Convention 2001

2001 convention

Registration | Schedule | Getting There | Overview | Related Pages


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See native azaleas in the mountains, see public and private gardens, hear talks about natives and other azaleas, renew old friendships and make new ones, buy great azaleas at great prices.
June 14-17, 2001 (Thursday noon-Sunday noon)
University of North Carolina-Asheville
Asheville, NC 28804
1. Print the registration form, and fill it out completely.

2. Mail it with your check or money order payable to ASA Convention to

Denise Stelloh, Convention Registrar
585 Ransier Drive
Hendersonville NC 28739

Telephone: 1-828-697-9959

Last minute? Call or e-mail Denise, and bring your filled out form to the Dining Hall on Thursday afternoon.

Meals are served cafeteria style, with a salad bar, a choice of entrees, and many choices of side dishes, drinks and desserts. All meals except the Saturday evening banquet are included in one $60 price. Meals begin with Thursday lunch and continue through Sunday lunch, and include box lunches on the tours, with vegetarian box lunches available on request. There is no refund for meals you miss.

If you choose to not buy the meals package, you may buy box lunches for $10 each for the tours, and there are many restaurants within several miles.

Housing is in Mills Hall, with overflow housing in Founders Hall. Both are air-conditioned, with elevator access to the various floors, and are adjacent to the dining hall. They are also within easy walking distance of the University of North Carolina Asheville Botanical Gardens, a tranquil 10 acre native plant sanctuary. The housing is about 30 steps lower than the dining hall, with stairs between the two levels and a ramp.

The rooms are arranged as two-room suites with a shared bath, with each room sleeping two people on single beds. Because of the way the rooms are being assigned, you will probably have a private bath if you sign up for a single at $33 or a double at $25 per person. You can guarantee a private bath by signing up for both rooms of a suite at $40 per person, single or double, until we run out of suites. The fees include one set of bed linens and towels per person, with an extra set available at $5 if needed. You may register for less than all three nights. You may not change the type of room (single, double or suite) from one night to the next.

Each room is wired for CATV and the Internet, and can have a telephone. Each building has a pay phone.

If you plan on taking some pre- or post-convention tours in the area, you may sign up for your room a few days early or a few days later. There are also a number of nearby motels. Contact Denise Stelloh at for details.

Plants, lots of them, will be on sale. Sizes range from seedlings and rooted cuttings to specimen plants, and we will include many varieties of deciduous and evergreen azaleas. They will be available at fixed low prices, at a live auction, and at several silent auctions.
The plant sale is being advertised locally as open to the public from 9 am to noon on Sunday, so be sure to to select your plants before then!
The plants include some rooted cuttings and layers, along with several specimen plants, of R. eastmanii, the species azalea recently discovered in South Carolina! Outside of limited distribution between plantsmen, this is the first time R. eastmanii has been available for sale.

Quilt.We have commissioned a truly magnificent quilted wall hanging, entitled Delectable Mountain Azaleas. The quilt features R. vaseyi and other native azaleas worked into the very old and well known (at least to quilters) Delectable Mountains quilt design.

Teresa Reilly making the azalea quilt. Photo by John Brown.


The quilt was designed and created for us by Teresa Reilly, a renowned quilter, the author of Five Seasons of Quilts, and a teacher and lecturer on quilting. When the winning raffle ticket is drawn Saturday evening, one lucky attendee will be going home with an heirloom!

Tours (each tour is a full day long), are :

  • Tour B: Biltmore Estate and Gardens, NC Arboretum. We will have time to tour both the house and the gardens. We will then visit the North Carolina Arboretum and its National Native Azalea Repository.
  • Tour C: Copper Bald (14 person maximum). We will take a strenuous hike on the Appalachian Trail to see an amazing variety of R. calendulaceum, R. arborescens, R. viscosum, R. bakeri, interspecific hybrids and wildflowers.
  • Tour H: Hendersonville Gardens. We will visit a variety of private gardens, and then see native azaleas and wildflowers in their natural habitat on a short easy hike.
  • Tour P: Blue Ridge Parkway, (North Carolina Arboretum on Friday). We will drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway, with stops and short hikes to see native azaleas and wildflowers. On Friday, we will also visit the North Carolina Arboretum and its National Native Azalea Repository.
  • Tour W: Wayah Bald, Blue Ridge Parkway. We will see R. calendulaceum on the Wayah Bald access road, and a breathtaking display of R. arborescens at the top, with a short optional hike along the Appalachian Trail. We will return along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
  • pre- and post-convention garden tours, on your own

The tours are repeated on Friday and Saturday, except for tour P, which does not include the visit to the North Carolina Arboretum on Saturday.

