Convention 2012

  2012 Convention || overview | tours | speakers | sponsors | plants | schedule | committee ||


ARS+ASA Joint Convention • APPALACHIAN SPRING 2012 • Asheville NC • May 4-7, 2012
. . . a visit among the Blue Ridge Mountains . . .

  latest news as of March 25, 2012:

status . . . registration is closed, in general—the only available events are the Friday Board Lunch, a few Friday Biltmore tours, the Friday Welcome Reception, and the Sunday ASA banquet • the wait lists for the other events are so full we are not adding to them.

hotel rooms . . . our block of reduced-rate rooms at the Crowne Plaza hotel has 10 rooms available: call 800-733-3211 for reservations. If they are taken, here are some alternatives:

• the Crowne Plaza has villas with convertible sofas in the living room to hold one, two or three couples at convention rates of $129 (1 bedroom), $159 (2 bedrooms): call 800-733-3211 for reservations;
• Holiday Inn Express & Suites
1 Wedgefield Drive (5.5 miles southwest of the Crowne Plaza at I-26 and NC 191)
Asheville, NC 28806
Phone: 828-665-6519 (mention “Rhododendron-Azalea convention” to get $95 F-S or $85 S-M-T-W-T rates);

• there are many other hotels, motels and bed & breakfasts within several miles of the Crowne Plaza hotel, some within walking distance of downtown Asheville (try Kayak or other travel websites for their locations and rates);
• our hotel liaison Marilyn Haynes, 828-696-2996 will be glad to help you

biltmore tour . . . this tour on Friday, May 4, 2012 is sold out. You are welcome to sign up and pay for it, and we will put you on a waiting list in case of cancellations, and refund your money at the registration desk if neede. A possibly better idea is to do it yourself, at a comparable cost to our bus tour for two people in a taxi, and less expensive for four or more people in a taxi or for any number of people in a private car. The Biltmore Estate offers a $10 discount for tickets purchased online a week or more in advance (the current advance purchase price is $49), and taxi service is available on call and at pre-arranged times. We will have more details here soon.

what . . . the Southeastern Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society (ARS) and the Vaseyi Chapter of the Azalea Society of America (ASA) invite you to experience Appalachian Spring 2012, the 2012 joint international convention and annual meetings of the ASA and ARS during May 4 – May 7, 2012 in Asheville, North Carolina.

where . . . our convention headquarters is the beautiful Crowne Plaza Resort, One Resort Drive, Asheville NC 28806, a justly famous tennis and golf resort hotel located on 125 acres one mile west of downtown Asheville, with free parking and free shuttle service to downtown Asheville. We will be visiting beautiful gardens in Asheville and Hendersonville, North Carolina, and near Greenville, South Carolina, and we will be seeing our native plants in bloom along parts of the famous Blue Ridge Parkway.

when . . . the convention dates of May 4 – May 7, 2012 are usually peak bloom time for azaleas and rhododendrons in the Asheville area, so be prepared to see a lot of flowers! If at all possible, consider coming a few days before the convention or stay a few days afterwards and take in some more of the sights, because we can’t begin to fit them all into our few short days of tours. To help with that, the Crowne Plaza Resort reduced room rates start five days before the convention and continue five days after the convention, and we will provide information about many more local gardens and other attractions to visit.

who . . . Appalachian Spring 2012 is open to everyone with an interest in azaleas or rhododendrons. If you are not yet a member of the ASA or the ARS, just add the appropriate membership fee on your registration form to become a member through 2013, including membership in a local ARS chapter or chapter target=”_blank”>ASA chapter of your choice.

why . . . visit with your old friends and make new friends, visit outstanding private and public gardens, see our native azaleas and rhododendrons in the wild, hear outstanding speakers who are both informative and entertaining, share and enjoy show-quality flower trusses and pictures . . . and buy lots of choice rhododendrons and azaleas, both species and hybrids, some of them very hard to find, and all of them beautiful and well-grown.

