Convention 2023

ASA/ARS 2023 Convention
“Georgia With Azaleas On My Mind”
Dunwoody, GA • April 19-23, 2023
Marriott Atlanta Perimeter Center

Convention hotel price ($134 king or 2 doubles, $199 suite, plus taxes) also applies for contiguous stay up to 3 days before and 3 days after convention dates.
ASA Convention Co-Chair: Rick Bauer — Yorktown, VA
ARS Convention Co-Chair: Charlie Andrews — Ballground, GA

NEW!: The convention plant sale page is now online here. (Be patient, it’s slow)

Please note: Registration deadline was March 31st, but online registration is being kept open with no late penalty.

Friday Banquet Meal Choices
Saturday Backyard BBQ Buffet Food Choices

Come to Georgia with Azaleas on My Mind. The Azalea Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society and the Northern Virginia Chapter of the Azalea Society of America are hosting the joint convention in Atlanta, Georgia, Wednesday, April 19 to Sunday, April 23, 2023.

Leave the snow behind. Spring will be in the air. Your friends will be there. You will have much to see. Interesting presentations are planned. A plant sale full of hard-to-obtain azaleas and rhododendrons awaits. Beyond the convention, Atlanta and Georgia have much to see and do. Come join us.

Events and Pricing

Registration (required for all attendees)Includes Thu, Fri, & Sat breakfast vouchers, Wed & Thu hospitality receptions, Saturday seminars, Friday & Saturday banquet programs excluding meals.$150
Friday ASA Banquet & Annual MeetingMeal is not required to attend the banquet.
Maple Grain Mustard Roasted Chicken, Grilled Flat Iron Steak, Sesame Soy Glazed Salmon, Grilled Vegetable Tower, None($0)
Saturday ARS Banquet & Annual MeetingMeal is not required to attend the banquet.
Backyard BBQ, None($0)
Wednesday tourWe have planned a paddling trip to float past R. flammeum while in bloom. Limited to 35 people.$150
Thursday tourAtlanta Botanical Garden in the morning, Atlanta History Center and Museum in the afternoon.$100
Friday tourGarden tours: Gibbs Gardens, Gardens at Eula Springs. We will stop and have a buffet lunch at a southern style home known as BabyLand General® Hospital.$85
Sunday Hurricane Creek tourLimited to 12 participants. Hike to see the unusual Hurricane Creek azaleas in bloom; Dawsonville Pool Room for lunch.$25
Sunday-Monday TourOvernight tour around North Georgia. Georgia Botanical Gardens, some impressive waterfalls, and Hamilton Gardens at Lake Chatuge.TBD

Atlanta is a city of trees and parks

The 2023 ARS/ASA Joint Convention is being held in Atlanta, Georgia Wednesday, 19 April to Sunday, 23 April. You can forget the winter because spring will be here. Atlanta is a city of trees. The first thing you will notice about Atlanta is it is green. It has the largest tree canopy of all large US cities with an amazing 47% coverage.

Daytime shot of the Atlanta Beltline and the Midtown Atlanta Skyline. Taken near Piedmont Park.
Photo credit: Gene Phillips

It is a city of parks. We love flowers here. The native azalea is our state wildflower, and Georgia is proud to have 12 species of azaleas growing naturally within the state, more than any other state.

Rhododendron prunifolium. The native azalea is Georgia’s state wildflower
Photo credit: Charles Andrews

Convention Hotel

Atlanta is easy to get to from anywhere. Whether you will be traveling by air or road, many routes lead to Atlanta. Our convention hotel is the Marriott Atlanta Perimeter Center, located north of downtown Atlanta and adjacent to Atlanta’s rapid transit MARTA. (MARTA is convenient to the airport and all downtown attractions) The hotel has undergone a recent $15 million hotel renovation. We have negotiated a great rate of $134 per night, which also applies 3 days before or after the convention. You will have free parking, Wi-Fi and free hotel shuttle within a 2-mile area.

Our hotel is in the Dunwoody area, with access to shopping, dining, parks, and more. Nearby are 7 parks with 170 acres of green space including Dunwoody Nature Center. Perimeter Mall is the second largest mall in the Southeast, with 200 specialty stores. Woodhouse Day Spa is within the mall. Enjoy wine tasting at Vino Venue, Atlanta’s wine school or partake in the many excellent dining opportunities in the area.