Changes to your choice of tours can be made until the buses leave, as long as there is room. We also reserve the right to change the day you take a tour, and to change the specific tour itineraries, based on attendance and on what is in bloom.

Refunds are given in full before May 1, 2001, 50% during May, and not at all after June 1, 2001.

Emergency contact numbers during the convention will be 828-251-6557 from 8 to 5, and 828-255-7163 at other times.

Getting There

Flying: The Asheville airport (AVL), served by Delta Airlines and USAir, is located 10 miles south of the University of North Carolina-Asheville campus on I-26. Public transportation to the campus is available ($0.85, about 2 hours), you can take a taxicab ($20, about 30 minutes), or you can rent a car and drive to the campus.

The Greenville-Spartanburg airport (GSP), served by many major airlines, is 70 miles south of the University of North Carolina-Asheville campus. Because of the distance, it may be least expensive to rent a car and drive to the campus, which will take about an hour and a half. From the airport, take I-85 north to I-26 west to US 240 east, and follow the further directions below.

Driving: Asheville is in the western corner of North Carolina, near the intersection of I-26 with I-40 and US 240. From the east or west, take I-40 to I-240. From the north, take I-81 to I-77 to I-40 west, or take I-81 to US 19/23 south. From the south, take I-85 north to I-26 west to US 240 east.

From the intersection of I-26 and I-40, take US 240 east to Asheville, bear left onto US 19/23 north (a left exit – do not take US 19/23 business or south) and follow signs to University of North Carolina-Asheville (click for more detailed driving directions and maps). Once on campus, bear left to the dining hall on the left. Convention registration and check-in is in the entrance of the dining hall.

UNCA dining hall . . . ASA convention headquarters


Thursday, June 14, 2001
11:00-5:00 Check-in and Plant Sales – Dining Hall entrance
11:30-1:00 Lunch
2:00-4:00 Board of Directors Meeting – Rear Dining Hall
5:00-6:00 Social Hour and Plant Sales
6:00-7:00 Dinner
7:00-9:30 Presentations
Azalea Hybridizing and Seedling Selection, Robert (Buddy) Lee
Copper Bald: Azaleas and Allies, Ed Collins
Linwood Hardy Azaleas, Ted Stecki

Friday, June 15, 2001
6:30-7:30 Breakfast
7:30-5:00 Tours:
8:00-4:30 (B) Biltmore Estate, NC Arboretum
7:30-5:00 (C) Copper Bald
8:00-4:30 (H) Hendersonville Gardens
8:00-5:00 (P) Blue Ridge Parkway, NC Arboretum
7:30-5:00 (W) Wayah Bald, Blue Ridge Parkway
5:00-6:00 Social Hour and Plant Sales
6:00-7:00 Dinner
7:00-9:30 Presentations
Deciduous Azaleas – East Meets West, Joe Schild
The New Kurumes, David Sauer
Designing with Native Azaleas, Steve Brainerd

Saturday, June 16, 2001
6:30-7:30 Breakfast
7:30-5:00 Tours:
8:00-4:30 (B) Biltmore Estate, NC Arboretum
7:30-5:00 (C) Copper Bald
8:00-4:30 (H) Hendersonville Gardens
8:00-5:00 (P) Blue Ridge Parkway
7:30-5:00 (W) Wayah Bald, Blue Ridge Parkway
5:30-6:30 Social Hour and Plant Sales
6:30-7:30 Banquet
7:30-8:00 Plant Auction
8:00-10:00 Business Meeting and Keynote Presentation
The Best of the Best: In Search of Native Azaleas, Don Hyatt

Sunday, June 17, 2001
7:00-8:00 Breakfast
8:00-10:00 Board of Directors Meeting
8:00-11:00 Native Azalea Propagating Roundtable
8:00-12:00 Plant Sales and Good-Byes
11:30-12:30 Lunch


Celebrating Native Azaleas – ASA 2001 Convention – Asheville, North Carolina

When William Bartram explored the Blue Ridge Mountains, he wrote in his book Travels in 1791 “. . . suddenly opening to view from dark shades, we were alarmed with apprehension of the hill being set on fire. This is certainly the most gay and brilliant flowering shrub yet known.”. The shrub was R. calendulaceum.