how . . . sorry, registration is closed as of 3/25/12—see the top of the page for details

. . . register: register online then mail it with a check in US funds drawn on a US bank only to the address on the form (if that is difficult for you, email the registrar for other options); and do it soon to be sure to get in—we are filling up rapidly—see the top of the page for the very few open events . . . and

. . . reserve your hotel room at the Crowne Plaza Resort, One Resort Drive, Asheville NC 28806: call 800-733-3211 and say your reservation is for the “Rhododendron Convention” to get the reduced convention rates starting at $99 (and do it now—only 214 rooms are being held for us at those rates through April 30, 2012) . . . and finally

. . . get here—either:
• fly to the Asheville (AVL) airport and either drive 10 miles on I-26 W or take the Crowne Plaza shuttle ($20/person or $50/van up to 6 persons) with advance notice via this request form; or
• fly to the Greenville-Spartanburg (GSP) airport and drive 75 miles on I-85 N to I-26 W; or
• drive here—Asheville is a long one-day drive from around Chicago, Washington DC, Florida, New Orleans, East Texas or St Louis.


The Vaseyi Chapter of the Azalea Society of America (ASA) and the Southeastern Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society (ARS) welcome y’all to experience the many delights of the Asheville area, ranging from the many beautiful gardens we will visit, to the amazingly diverse botanical treasures of the Blue Ridge Mountains we will see along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

The convention opens on Friday, May 4 with the registration desk opening at 12:00 pm, the plant sale opening at 3:00 pm and a welcome reception beginning at 4:00 pm (don’t miss this—there will be lots of appetizers, enough to call it dinner, along with a cash bar and live music). The full schedule is shown below. Plan to arrive early, so you can be settled in before the welcome reception. Better yet, plan to arrive a few days early or stay a few days later to enjoy some of the many pre- and post-convention on-your-own tours we have suggested for you.

Flower Show   We hope you bring some of your rhododendron trusses and azalea sprays to enter in the convention flower show. It will be judged, as it is also the 53rd Annual Flower Show of the Southeastern Chapter ARS. You can download the flower show rules here, you can download a list of the azalea entry classes here, and a list of the rhododendron entry classes here. The flower show will be open to submit your entries on Thursday and Friday afternoons. It will be open for our viewing starting Friday evening, and open to the public on Saturday.

Photo Contest   We also hope you bring some of your azalea and rhododendron pictures to enter in the photo print contest (download the rules here). The photo contest will be open for our viewing starting Friday evening, and open to the public on Saturday.

Asheville is an interesting city to visit, with winding hilly streets and historic Art Deco architectural gems, hundreds of arts and crafts galleries and communities, lots of great restaurants, 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 85,000, 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 “10 Most Beautiful Places in America” (Good Morning America, 2011); the “Happiest City for Women” (Self magazine, 2002); one of the world’s top 12 must-see destinations and one of the top 7 places to live in the U.S. (Frommer’s travel guides, 2007); and one of the “Best Places to Reinvent Your Life” (AARP Magazine, 2003). Be careful: many people who visit Asheville come back again—and again—and end up moving here. Asheville, North Carolina skyline
Asheville, North Carolina skyline
At 2200′ elevation, Asheville in early May averages 50°F in the evening, and 70°F during the day, with rain expected about every three days for less than an inch per week.
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 in America pushed the northern plant species south, leaving many of them here as the glaciers retreated. Finally, the mountain ridges, slopes, seeps, coves and valleys in the area provide the wide variety of habitats and microclimates needed for these plant seedlings to thrive, due to the changes in moisture, drainage, temperature, and wind and sun exposure, all within very short distances of each other.

The 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, including the Blue Ridge Mountains and Smoky Mountains. They are readily accessible on foot by way of the Appalachian Trail, and by car on the Blue Ridge Parkway and many connecting roads. For example, at Fetterbush Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway 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 Dr. August Kehr and two former directors of the US National Arboretum: Dr. Henry Skinner and Dr. John Creech.