Hotel Reservation Link

Azalea-Rhododendron Convention 2023
Start Date: Tuesday, April 18, 2023
End Date: Monday, April 24, 2023
Last Day to Book: Friday, March 31, 2023
Atlanta Marriott Perimeter Center for $134 USD per night
Book your group rate for Azalea-Rhododendron Convention 2023


All tours are optional. Choose which ones fit your schedule and tour conditions.


We have planned a paddling trip to float past R. flammeum while in bloom.  Limited to 35 people.

This is 95% flat water with a slow moving but decent current…unless there are heavy rains. Paddling the canoes will not be required to stay on course and propel the boat, but it is leisurely. Paddling to steer the canoe around shoals, sand bars, and fly fisherman is all that is required with the downside being a soggy bottom. However, feet will get wet, so appropriate footwear would be a good idea and a change of clothes for the bus ride home might be useful. We will provide zip-lock bags for people to safely hold their own wallets and phones.

  • 5-6 hour canoe trip
  • Flint River west of Thomaston, GA (Subject to change based on water conditions; we may change the float trip to the Oconee River near Milledgeville, GA).
  • Chance to see Oconee azaleas in bloom
  • At most Class 1 (Easy) or 2 (Novice) rapids, depending on water conditions
  • Class 1 reserved for fast-moving sections of rivers broken up by small waves and riffles. You’ll recognize these as minor, white disturbances on the water’s surface.
  • Class 2 feature straightforward rapids, wide, clear channels, and slightly more disturbances than Class I. They might still contain rocks and similar obstacles, but they all remain visible at the surface level and can be avoided with minimal maneuvering.
  • Two people per canoe
  • At least one person needs to know how to paddle the canoe
  • Water & snacks
  • Boxed lunch at Sprewell Bluff Park, a county picnic area
  • Turkey, roast beef, or salad (gluten free & vegetarian)
  • Transportation provided
  • Leave hotel 7:30 a.m.
  • Arrive back at hotel about 5:15 p.m.

Poster Presentations

Early on Wednesday and Thursday evenings, we will have welcome receptions with a cash bar. This will be a perfect time to greet old friends and meet new ones. At the receptions, we will have posters stationed around, describing various rhododendron projects. These may include research, horticulture, education, conservation, citizen science, or plant exploration. The poster contributors will be there, available to give you a one-on-one short presentation about the project and answer any questions you may have. The idea is to talk about what is being done and what more should be done with rhododendron research.

Thursday Tours

Thursday morning our tour will center on the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. The Atlanta Botanical Gardens is an urban oasis in Midtown Atlanta, featuring 30 acres of gardens, displays, and exhibits. These include the Rock Garden, Flower Walk, Conifer Garden, Fragrance & Sensory Garden, Skyline Garden, and the Conservation Garden. Additional stops may include the Atlanta History Center and Garden and Piedmont Park.

The Atlanta Botanical Gardens will be an enjoyable tour site
Photo credit: Melissa McAlpine, ACVB* Marketing

You will experience the groves of deciduous azaleas planted in the woodland promenade. You will have time to enjoy the Fuqua Orchid Center and tree-canopy walk.

Native azaleas at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens
Photo credit: Pim Rust

After a picnic lunch we will be off to The Atlanta History Center and Museum located in Buckhead. Thirty-three acres of historic gardens and woodland trails including the ARS azalea bowl. Visit the Cyclorama, the historic Swan House, or the many other exhibits on Atlanta’s history.

The Atlanta History Center has a rhododendron and azalea dell originally developed by the Azalea Chapter ARS. Piedmont Park began as a fairground for expositions in 1887. The Olmsted Brothers prepared a plan for the park in 1912, which was never fully implemented but greatly influenced the development of the park.

The Swan House, part of the Atlanta History Center
Photo credit: Kevin C. Rose, ACVB* &

Friday Tours

We head up into the foothills of the Georgia mountains to visit several outstanding gardens.

Gibbs Gardens, created by Jim Gibbs, is situated on 376 acres at the foothills of the Southern Appalachians, with crisscrossing strolling paths. Multiple branches flow into and through the 24 ponds. You will stroll around the manor house pool and gardens, the rhododendron dell, and the magnificent Japanese garden sited on the largest pond and surrounded by topiary azaleas.

The Japanese garden at Gibbs Gardens
Photo credit: Pim Rust

The Inspiration Gardens has over 1,000 native azaleas with 100+ varieties; a complete collection of Encore® Azaleas, over 1,500 plants; hundreds of dwarf conifers and dwarf Japanese maples; dwarf roses and the complete Knockout Rose collection; all complemented with flowering trees and shrubs.

