Convention 2011

2011 convention || overview | how | tours | speakers | plants | schedule ||

HOOSIER HOSPITALITY 2011 . . . a visit along the Ohio River . . .

ASA Convention APRIL 28-MAY 1, 2011


what . . . the Lake Michigan Chapter and the Tri-State Chapter of the Azalea Society of American invite you to come experience Hoosier Hospitality 2011, the 2011 Azalea Society of America national convention and annual meeting during April 28 – May 1, 2011 in Evansville, Indiana.

when . . . the convention dates of April 28 – May 1, 2011 are usually peak bloom time for azaleas and rhododendrons in Evansville—and many of you will still be able to see your own gardens in bloom when you get home!

who . . . Hoosier Hospitality 2011 is open to everyone with an interest in azaleas. If you are not yet a member of the Azalea Society, just add $25 to your registration fee for membership for 2011, including membership in a local chapter of your choice.

why . . . all the usual reasons to come to the Azalea Society birthday party . . . and to see the largest collection of Schroeder hybrid azaleas anywhere, to see a number of beautiful private gardens, and to buy Schroeder azaleas and many other hybrid and native azaleas.

where . . . Clarion Inn and Conference Center, 4101 US Highway 41 North, Evansville, Indiana 47711, 812-424-6400


Register for the convention by downloading, printing and completing the registration form, and mailing it with your check to the address on the form. Do it NOW—we only have 114 bus seats.

NOTE: The late registration fee of $20 has been WAIVED: register for only $45 through April 15!

Reserve your hotel room online at the Clarion Inn or by calling 812-424-6400. Mention you want the Azalea Convention discount when reserving your room.

The Convention officially opens at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 28. Registration begins at noon, the board meeting is at 2 p.m, and the plant sale opens at 4 p.m. Plan to arrive early, so you can be settled in for the opening meeting.

The Lake Michigan Chapter and the Tri-State Chapter of the Azalea Society of America welcome all to visit Evansville, Indiana, the home of the Tri-State Chapter, chartered in 1981. This will be the first time our chapters will be hosting a convention in this area, where we have many lovely gardens for you to view.

Evansville is Indiana’s third largest city, and is the metropolitan hub for the Tri-State area of Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky, with a combined population of 350,000 people. It is situated along a horseshoe bend of the Ohio River, where you can watch the barges go by with their cargo.

Evansville, Indiana skyline
Evansville, Indiana skyline
We will also be visiting beautiful gardens in neighboring Vincennes, Indiana to the north, well known for being the birthplace of the famous comedian Red Skelton and home of our ninth president, William Henry Harrison.

The convention dates are Thursday, April 28 thru Sunday, May 1, 2011. Our hotel is the Clarion Inn and Conference Center, 4101 US Highway 41 North, Evansville, Indiana 47711. The hotel is conveniently located north of town near the airport, with restaurants and other attractions nearby.

Room rates are $79.00 (for up to two), which includes free breakfasts and free parking. The hotel also provides free shuttle service to the Evansville Airport and to the Aztar Casino overlooking the Ohio River.

Comedian Red Skelton


FRIDAY – APRIL 29th TOURS – We will board the buses by 8 am sharp.

George Rogers Clark MemorialGeorge Rogers Clark Memorial We head to Vincennes, Indiana for our first day of garden tours. After a short 50 minute bus trip we will be treated to some of the Landmarks of the town. We will have a tour guide that will point out and narrate about the sites as we see them.

Vincennes’ showcase of historic sites include: George Rogers Clark National Historical Park; Grouseland, the mansion and museum of our 9th U.S. President, William Henry Harrison;
the Vincennes State Historic Sites, including the Indiana Territory Capitol, the Jefferson Academy, Indiana’s first college, the Elihu Stout Print Shop (Indiana’s first newspaper publishing company), and The Old Cathedral, Indiana’s first church. Vincennes is also the home of Comedian Red Skelton.

Dallas Foster Gardens is a few minutes from downtown. Over the past 15 years, renowned southern Indiana landscape designer Dallas Foster and his wife Susan have been developing their property on the east side of Vincennes, Indiana from a grassy field into a lush, private oasis.

Landscapes by Dallas Foster are well known for their natural style that reflects the personality of the home owner, and the Foster’s home is no exception. The property was developed to make it seem as if it has always been there and that the house grew up out of the landscape.
Many tons of natural stone has been brought in to accent the landscaping and used as the main patio and walkway surfaces around the home. You will also notice that a wide variety of antique and architectural accent pieces have been incorporated. Dallas has a collection of antique hitching posts as well as antique and reclaimed hand chiseled architectural stones that have been used as benches, tabletops and steps.

