ASA Convention 2000 overview and schedule

ASA 2000 Convention  ||
Registration | Schedule | Overview

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The Louisiana Chapter of the Azalea Society of America, in a repeat performance of their outstanding 1999 Convention in Mobile, Alabama, will be hosting the 2000 Convention in Charleston, South Carolina.

March 22-24, 2000
Early registration is highly recommended, as it may be limited.
Holiday Inn Convention Center/Airport
6099 Fain Street, I-26 & W. Aviation Ave.
North Charleston, SC 29406
1. Call 1-843-744-1621 to reserve your room before February 22, 2000 at our single/double occupancy rate of $75 + tax (the toll-free Holiday Inn number will not give this rate). The hotel provides complimentary 24-hour shuttle service to the airport.

2. Mail the Registration Form and your check or money order payable to Louisiana Chapter/ASA to

Jerry Ladner, Treasurer
11300 Hughes Road
Gulfport MS 39503

Telephone: 1-228-832-0236

(Hint: select and copy the Registration Form here, paste it into an empty email or other document, fill it out, print it, and mail it with your check or money order.)

Registration Form


Mail Address:

Telephone:                        Email:


Name for first badge:

Name for second badge:

Convention fees (per person):

[ ] Full fee before February 22, 2000 @ $115 (or pick and choose)

[ ] Convention registration @ $25 (no tours or meals)

[ ] Thursday tours and lunch @ $30

[ ] Friday tours and lunch @ $30
[ ] Friday evening banquet @ $30

[ ] Full fee after February 22, 2000 @ $125 (no pick and choose)

Total fee: $ (         ) x (    ) persons = $         enclosed.


Wednesday, March 22
2:00-4:00 Board of Directors Meeting
2:00-4:30 Registration and Plant Sale
Dinner on your own
5:30-6:30 Social Hour and Plant Sale
6:45-7:30 Azaleas in the Charleston Area, Kathy Woolsey
7:45-8:30 How Azaleas Came To Our Gardens, Donald Voss
8:45-9:30 Azalea Diversity–Back To The Future, Hank Bruno

Thursday, March 23
7:30-4:30 Magnolia Plantation
Middleton Place (lunch)
Bus Tour of Historical Downtown Charleston
Dinner on your own and Plant Sale
5:30-6:30 Social Hour and Plant Sale
6:45-7:30 Native Azaleas, Jeff Beasley
7:45-8:30 Azalea Hybridizing, Fred & Jean Minch
8:45-9:30 Commercial Criteria for Azalea Evaluation, Maarten van der Giessen

Friday, March 24
7:30-4:30 Mepkin Abbey
Carolina Nursery (lunch)
Cypress Gardens
Bus Tour of Historic Summerville
5:30-6:30 Social Hour and Plant Sale
6:30 Banquet
7:45 Building A New Public Garden, Barbara Stump
8:30 Business Meeting

Saturday, March 25
8:00 Board of Directors Meeting
8:00-10:00 Plant Sales and Good-Byes



Robert Lee
Independence, Louisiana

[Ed. Note: Quoted material about garden tour destinations is taken from the Charleston, South Carolina, Area Official Visitors Guide.]

The annual meeting and convention of the Azalea Society of America, to be held in Charleston, South Carolina, on March 22-24, 2000, is going to be an adventurous and exciting series of events. According to the official visitors’ guide for the Charleston area, “Charleston is America’s most beautifully preserved architectural and historic treasure, with a rich, 300-year heritage. Since its founding in 1670, Charleston has played an important and often pivotal role in the course of America.” The people in Charleston have been very helpful and friendly with the planning of this convention, and are elated that the Azalea Society of America has chosen their area for this national convention.


A wonderful array of knowledgeable speakers has been assembled for the evening lectures/slide presentations. These are informative speakers, and the time and energy that they put into each of their presentations will not only be a labor of love, but also a gift of themselves and their expertise about azaleas to the membership. Many thanks to the speakers. They are:

Wednesday night: 1) Kathy Woolsey, Horticulturist at Cypress Gardens, Azaleas in the Charleston Area. 2) Donald H. Voss, Vienna, Virginia, How Azaleas Came to Our Gardens. 3) Hank Bruno, Trails Manager at Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain, Georgia, Azalea Diversity–Back to the Future.

Thursday night: 1) Jeff Beasley, co-owner of Transplant Nursery, Lavonia, Georgia, Native Azaleas. 2) Fred & Jean Minch, Puyallup, Washington, Azalea Hybridizing. 3) Maarten van der Giessen, Van der Giessen Nursery, Semmes, Alabama, Commercial Criteria for Azalea Evaluation.

