Bill Alexander – Chauncey D. Beadle: Botanist, Nurseryman and Azalea Hunter
Bill is a native of Asheville and has worked at Biltmore Estate since 1978 in varying positions including: Horticulturist, Greenhouse and Gardens Supervisor, Landscape Manager, Landscape Curator, and now as Landscape and Forest Historian. He studied both forestry and horticulture at Haywood Technical College and earned the North American Certificate in Horticulture through the American Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta in 1982. Research, study tours and professional meetings have led him throughout much of the U. S., Canada, Great Britain and Switzerland.
Bill currently serves on the boards of directors for the Cradle of Forestry Interpretive Association and the Southern Forestry Foundation, an advisory panel for Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest and the U.S.F.S. Southern Region Recreation Resource Committee. He is a member of the Forest Guild, the Forest History Society, the Southern Garden History Society, and the National Association for Olmsted Parks. He frequently lectures on Biltmore Estate’s landscape, forestry and agricultural history to diverse audiences regionally and nationally.
Barbara Bullock – Henry Skinner
Barbara Bullock, Curator of Azaleas & Rhododendrons, U.S. National Arboretum, has been in horticulture since 1980, starting as a cashier at a local garden center while finishing up her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1981, then working as a production grower at a local nursery, growing perennials and unusual annuals and herbs from seed. She also returned to the University of Maryland and got a BS in Horticulture, Landscape Design. While in school, she illustrated the U. of MD’s woody plants manual with 400 drawings, worked a year in the Entomology Department as a research assistant, and worked six months for a Landscape Architect as a draftsman—all part time, while working at the nursery.
Barbara has been Curator of Azaleas at the U.S. National Arboretum since 1990, responsible for their 40 acre Azalea Garden with over 15,000 azaleas. She has been putting her horticultural, artistic, and managerial and design skills to work there for the past 17 years.
She has overseen the restoration of over 10 thousand 50-year-old azaleas, and hundreds of boxwoods, forsythia, hollies, and various trees. She restored the immense Glenn Dale azalea hillside planting using mainly volunteer labor, restored the Morrison and Lee Gardens, improved drainage, rebuilt pedestrian pathways and planted almost 3,000 new plants into the Collection, along with perennials and other features to add interest to the garden year ’round.
In the past 10 years, she has conducted numerous workshops on pruning for the tree care industry professionals and trains her new volunteers each year on pruning. She has also contributed to the National Arboretum website photo gallery of about 100 different Glenn Dales.
Joe Coleman – Evergreen Azaleas: The Beginning and the End
Dr. Joe H. Coleman, by profession a dentist in general practice for the last 38 years, is, along with his wife, Donna, an ardent gardener and collector of azaleas, rhododendrons, Japanese maples, and native plant material. A garden that encompasses almost four acres is crowded with the results of almost thirty years of collecting, propagating and rescuing from the wild, thousands of varieties of beautiful plants. Starting with their original home, Joe discovered the wonder of azaleas in the garden, particularly the fact they didn’t have to be mowed weekly…which led to growing pinestraw islands that had to be filled with a greater variety of flowers. This increasing need proceeded with membership in the ARS in a search for more information and sources of azalea, and after meeting George Harding in the late seventies, to joining the new ASA. The results of all their acquisitions can be seen today in the garden they created starting in 1980 in Lithonia, Georgia.
Over the years, Joe served as a director of both the ARS and the ASA, acted as chairman of the 1984 national ARS convention, filled numerous local offices, given numerous talks, opened the garden to annual cutting parties to spread the number of different varieties available, dabbled in hybridizing, chairman of flower shows, and continues hitting on friends for new and interesting cutting material and hounding nurserymen to provide more and better azaleas! Although real photography honors must go to Donna, she can spot a show winning truss from across the yard – at any convention you can find them in hot pursuit armed with digital, print and slide film cameras to capture as many beautiful images as possible. Visitors are always welcome in spring to visit a usually well-labeled garden and find something new to add to your collection…He shares!