The backyard is all about entertaining and relaxing. A triple waterfall can be seen and heard from just about anywhere on the back patio area. A secluded jacuzzi creates a perfect area to unwind after a long day and the pool is a great place to cool off on a hot summer day. The outdoor kitchen is designed to act a serving bar for a larger party or a small outdoor dining room when it is just Dallas and Susan. Other areas of interest in the back yard include the dogs’ playhouse, bog garden, and natural style vegetable garden. The woodland is also home to many wildflower communities and Dallas’ native orchid collection.

Wits End Gardens is our next stop, a short distance from the Foster’s, and will include lunch. Established in 1979 by Frank and Nancy Emert in Vincennes, Indiana, Wits End Gardens is six acres of botanical enjoyment with one of the areas finest plant collections.

As plant collectors, Frank and Nancy have utilized Dallas Foster, a nationally known and award winning landscaper to help showcase the plants they have collected over the years. The gardens are transformed into a series of connected rooms, with different themes in each. Vincennes University has long utilized Wits End Gardens as a teaching tool for the Horticulture Department.

The predominant feature for many years has been the Japanese garden with its teahouse, overlooking a waterfall and Koi pond with a curved bridge crossing the exit stream bed. Other unusual features include an English Woodland garden, an Alpine rock garden, several native shade perennial gardens, hosta gardens, cactus beds, carnivorous plant bogs, vegetable gardens, an orchard, and container gardens. Unusual plants include zone 6 camellias, a magnolia grove, numerous species of bamboo, rose beds, daylily beds, an iris bed, and of course azaleas and rhododendrons. Azaleas and rhododendrons are displayed in virtually every room of the garden.

Azalea Path Arboretum and Botanical Gardens is the next garden we will visit, after leaving the Vincennes area and driving to a rural area outside of Hazelton, Indiana. This lovely 50 acre garden, known as “The hidden gem of southwestern Indiana”, is beautifully designed and so relaxing to visit.

We will enjoy a snack here before returning to Evansville.

Gladys Sculpture at Azalea PathGladys Sculpture at Azalea Path
Entrance to Azalea Path Arboretum and Botanical GardensEntrance to Azalea Path Arboretum and Botanical Gardens Tadeusz Dauksza at Azalea Path
Tadeusz Dauksza at Azalea Path
Nestled along the back roads between Gibson and Pike County Indiana are the hidden Azalea Path Arboretum & Botanical Gardens. Containing one of the largest collections of azaleas, it hosts many unusual and ornamental trees. Meandering pathways lead to water features and unique sculptures.

Azalea Path Arboretum and Botanical Gardens is a nonprofit and privately owned facility. Started in 1979, Beverly Knight took an overgrown forest and magically created a gardener’s piece of art.

Beverly Knight and one of her Azaleas
Beverly Knight and one of her Azaleas

Schroeder hybrid'Mrs Nancy Dipple'

Schroeder hybrid ‘Mrs Nancy Dipple’   (click for full size)
What began with 15 acres and only a few azaleas and perennials has flourished into more than 50 acres and 4,000 azaleas plus a large variety of unusual plants and native Indiana trees.
Come and join us for a nature walk you will never forget.Robert E. “Buddy” Lee, Past President of the Azalea Society of America and leading hybridizer of Encore® Azaleas, said “Azalea Path has one of the largest collections of azaleas in the Midwest, if not the largest.”

SATURDAY – APRIL 30th TOURS – We will board the buses by 8 am sharp.

Mesker Zoo’s Botanical Garden is our first stop on our Saturday tours in Evansville. The incredible Amazonia was recently added to the zoo.

Exciting things are happening at Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden. Situated on 50 scenic acres of rolling hills on Evansville’s northwest side, this Zoo is home to over 700 animals from around the globe. While visiting, you will navigate the Zoo’s geographically grouped and realistically themed regions including South America, North America, Africa, Asia, and Australia. Throughout the Zoo, thousands of exotic and regional botanic species adorn hillsides and animal exhibits. You will be in awe as you explore AMAZONIA, Forest of Riches, our newest world-class South American exhibit. Flowers at Mesker Zoo Botanic Garden
Flowers at Mesker Zoo Botanic Garden

Waterfall at Mesker Zoo Botanic Garden

Waterfall at Mesker Zoo Botanic Garden
Throughout the seasons many hundreds of plant varieties provide an ever-changing tapestry of beauty for our guests and make our animals feel at home. From towering trees and exotic tropicals to delicate spring bulbs, our plant collection reflects the dazzling diversity found in the plant kingdom.