R. calendulaceum on the Appalachian Trail (Bob Stelloh, Rob Eisenberg). Photo by Ed Collins.

R. calendulaceum and the other 15 azalea species native to North America (9 of them growing in the Blue Ridge Mountains), and a few of the other 2500 plant species native to this area, are the focus of the annual convention of the Azalea Society of America in Asheville, North Carolina on June 14-17, 2001.


Our convention headquarters is the dining hall of the beautifully landscaped campus of the University of North Carolina-Asheville, one mile north of downtown Asheville, North Carolina. We will register in its entrance hall, serve ourselves in its cafeteria, and eat and enjoy the evening meetings and presentations in its eating area.

Asheville is a marvelously interesting city to visit, with winding hilly streets and historic architectural gems, with hundreds of arts and crafts galleries and communities, outdoor recreational opportunities, and a variety of entertainment and night life. It was founded in 1792 in the valley formed by the French Broad and Swannanoa rivers between the Great Smoky and Blue Ridge Mountains.

With a population of around 70,000, Asheville is the largest city in western North Carolina. Called the “Paris of the South”, it has made a number of “top 10” lists: one of the ten healthiest places to live (Kiplinger, 1996); one of the ten best small Southern cities in which to live (Money Magazine, 1998); and one of the ten All-America Cities (National Civic League, 1997). At 2200′ elevation, Asheville in June may be as cool as 50F in the evening, and as warm as 90F during the day.

Plant diversity in the Asheville area is second only to the tropical rainforests, due to a unique combination of circumstances. Around 10 million years ago, land bridges connected Asia, America and Europe, and plants migrated freely. As the bridges disappeared and the climate changed, plants migrated to the eastern coasts of Asia and America for more reliable moisture. About 10 thousand years ago, glaciers pushed northern species south, leaving some of them here as the glaciers retreated. Finally, the mountain ridges, slopes, seeps, coves and valleys provide a a wide variety of habitats and microclimates due to the changes in moisture, drainage, temperature, and wind and sun exposure, all within very short distances of each other.

The end result is a marvelously varied assemblage of plant species, including hundreds found nowhere else or otherwise found only in the north. Many of these treasures are protected by being on public land, and are readily accessible on foot by way of the Appalachian Trail, and by car on the Blue Ridge Parkway and many connecting roads. At Fetterbush Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway, for example, you can park your car, walk across the road and touch three of the rarest woody plant species in the world while standing in one place (well, you might have to move your feet a little). Because it is such a good place for plants, it’s a good place for plant lovers as well. It’s why a number of plant scientists retired to the area, including two of the five directors of the US National Arboretum.

Tours expose you to a wide variety of these plants and other sights of Asheville and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Most of the tours include at least one stop to experience native azaleas, rhododendrons and other native plants in a wild setting. Each day-long tour is the same on Friday and on Saturday except for tour P, which does not visit the North Carolina Arboretum on Saturday.

As you can only take two of the five tours, consider coming a day or two before or after the convention, to take the other tours on your own. We have driving directions for the tours, nurseries and other area private gardens in the area.

Tour B: Biltmore Estate and Gardens, NC Arboretum (short drive, easy walks). We will take enough time to tour both the house and the gardens (we also have a limited number of reduced-cost tickets if you choose to visit the Biltmore Estate on your own). We will then visit the North Carolina Arboretum and its National Native Azalea Repository.

The Biltmore Estate was begun in 1887 by George Vanderbilt III on 125,000 acres of forest and farm land. The house, with a 390′ facade, 250 rooms and 4 acres of floor space, is the largest private house in America. After 1000 men worked on it for six years, the house was opened on Christmas eve of 1895. Expect to spend about 90 minutes on a guided tour of the house.

Used with permission from Biltmore Estate, Asheville, North Carolina.

Frederick Law Olmsted, best known for his design of New York’s Central Park, created a several hundred acre forest as the setting for this outstanding house, along with 10 acres of beautifully crafted formal gardens near the house. One feature of particular interest to us is the informal Azalea Garden, a short walk from the house, populated with native azaleas collected from the southeastern states by Chauncey Beadle in the early 1900s.