Friday night banquet: Barbara Stump, Editor of THE AZALEAN and graduate student at Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, Texas, Building a New Public Garden: The Ruby Mize Azalea Garden From The Ground Up.


When planning places to tour in the Charleston area, there was one major obstacle: too many interesting places to tour, and not enough time. With only two days of scheduled tours for the convention, tough choices had to be made. Convention attendees should try to schedule a couple of days before or after the convention so they can visit more of this fascinating area.

On March 23, 2000, bright and early, the buses will leave for the first day of scheduled tours. The first stop will be Magnolia Plantation. Again, from the Visitors’ Guide, “This 17th century estate, aquired by the Drayton family (whose heirs still own it) features the year-round bloom of America’s oldest garden (c. 1680), boasting one of the largest collections of azaleas and camellias in the country. Highlights include the pre-Revolutionary War plantation house with museum-quality early American antiques, biblical gardens, antebellum cabin, nature trail, wildlife observation tower, gift shop, gallery of a nature and wildlife artist, snack shop, canoe and bike rentals, and more. Bird walks Saturday a.m.” According to Fred C. Galle’s Azaleas, the first Southern Indian type azaleas to be grown outdoors in the southern U.S. were planted by Rev. John G. Drayton at Magnolia Gardens.

Next on the tour will be Middleton Place: “A carefully preserved 18th century plantation and a national historic landmark, Middleton Place encompasses America’s oldest landscaped gardens. Rare camellias, azaleas, magnolias and ancient live oaks accent a landscape design that remains magnificent all year. The plantation stableyards are complete with animals, and craftspeople demonstrating the tasks vital to plantation life.” Lunch will be served at Middleton Place Restaurant.

To conclude Wednesday’s tour, if time permits, a bus tour of Charleston’s Historic District has been scheduled. We will enjoy the splendor of Charleston’s stately colonial and antebellum homes that have survived for centuries. Commentary by a licensed guide will include 300 years of tradition and history along with Charleston’s role in the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. Sites on the tour includes mansions on the Battery, Rainbow Row, and St. Michael’s Church (c.1761), along with many gardens.

Friday morning, after an evening of informative speakers, socializing and a good night’s rest, we will begin our second day of tours in the Monck’s Corner, South Carolina, area. Our first stop will be the azalea and camellia gardens at the Mepkin Abbey. “Mepkin, located on the highest bluff on the Cooper River, was originally the home of Henry Laurens, the great South Carolina statesman who spent much of his life experimenting with exotic botanical specimens. In the twentieth century, Mepkin was purchased (along with four other plantations) by Henry Luce. He and his wife Clare Booth Luce turned to Loutrel Briggs, Charleston’s noted landscape architect, for assistance in developing the gardens we will be seeing. In 1949 Clare Booth Luce gave the property to the Catholic Church, and it has been a monastery ever since.” Presently, the garden at Mepkin Abbey, under the direction of Jim Martin, is being developed into a botanical garden.

The next stop will be Carolina Nurseries, Inc., the largest nursery in South Carolina. This nursery is privately owned and operated by a small employee group. The nursery totals 700 acres with approximately 280 acres presently in containerized nursery stock production. During peak seasons, employment usually exceeds 400 people. Lunch will be served, and J. Guy of Carolina Nurseries will speak on the azalea hybrids grown at the nursery.

After lunch we will be on our way to Cypress Gardens. “Here you can stroll along four miles of walking trails that wind through the area’s cypress swamp…Relax in a unique and exciting butterfly house which features a vast array of native butterflies and the plants they thrive upon…Or explore an aquarium that offers an up-close look at the amphibians, reptiles, and fish indigenous to the cypress swamp. For many visitors, Cypress Gardens proves to be their favorite experience, because it allows one to interact with the area’s beauty!”

We will end this day of tours with a garden bus tour of Historic Summerville, Charleston’s Victorian village. Our guides will board the motor coaches as we arrive in the town, just beyond the Ashley River plantations. In 1935, Summerville began to be called “Flowertown in the Pines.” Winding our way past Victorian houses, we will hear stories of the town and the people who moved to this “summer village” to escape the diseases of the low country. Nature permitting, the azaleas and dogwoods will be in full bloom at this time.

Our convention headquarters is located at the Holiday Inn Convention Center/Airport, 6099 Fain Street – Airport I-26 & West Aviation Avenue, North Charleston, SC. Complimentary 24-hour shuttle to and from the airport is provided. To make room reservations, please call 1-843-744-1621. Room reservation ($75.00 plus tax) must be made no later than February 22, 2000 to assure room availability. Registration to the convention may be limited; early registration is highly recommended.

For additional information or comments, please contact either Jerry Ladner at 1-228-832-0236,, or Robert Lee at Hope to see you in Charleston next spring.