Imagine winding your way from the majestic rainforest canopy to the flooded forest floor, surrounded by lush foliage, colorful birds, and playful primates. If you think this sounds like something you would experience in South America, you are right! However, you can have the same experience in Evansville, Indiana.

Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden is pleased to present AMAZONIA, Forest of Riches, the largest and most spectacular exhibit to open in the Zoo’s 80 year history. As you journey through AMAZONIA, you will encounter dozens of rainforest residents from high in the canopy to the forest floor below.


Tropical trees and palms soar to the 45-foot tall roof and create a breathtaking tropical setting. Monkeys and beautiful birds welcome you to their treetop homes. A waterfall roars and a suspension bridge beckons. Evidence of researchers are apparent through the clipboards (educational signage) and the research station (classroom with interactive activities) they have left behind. Tapirs and other odd creatures greet you around each bend in the trail. Be on the lookout for the elusive and majestic jaguar! AMAZONIA will have a strong conservation message throughout. We invite you to explore the Amazon, no passport required!

Don Dilger’s maples and hostas
Don Dilger’s Garden is the next stop after the Mesker Park Zoo and Botanic Garden. Don has over 200 varieties of Japanese maples lined up in a nursery-like setting. The maples form a canopy over his collection of hostas in large black containers along carefully groomed gravel paths. Taken together they make this the most eccentric but enchanting stop on our tour.

Two cascading ivy “skirts” at the front entrance gate and another at the “Y” in the driveway are part of the fanciful world he has created over the past 25 or so years of grooming the property.

The Dan and Janet Fuquay Garden is the next garden we will visit. Not far from the Dilger Garden, it is owned by Janet and Dan Fuquay. It is the former Hahn Azalea Farm. The residence built in 2006 is on the site of Janet’s father’s 1960 house, which had been surrounded by azaleas and rhododendrons, many of which could not be saved. Still, this property and especially the drive leading to it is a showplace at azalea bloom time. Massed plantings along the drive make an incredible first impression, followed by the lakefront house and its surrounding plantings which include ‘Mildred Mae’, ‘Cascade’, ‘Boudoir’, ‘Polar Bear’, ‘Blaauw’s Pink’ and ‘Formosa’. Several Encore® varieties are planted closer to the house. Janet’s father, Lloyd Hahn, was a founder of the Tri-State Chapter of the ASA, and cultivated and sold azaleas in the 1970s and ’80s.

After visiting the Fuquay Garden we will break for lunch, which will be served in a privately owned airport hangar owned by John and Debbie Bizal. This hangar is unique, as it showcases John’s private collection of several WWII airplanes, military vehicles, old cars and military memorabilia.

After seeing the hangar and having lunch, we will go on to the Siever Garden.

Bizal's airport hangar
Bizal’s airport hangar

Bizal’s antique cars
The Fred Siever’s Garden is built around a 1960s ranch style house. The house has only occasionally been occupied since Fred’s death in 2003, and the garden only minimally maintained. Having been a garden writer for the Evansville Courier and Press and a charter member of the Tri-State Chapter of the ASA, Fred was considered an expert on azaleas, hollies and woody shrubs, and his plantings reflect this. The diverse collection of trees and shrubs in the front and side yard is noteworthy, but the 10′ high wall of (mostly) Schroeder hybrid azaleas in the back yard are most dramatic.
John Migas at Fred Siever’s Garden

Larry Miller’s house and garden
The Larry Miller Garden is our next stop. Larry bought this 1905 Queen Ann residence in 1998 because it was situated nicely for gardening on a double lot with a southwest sun exposure. Since there was almost no landscaping on the property he commissioned landscape designer Wayne Osborne to draw a plan which, in addition to plant material, included all new sidewalks, flagstone pathways, concrete masonry walls and even the distinctive garden gates. In 1969, a previous owner had built a redwood sided modern house where the garage had been, and several purple rhododendrons surrounding its entry date from this period.

Azaleas surrounding Larry’s residence include Schroeder hybrids developed by local hybridizer Dr Henry Schroeder in the 1970s and ’80s, along with ‘Girard’s Crimson’, ‘Pleasant White’, and ‘Christine Marie’. Other evergreen azaleas in his garden include ‘Coral Bells’, ‘Elsie Lee’, ‘Gumpo White’, ‘Wakaebisu’ and Encore® ‘Autumn Sangria’. Deciduous azaleas include ‘Golden Lights’, ‘Orchid Lights’, ‘Rosy Lights’, and ‘Mount Saint Helens’.