Don Hyatt FRIDAY: KEYNOTE PRESENTATION   We are fortunate indeed to have Don Hyatt setting the tone of this convention with his evening presentation on Chasing the Bloom. He will focus on the rich botanical diversity of the Southern Appalachian Mountains and scenic locations along the Blue Ridge Parkway. As is Don’s typical presentation style, expect an entertaining and fast-paced program filled with many beautiful images, occasional touches of humor, and a few digital tricks, too. With a BS in Horticulture and an MS in Computer Science, both from Virginia Tech, he has maintained a keen interest in gardening and plants since he was a toddler. Don retired a few years ago from his position as an instructor of award-winning computer science students at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria VA, ranked the #1 high school in the nation, and one of the very few high schools with a supercomputer—in this case, won by his students in a national competition! Since then, Don has been able to spend even more time exploring and finding outstanding plants in the Blue Ridge Mountains and elsewhere.
To those exhibitors who want to learn what a judge looks for when awarding ribbons, as well as those contemplating a future role as a flower show judge, consider joining Marianne and Bruce Feller on a “walk through discussion” of the Flower Show after entries have been judged. Subjects discussed will include the selection, grooming and preparation of trusses and sprays, their presentation and other factors bearing on the process of evaluating entries. The Fellers have organized and conducted the Flower Shows for the New York Chapter for the past 10 years. In addition, they have participated as exhibitors, with numerous awards to their credit, in flower shows held by many ARS Chapters including Greater Philadelphia, Massachusetts, Middle Atlantic and Princeton.
Marianne & Bruce Feller

Attend this popular discussion group if you have any interest at all in hybridizing. It may be formal or informal, with prepared remarks or free-flowing discussion of topics relating to hybridizing, depending upon who is in attendance.

SATURDAY: PRESENTATION   This evening’s presentation will be From Mountain to Plain: Niagara’s Program for Evaluating Cold-Hardy Rhodies in Diverse Locales by Christina Woodward and Nick Yarmoshuk. Christina, the late Dr. Joseph Brueckner’s daughter, is curator of her father’s studbooks and over 500 of his hybrids in Mississauga, Ontario. She will describe his breeding program and the resulting plants, which are the subject of the evaluation program. Joe Brueckner, a native of Hungary, had moved to Switzerland and then New Zealand before
settling in New Brunswick, Canada. There, he was determined to breed beautiful rhododendrons that could survive their cold weather, down to -25° F. . . . and did.
Christina Woodward Nick Yarmoshuk


Nick Yarmoshuk is Secretary of the Niagara Region Chapter of ARS District 12, Chair of the ARS Test and Demonstration Garden Committee, past president of the NRC and the Rhododendron Society of Cananda, and a long time cold-hardy rhododendron devotee. He will share with us the Brueckner Evaluation Program rationale, design and implementation.


This is your chance to interact with Laura Grant, the ARS Executive Director. She will lead a free-ranging discussion with a primary focus on ARS membership recruitment and retention ideas. All
members, especially chapter officers, are encouraged to attend and share their ideas for society growth.
SUNDAY: PRESENTATION   Our evening presentation will be Trekking through swarms of azaleas and double helices. Dr. Thomas Ranney and two of his graduate students, Kimberly Shearer and Jason Lattier, will review two research projects to show us how deciduous azaleas provide a fascinating model to study the role of hybridization and polyploidy (multiple sets of chromosomes) in plant evolution:
• how the unique azaleas found on Gregory and Wayah Balds in the Appalachian Mountains evolved from complex hybridization among multiple native species including Rhododendron arborescens, R. cumberlandense, R. viscosum and R. calendulaceum; and
• is Rhododendron canadense really a tetraploid species as commonly thought? A new survey suggests otherwise.
Science aside, many of these species and their hybrids provide fantastic garden plants. Enjoy the diversity!
Tom Ranney


With a Ph.D. from Cornell University, Tom is a Professor of Horticultural Science for North Carolina State University. He lives, works, and plays in the mountains of Western North Carolina where he is the program leader of the Mountain Crop Improvement Lab of the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center in Mills River, NC.