J. Jackson – From Seed to Seed – Searching for the Best Production Methods
J. Jackson and his wife, Lindy, have been growing deciduous azaleas for years. For the last ten years, all their plants have been grown from seed. This process has led to a production method that brings most seedlings to flower in two to three years. They have recently founded Appalachian Native Plants Inc. and have just built their first commercial greenhouse with a capacity of producing fifty to seventy thousand native azalea liners from seed, annually.
J. still makes a living going to sea as a Captain in the U.S. Merchant Marine. Lindy is retired and is going to school as well as keeping things growing while J. is at sea. He hopes to retire soon from the sea and spend more time growing, selecting and hybridizing native azaleas.
Joe Klimavicz – Developing New Evergreen Azalea Hybrids
Joseph F. Klimavicz is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Chief Information Officer and Director, High Performance Computing and Communications, responsible for the acquisition, management, and use of NOAA’s information and information technology resources. He has served over 24 years in the federal government, after having receiving a Bachelor of Science degree from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1983, and a Master of Engineering degree from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1988. Major areas of study included geodesy, photogrammetry and imaging systems.
Joe is also an avid hybridizer of fine evergreen azaleas—a passion of his since the late 1980s. He has grown between 500-1000 new azalea hybrids each year, but discards almost all of them after they flower, retaining only the best. The Klimavicz hybridization program is aimed at developing a plant that is vigorous, and disease and insect resistant, with a flower that is unusual and long-lasting.
He lives in Vienna, Virginia, with his wife, Brenda and their three daughters who began their own hybridizing in elementary school.
Dan Krabill – The Glenn Dale Azaleas – Digital Photos, Growing Experiences, and Recommendations
Dan Krabill has been growing azaleas for the last 25 years and taking digital photos of them since 2002. He has been a member of the Northern Virginia Chapter of ASA since 1987, where he served as vice president for 4 years and president for 4 years. He served on the Finance Committee of the ASA Board in 2005 and 2006 and is now Treasurer of the ASA.
He grows approximately 1,000 varieties of azaleas at his home in McLean, Virginia, including a great majority of the Glenn Dales. He has published an article Photographing the Glenn Dale Azaleas in the Azalean, has a number of Kurume photos and Glenn Dale photos on the ASA picture web site, and has distributed a CD consisting of digital photos of most of the Glenn Dale azaleas.
Jeff Jones – New Insights into Chromosomes, Breeding, and The Evolution of Rhododendron spp.
Jeff Jones hails from the foothills of North Carolina where he gained a deep love for ornamental plants that encouraged his academic studies. He completed his undergraduate work at North Carolina State University in the Departments of Botany and Horticultural Science. After gaining invaluable experience in hands-on breeding of Buddleia with Dr. Dennis Werner, he decided to pursue a Masters degree at N.C. State under the direction of Dr. Tom Ranney. Classes were taken in Raleigh, while research was completed at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research & Extension Center in Fletcher NC. His research consisted of breeding and propagation studies within the genus Rhododendron. The breeding work centered entirely upon the prevalence, induction, and fertility of polyploid rhododendron. A deep appreciation for the diversity and utility of these plants was gained during the entire process. Jeff recently completed his Masters degree and expects to pursue opportunities in the realm of ornamental plant breeding, evaluation, and introduction.
Dr. Dan Veazey – August Kehr: The Gentleman Behind the Plants
Dan’s gardening background begins with genes came from both sides of his family. Dan’s paternal grandfather worked for the Soil and Water Conservation Service and was a formidable propagator of camellias. His maternal grandmother was born with 2 green thumbs. When he moved to Hendersonville in 1984, his gardening interest flourished. "I was introduced to Dr. Kehr by his neighbor and shortly thereafter, Dr. Kehr introduced me to the ARS. Thomas Jefferson, indirectly, encourages me in gardening As a history major at UNC-CH, I began to admire Jefferson and his interests. His knowledge of gardening was certainly an inspiration for my gardening journey."