The North Carolina Arboretum is sited on 426 acres in a beautiful natural setting a few miles from Asheville. It features a number of formal gardens, miles of trails, an outstanding bonsai collection, and the National Native Azalea Repository. The repository, designed to preserve their germplasm, is a 5 acre naturalized setting planted with many hundreds of native azaleas representing 13 species.

Tour C: Copper Bald (14 persons – long drive, long hard walk, very nice plants). We will see an amazing variety of R. calendulaceum, R. arborescens, R. viscosum, R. bakeri, interspecific hybrids and wildflowers. After a long drive on the freeway, we go 11 miles up a winding road, a few miles past Wayah Bald to FS 711. After stopping along its 15 miles to see wildflowers on seeps and in wet shady coves beside the road, we go a few miles further to Burningtown Gap at 4236 feet on the Appalachian Trail. From there we hike a fairly strenous 1.7 miles up the Appalachian Trail to Copper Bald at 5256 feet (yes, that’s 1020 feet UP). After lunch at the “Mossy Log Cafe”, we then go off-trail to experience the azaleas close up.

Photo by Bob Stelloh


After spending about an hour and a half moseying around, we hike that same 1.7 miles and 1020 feet back down. As time permits, we will return part of the way on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

You should be in good shape, have hiking boots, and expect to get tired. With luck, now and then someone will stop to see an interesting plant and let you catch your breath on the way up.

Tour H: Hendersonville Gardens (medium drive, short easy walks, nice gardens). We visit a variety of private gardens, and then see native azaleas and wildflowers in their natural habitat on a short and fairly easy hike. Our first stop is the woodland garden of Denise & Bob Stelloh, with meandering trails through azaleas, rhododendrons, ornamental trees and wildflowers.

Garden entrance. Photo by Bob Stelloh

We then visit the garden of Mary & Ed Collins, with an outstanding waterfall, probably the largest collection of Cowles hybrid rhododendrons, and a large variety of azaleas, wildflowers and other ornamentals.

Collins waterfall and garden. Photo by Ed Collins

Our next stop is a spectacular rock garden with a roof garden, miniature mountains and streams, microclimates and delightful whimsies. It was created recently by Ev & Bruce Whittemore, and planted with an amazing collection of alpines, conifers and other plants.

Photo by Ev Whittemore


We then go a few more miles to the Dupont State Forest for a foray into the woods to see native azaleas and wildflowers in the wild.

Tour P: Blue Ridge Parkway (long drive, short easy walks, nice plants, beautiful vistas). We travel south along the Blue Ridge Parkway, with stops and short hikes to see native azaleas and wildflowers in the wild. We go up to the highest point on the parkway at Richland Balsam. On Friday only, we also visit the North Carolina Arboretum and its National Native Azalea Repository.

R. vaseyi, SR215 at Blue Ridge Parkway. Photo by Ed Collins.


The Blue Ridge Parkway is the “Appalachian Trail for cars”. It runs 469 miles along the ridges of the Appalachian Mountains, from Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina. The Parkway has frequent turnouts and scenic overlooks for seemingly endless view of parallel ranges, cross ranges and scattered hills, protected by an actively enforced prohibition against disturbing wild animals and plants in any way. Begun in 1935 as a Depression-era public works project, it was largely completed by 1967. Because of the range in elevation from 649 to 6,047 feet, peak bloom for a given plant species varies over a long period of time (about a day per 100 feet). Thus, R. calendulaceum blooms in mid-May at lower elevations, through mid-June at the higher elevations west of Asheville.

Tour W: Wayah Bald, Blue Ridge Parkway (long drive, short easy walks, breathtaking plants and vistas). We will see R. calendulaceum on the trip up to Wayah Bald, and a magnificent display of R. arborescens at the top, with a short optional hike along the Appalachian Trail.

R. arborescens, Wayah Bald. Photo by Bob Stelloh.


After a long drive on the freeway, we go about 10 miles along a winding picturesque road to the base of Wayah Bald. We will see large populations of R. calendulaceum along the even more winding road to the top. We then disembark and walk a few hundred yards to the observation tower to enjoy the vistas and some spectacular R. arborescens, and take a short optional hike along the Appalachian Trail for more R. arborescens and late-blooming wildflowers. We then return via the Blue Ridge Parkway.