We thank the many sponsors who have helped with the convention:
• Anonymous
BB Barnes Nursery
Gardens of the Blue Ridge
• Greer Gardens
• Jesse Israel & Sons Nursery
Mast General Store
• Meadowbrook Nursery/We-Du Natives
Timber Press
Whitney Gardens & Nursery
• Worm’s Way


Each day after the tours, come check out the plant sale. Sold out of the one you want? Check back again, as they are being restocked all the time. No room for plants because you are flying home? We will have a service to provide you with packing materials and to ship your plants.

‘Silver Skies’ Click here to see a list of the well over 3000 choice plants being grown for the plant sale, thanks to the efforts of local chapter members and good friends in eight states, Most of the plants will be 3-1/2″ liners, large enough to plant out and grow, yet affordable and convenient to carry more of them home with you.

The theme of the plant sale will be to highlight the collecting and hybridizing efforts of our many local area plantsmen. We have sought and are collecting the works of such notables as James Harris, Velma Haag, Gene Aromi, George Beasley, Tom Dodd, Augie Kehr, James Todd, Ben Morrison, Don Johnson, Lonnie Player, Kelly Strickland, Earl Sommerville, Zophar Warner and others.


We will also be offering a few other selected items in the plant sale area:
• pens made by a member of our chapters, hand-turned of wood from rhododendron, holly, mountain laurel and exotic trees; and
• an assortment of new and used garden-related books, offered at a discount from the list price, many by quite a bit.
We will have only one or two of most of these items, so come early for the best selection—it will be first come, first served.

  schedule   (click here to download a copy)

