in small gallon-size containers last October have actually set buds this summer. I hope they are in full bloom for the convention. The azalea cuttings we potted up in 4” pots have grown like crazy also. Most of those are budded, too.

The second major task is relates to the garden tours. We expect to have as many as 8 buses on both Saturday and Sunday. On each bus, we need at least one bus captain and preferably an assistant too. We need people to help us get the lunches and drinks loaded on the buses before we start, and then assist the bus driver with directions, and also keep people on schedule. We are trying to avoid having more than two buses in any individual garden at a time. We would also like to have people stationed in some of the gardens to assist with refreshments.

The third major volunteer event is the Flower Show and the Photography/Art Show. We will need our people to bring flowers and photographs to the DoubleTree on Friday, but we will also need people to assist us with staging of those events.

For the Flower Show, we need people to help us fill bottles with water and help arrange them by color in the room as trusses arrive, and then more people to assist as the judging process begins later that evening.

For details on the convention, please check out the convention website:


Chapter News:

In Memoriam: Dr. Max Byrkit

We sadly must report the passing of Dr. Max Byrkit this fall on October 9, 2005, of heart failure. Pictured to the right is Max in the garden of Paul James taken this past May on our Chapter field trip. Max was an avid hybridizer, and has produced some lovely hardy hybrids at his home in Hagerstown. Max was a past president of the Potomac Valley Chapter, a Bronze Medal winner, a generous donor to our seed exchange, and a great friend.

I hope that you have seedlings on the way from some of Max’s crosses. Every time I look at my Max Byrkit plants, I not only see lovely rhododendrons, but I am also reminded of his incredible sense of humor and warm personality that made Max such a special person. He will certainly be missed, and our sympathies go out to Max’s wife, Carol, and to all of his family and many friends.

Copyright © Donald W. Hyatt