We are invited in to Larry’s for refreshments and a bathroom break.

Larry Miller’s former garden is our next stop, a short walk away. Larry had moved into this 1860s vintage Federal style house in 1971 and began planting azaleas, many of which are now are 8 feet tall. A distinctive feature of this residence is the two-story brick carriage house/summer kitchen.

We will then go by bus to an older neighborhood on Roosevelt Street, homes once built by the elite business people of the community. There are many lovely homes and gardens to see there, including these listed below:

Tim and Jaya Dodd Garden This Prairie Style house, built in 1925 by former Evansville Mayor Benjamin Bosse, has been the home of local attorney Tim Dodd and his wife Jaya since 1972. Most of the 120 or so azaleas are in the back yard under a canopy of mature Oaks, which provide mulch and shade and share space with wild ginger and ferns in an “Urban Rustic” setting.

Pam and John Guthrie Garden This Victorian house has, despite its small lot size, been beautifully and prominently landscaped with azaleas. The interior is filled with antiques and may also be toured.

Joe and Linda Scott Garden This house was built in 1929-30 by local attorney Phillip Gould. His wife devoted 47 years to gardening with azaleas and other woody shrubs. After her husbands death she invited all garden enthusiasts into the back yard through a welcome sign at the Roosevelt Avenue garden gate entry. When she had to sell the house in 1977 she asked the new owners to please continue this tradition. Joe and Linda have done a wonderful job with this garden. Don’t miss the narrow path that takes you under a canopy of azaleas.



Gene Bush (Using Perennials and Shade Loving Plants), along with his wife JoAn Riley, are owner/operators of Munchkin Nursery & Gardens LLC, located in southern Indiana. The nursery and display gardens specialize in native and non-native perennial shade and woodland plants. This combination of plants forms the casual style of “Wild” gardening. Gene photographs, writes articles, and lectures from personal experience based upon growing the native, non-native mix of plants in his southern Indiana garden.
Gene’s garden writing and photographs can be found in recent issues of Fine Gardening, The American Gardener magazine of the American Horticulture Society, Gardening How-To, and the Rock Garden Quarterly of the North American Rock Garden Society. Monthly he writes an article on his web-site, found under Garden Clippin’s at A more detailed list of credits can be found at Garden Writer on his web-site.
First and foremost, Gene is a gardener having a good time in his garden!

Tom Johnson (The Azaleas of Magnolia Gardens: America’s Romantic Garden) is a life-long horticulturist. He was raised on a truck farm in middle Georgia. At 16 he went to work for a local garden center and landscape company.
After high school and college, Tom moved to Atlanta and went to work for Al Simpson and Company as Area Supervisor overseeing over a million dollars of accounts in downtown Atlanta. When President Carter built his Presidential Library in Atlanta, he asked Tom to oversee the gardens. He was able to apprentice under Kinsako Nakane, the world renowned Japanese architect, and later under his son Shiro.

After 15 years with the Carter Presidential Center, Tom moved back home to middle Georgia to take the position as horticulturist with The American Camellia Society for the next 8 years. During this time Tom traveled the “camellia belt” lecturing and helping people grow camellias.

For several years while at The American Camellia Society, Drayton Hastie, one of the owners of Magnolia, America’s oldest garden, began trying to lure Tom to Charleston. Drayton had heard of Tom’s lectures and interest in not just camellias, but on the Romantic Garden and its style. After several years of coaxing, Tom took the position of Director of Gardens and Horticulture at Magnolia Gardens. His duties today are overseeing the restoration of America’s last Romantic-style garden. Tom is charged with restoring the gardens to the vision the Reverend John Drayton had when he began designing them for his homesick bride in the mid 1800’s. This includes searching around the world to locate azalea and camellia varieties that predate the 1900’s.

“This is my last job” Tom boldly states, ” The restoration of Magnolia will consume the rest of my life. Magnolia is a grand old lady. My job is to shine her shoes, dress her in some new robes, and get her ready for the thousands of suitors that come calling each year. I can think of no better place to finish my career.” Click here to see more about the Magnolia Plantation and Garden.


Jack Brown (Deciduous Trees and Conifers in Our Landscape) has been involved in the forestry industry since 1977. He graduated from Purdue University with his major in Forest Production. He has worked for the city of Evansville as an arborist, managed Christmas tree farms, and was owner of Ace Nursery. As an arborist, he currently is involved with treating and caring for trees in southwest Indiana. He has completed projects with the Mesker Park Zoo Amazonia Exhibit and the New Harmony Labyrinth Restoration Project.