times EVENT – explanation – Meeting Room(s) names
Thursday, May 3, 2012
3:00-6:00 PLANT/BOOK SALE – open – Mitchell Room, Biltmore Foyer
4:00-6:00 REGISTRATION – open – Laurel Registration Desk
5:00-6:00 FLOWER/PHOTO SHOW – submit entries – Overlook Balloom, Board Room
DINNER – on your own – free shuttle buses to downtown Asheville
Friday, May 4, 2012
6:30-9:00 BREAKFAST – on your own – Pro’s Table Restaurant
9:00-5:00 MEETING – ARS Board – Foxfire Room
9:00-3:00 EARLY BIRD TOUR – Biltmore House and Garden
9:00-4:00 SIGHTSEEING – on your own – free shuttle buses to downtown Asheville
12:00-1:00 LUNCH – ARS Board, ASA Board, others – Roan Room
12:00-5:30 FLOWER/PHOTO SHOW – submit entries – Overlook Ballroom, Board Room
12:00-6:00 REGISTRATION – open – Laurel Registration Desk
1:00-3:00 MEETING – ASA Board – Dogwood Room
3:00-6:00 PLANT/BOOK SALE – open – Mitchell Room, Biltmore Foyer
4:00-7:00 WELCOME RECEPTION – heavy appetizers, cash bar – Roan, Pisgah, Pilot Rooms
6:00-7:00 FLOWER/PHOTO SHOW – judging – Overlook Ballroom
7:00-7:30 WELCOMING REMARKS – Roan, Pisgah, Pilot Rooms
7:30-8:30 PRESENTATION – Chasing the Bloom by Don Hyatt – Roan, Pisgah, Pilot Rooms
8:30-10:00 REGISTRATION – open – Laurel Registration Desk
8:30-10:00 FLOWER/PHOTO SHOW – open – Overlook Ballroom
8:30-10:30 PLANT/BOOK SALE – open – Mitchell Room, Biltmore Foyer
Saturday, May 5, 2012
6:30-8:00 HOT BREAKFAST BUFFET – included with tour – Roan, Pisgah, Pilot Rooms
7:00-8:00 REGISTRATION – open – Laurel Registration Desk
8:00-4:00 TOUR A – Asheville Area Gardens:
Owen Garden, North Carolina Arboretum, Blue Ridge Parkway
9:00-6:00 FLOWER/PHOTO SHOW – open – Overlook Room
4:00-6:00 PLANT/BOOK SALE – open – Mitchell Room, Biltmore Foyer
4:30-5:30 WORKSHOP – Flower Show Judging – Overlook Ballroom
4:30-6:00 HYBRIDIZERS ROUNDTABLE – Foxfire Room
6:00-7:00 SOCIAL HOUR, CASH BAR – Roan, Pisgah, Pilot Rooms
7:00-8:00 ARS Banquet – Roan, Pisgah, Pilot Rooms
8:00-8:30 ARS Annual Meeting – Roan, Pisgah, Pilot Rooms
8:45-9:45 PRESENTATION – From Mountain to Plain…, Christina Woodward and Nick Yarmoshuk – Roan, Pisgah, Pilot Rooms
9:45-11:15 PLANT/BOOK SALE – open – Mitchell Room, Biltmore Foyer
9:45-11:15 FLOWER/PHOTO SHOW – open – Overlook Ballroom
Sunday, May 6, 2012
6:30-8:00 HOT BREAKFAST BUFFET – included with tour – Roan, Pisgah, Pilot Rooms
8:00-4:00 TOUR H – Hendersonville Area Gardens:
Grist, Collins, Stewart, Stelloh Gardens
4:00-6:00 PLANT/BOOK SALE – open – Mitchell Room, Biltmore Foyer
6:00-6:30 SOCIAL HOUR, CASH BAR – Roan, Pisgah, Pilot Rooms
6:30-7:30 ASA Banquet – Roan, Pisgah, Pilot Rooms
7:30-8:00 ASA Annual Meeting – Roan, Pisgah, Pilot Rooms
8:00-8:30 AUCTION – Roan, Pisgah, Pilot Rooms
8:45-9:45 PRESENTATION – Trekking Through Swarms of Azaleas…, Tom Ranney, Kimberly Shearer, Jason Lattier – Roan, Pisgah, Pilot Rooms
9:45-11:15 PLANT/BOOK SALE – open – Mitchell Room, Biltmore Foyer
Monday, May 7, 2012
6:30-9:00 HOT BREAKFAST BUFFET – included with tour – Roan, Pisgah Rooms
6:30-9:00 BREAKFAST – on your own if not on tour – Pro’s Table Restaurant
8:00-10:00 MEETING – ASA Board – Dogwood Room
8:00-11:00 PLANT/BOOK SALE – open – Mitchell Room, Biltmore Foyer
9:00-5:00 BONUS TOUR – More Hendersonville and Asheville Gardens:
Bell, Richards Gardens; Bullington Center, WhiteGate Inn



While this list only recognizes the committee chairs, the joint convention could not happen without the contributions of the many other fine people who served on the committees, primarily members of the Southeastern Chapter-ARS and the Vaseyi Chapter-ASA.

Chairman – Aaron Cook
Registrar – Bob & Audrey Stelloh
Secretary – Marilyn Haynes
Treasurer – John Brown
Tours – Doley Bell, Marilyn Haynes, Audrey Stelloh
Plant Sale – John Brown, Leon Pace
Speakers – Aaron Cook
Flower Show – Glenn O’Sheal
Photo Contest – Jackson McCarter, Courtland White
Sponsorships – Anne Guelker
Publicity – Marilyn Haynes
Website – Bob Stelloh, Dave Banks
Journal Articles – Bob Stelloh (ASA), Marilyn Haynes (ARS)
Hospitality – Suzanne Medd
Book Sale – April Sanborn
Plant Auction – John Brown
Hotel Selection & Liaison – Marilyn Haynes