R. vaseyi, Looking Glass Mountain. Photo by Ed Collins.


Speakers will share their extensive knowledge of native and evergreen azaleas with us each evening. We will also have a native azalea propagation round-table discussion on Sunday morning.

Buddy Lee (Azalea Hybridizing and Seedling Selection) has been involved with azaleas for almost 30 years, and is best known as the developer of the multi-season blooming Encore Azaleas. As the owner of Transcend Nursery, he is currently active in the development and testing of new evergreen azalea varieties. He is a long time member of the Louisiana Chapter of the ASA and has been their president, he coordinated the 1991 and 2000 annual conventions, and he is currently a director of the ASA.

Ed Collins (Copper Bald: Azaleas and Allies) became involved with rhododendrons and azaleas and plant societies in the mid 1960’s. He was the founder and long-time president of the Pine Barrens ARS chapter, president of the Philadelphia ARS chapter, chair of the ARS exhibit at the Philadelphia Flower Show for 13 years, chair of the 1976 ARS convention in Valley Forge, PA, and the ARS district director for 6 years. Since moving to Hendersonville in 1991 with over 3000 rhododendrons, he has been president of the Southeastern ARS chapter for 5 years, and ARS district director for another 4 years. He is now the chair of the Native Azalea Study Group of the Southeastern ARS chapter, co-chair of this ASA convention, and founder of the new Vaseyi Chapter of the ASA. Ed is also active in the Blue Ridge Horticultural Association, North Carolina Arboretum and the Master Gardeners of Hendersonville, maintains his 5 acre garden, hikes in search of native azaleas, and gives numerous lectures and presentations.

Ted Stecki (Linwood Hardy Azaleas) has been a part time nurseryman (Hill House Nursery) for over 30 years, propagating and growing rhododendrons and azaleas. He worked closely with Al Reid who developed the Linwood Hardies, evaluating his new crosses and compiling his data, including plants used for breeding , crosses, the naming/numbering methodology and what Al envisioned for the future. He is Budget and Finance Committe chair for the ARS, and a long time member of the ASA. If you want to know more about the Linwood Hardy azaleas – and you should – this program is for you!

Joe Schild (Deciduous Azaleas – East Meets West) has been an avid collector, propagator, grower and breeder of azaleas, and in particular the deciduous forms, for over 30 years. He has owned and operated a niche nursery for many years and continues to search for the best of the best to propagate. He is a past president of theTennessee Valley Chapter-ARS, current vice-president of the ASA, and president-elect of the ASA.

David Sauer (The New Kurumes) has been an avid collector of azaleas and rhododendrons for 40 years, along with his long career as a fine arts teacher of painting and photography at Virginia Commonwealth University. He is a past director of the Azalea Society of America.

Steve Brainerd (Designing with Native Azaleas) was a Navy fighter TopGun pilot, and has been a landscape designer for the past 10 years. He is currently working as Parks Development Superintendent for the city of McKinney, Texas, and is studying for a Master of Landscape Architecture degree from the University of Texas at Arlington. Steve is a past president of the Azalea Society of America.

Don Hyatt (The Best of the Best: In Search of Native Azaleas) has been an avid hybridizer of azaleas and rhododendrons for over 30 years, with a particular interest in deciduous azaleas, and has been teaching mathematics and computer science for 32 years. His exceptional web pages demonstrate his ability to combine his work and avocation. Don is a former district director of the ARS, and is now a director of the ASA and the president of the Potomac Valley ARS chapter.

As our keynote speaker, Don recounts his frequent hikes to the mountains in North Carolina and Tennessee to search for the finest forms of our native azaleas. Enjoy the magnificent views along the Appalachian Trail near Roan Mountain as he documents exceptional forms of R. calendulaceum. Stroll through the hybrid swarm of native azaleas on Gregory Bald as he identifies the “best of the best” in one of the greatest flower shows on earth. Don will share his appreciation for the rich botanical diversity in these and other treasure spots in the southern Appalachians.

Annual Meeting topics will include:

  • Election of officers
  • Best Azalean article award
  • Bylaw changes vote
  • Drawing for the Delectable Mountain Azaleas quilt

For more information, contact Bob Stelloh at 1-828-697-9959,, or
Ed Collins at 1-828-697-9228,

see wild azaleas:
some will be in bloom for you…
somewhere near Asheville.

Related Pages

Epilog  (post-convention article)