Jack will be speaking on using different forms of deciduous trees and conifers in our landscape. Living in the Evansville area for years, he will take us down “Memory Lane” on the history of the early azalea gardens and growers. He currently has been part of preserving the Sievers garden which we will be visiting on Saturday’s tour.

Paul Bouseman (Botanical Gardens of Mesker Zoo) has worked at Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden for 15 years and is currently the Botanical Curator. He graduated from the University of Southern Indiana where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree. While still a student, he began working at Mesker Zoo & Botanical Garden as a part-time groundskeeper. At that time he became interested in the practice of zoological horticulture as a way to bring together his interests in landscape design and natural history.

Paul is a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the Association of Zoological Horticulture, where he currently serves on the Board of Directors. He enjoys traveling with his family, visiting zoos, museums, and botanical gardens, and, of course, working in his own garden.


Andrew P. Whipple, PhD Professor of Biology at Taylor University Upland, Indiana (Azalea Tissue Culture) says

“The (deciduous) azalea bug bit me hard at the 2002 ASA/ARS meeting in Atlanta, especially upon touring Earl Sommerville’s garden. The colors, the forms, the fragrances—Wow! Upon returning to the clay cornfields of central Indiana I took on the task of growing these plants at this site, and quickly learned the need of well drained acidic soil for their survival and growth. Succeeding with named, in-the-trade varieties, I returned to the memory of the Sommerville plants and acquired a few from nurseries, but came to realize that many of these, as well as unique forms in others’ gardens and in the wild, were often the only ones in existence. “What if this one plant dies?” I found myself thinking. “These need to be propagated and shared around.” Then came the discovery that some deciduous azaleas are difficult to propagate by the usual means, and that the same Earl Sommerville whose collection got me hooked was micropropagating (tissue culturing) his plants. And so I learned from Earl the specifics of in vitro propagation of deciduous azaleas as a means to make more of these azaleas that might otherwise be lost to us.”

“At this point (June 2010) I am up to my eyeballs in deciduous azaleas—in tissue culture (maybe 70 different plants in culture at present), in pots (maybe 1,000+ plants)—and am the proud papa of an azalea garden on the campus of Taylor University in Upland, Indiana with about 350 azaleas. My vision is to utilize my familiarity with the laboratory world, by way of tissue culturing, to help preserve and spread around these delightful, but difficult to propagate plants.”
Click here for more information about the university and the garden.


Each day after the tours, come join us for our plant sale.

As shown here we are featuring Northern Lights deciduous azaleas, Schroeder evergreen azaleas, Buddy Lee’s Encore® azaleas, and many other evergreen and deciduous azaleas. There will also be some varied companion plants to choose from.


Click here to download a copy)









2011 ASA Convention Schedule of Events     Hosted by the Lake Michigan and Tri-State Chapters Thursday April 28 Registration Open Noon – 7 pm ASA Board Meeting 2 – 4 pm Dinner on Your Own Plant Sale 4 – 7 pm Reception/Cash Bar 6 – 7 pm Welcome and Speakers 7 – 9 pm     Gene Bush – Using Perennials and Shade Loving Plants     Tom Johnson – The Azaleas of Magnolia Plantation:
America’s Romantic Garden
Friday April 29 Registration Open 7 – 8 am Breakfast at Hotel (complimentary in hotel) Tour Departs 8 am     Vincennes Landmarks     Dallas Foster Gardens     Wits End Gardens     Azalea Path Arboretum and Gardens Tour Returns to Hotel 4 pm Dinner on Your Own Plant Sale 4 – 7 pm Speakers 7 – 9 pm     Jack Brown – Deciduous Trees and Conifers
in Our Landscape
    Paul Bouseman – Botanical Gardens of Mesker Zoo Saturday April 30 Breakfast at Hotel (complimentary in hotel) Tour Departs 8 am     Mesker Zoo’s Botanical Garden     Dilger Garden     Hahn Garden (Fuquay)     Lunch at Airport Hangar     Sievers Garden     Larry Miller Garden     Tour of Roosevelt Street Gardens Tour Returns to Hotel 4 pm Plant Sale 4 – 7 pm Reception/Cash Bar 6 – 7 pm Banquet 7 – 10 pm     Business Meeting     Awards     Andrew Whipple – Azalea Tissue Culture Sunday May 1 Board Meeting 8 am ______________________________________________________________