Streams, azaleas, ferns, and maples at Gibbs Gardens in April
Photo credit: Pim Rust
The Monet Bridge at Gibbs Gardens
Photo credit: Charles Andrews

Beautifully situated in the North Georgia mountains, the Gardens at Eula Springs was created by the inventor of the Cabbage Patch Kids®. We will stop and have lunch at a southern style home known as Babyland General Hospital where you can learn the history of the Appalachian craft that inspired the cabbage patch. Xavier Roberts has been hybridizing azaleas from seed for over a decade with the goal of producing a garden with many unique varieties.

Babyland General Hospital has more than their world-famous Cabbage Patch Kids
Photo credit: courtesy of Babyland General Hospital
The Gardens at Eula Springs
Copyright© 2022, Original Appalachian Artworks, Inc

Saturday Seminars

Saturday is a day planned for seminars and roundtable discussions on plant and chapter topics. Six sessions are planned during the day. Topics are as follows:

  • Rhododendron smokianum, a New North American Species
  • Why Is R. occidentale So Difficult to Grow in the East?
  • Ideas for Rhododendron and Azalea Research
  • Chapter Ideas for Success
  • Rhododendrons for the Southeast
  • Landscape Design

Sunday Tours

We offer several tour possibilities. For a small number (up to 12), a trip to Hurricane Creek is planned, where one may see some of the unusual Hurricane Creek azaleas in bloom. Only people able hike some distances, climb steep hillsides, and cross streams can sign up for this tour.

After the visit to Hurricane Creek, we will stop at the famous Dawsonville Pool Room for lunch. We highly recommend the Bully burger with fresh cut fries. Other private gardens will be open for self-guided tours.

Sunday-Monday Tour

Optional Tours

An over-night tour is planned for Sunday and Monday. The post tour will traverse the foothills where we will visit the Georgia Botanical Gardens, some impressive waterfalls, and Hamilton Gardens at Lake Chatuge. This rhododendron garden was originated by Fred Hamilton, a member of the Azalea Chapter ARS.

Optional tours may include private gardens. On your own there is much to see in the Atlanta area and Georgia. Grant Park Zoo was established in 1889 in a 131-acre Grant Park greenspace. The zoo is home to some 1,500 animals. The Grant Park neighborhood contains the largest remaining area of Victorian architecture in Atlanta.

The Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum is an unusual linear accredited botanical garden primarily dedicated to trees, woody plants, and native and notable perennial plants, all eventually via a 22-mile loop of multi-use trails, modern streetcar, and parks based on railroad corridors that formerly encircled Atlanta.

Oakland Cemetery is one of the oldest in the city and known not only for the funerary art and architecture but also its landscaping.

The old Atlanta Oakland Cemetery is known for its architecture, flora, and famous people buried there
Photo credit: Melissa McAlpine, ACVB* Marketing

The Chattahoochee River National Recreational Area is a federal park along a 48-mile stretch of the river with many miles of walking and bike trails. It contains natural flora and fauna habitats, 19th century historic sites, and Native American archaeological sites.

The Carter Center and Jimmy Carter Presidential Library are located on 37 acres of garden and parkland. Atlanta was the home of Martin Luther King, Jr. His birthplace and the church where he preached are only two historic sites related to Dr. King.

The birthplace of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Photo credit: James Duckworth, ACVB* &

The Atlanta Ponce City Market is an area of shops, food hall, living and office space on Ponce de Leon Avenue and along the Atlanta BeltLine. The main building was once the Sears retail store and southeastern distribution center across from the old Atlanta Crackers and Black Crackers baseball stadium. Atlanta’s High Museum of Art and its large collection are world famous.

Local Attractions

For those who prefer to see what is available in the Atlanta area on Saturday, we will have a list of many of the local attractions, including:

Dunwoody Nature Center
Dunwoody Cultural Arts Center
Atlanta Beltline Arboreum
Chattahoochee River National Rec. Area
Vickery Creek at Roswell Mill
Blue Heron Nature Preserve
East Palisades Trail
Stone Mountain Park
Cascade Springs Nature Preserve
Historic Oakland Cemetery
Fernbank Museum of Natural History
Chattahoochee Nature Center
Lullwater Preserve at Emory University
Olmstead Linear Park
Museum of Design Atlanta

Atlanta Contemporary Arts Center
Georgia Aquarium
High Museum of Art
Martin Luther King, Jr. historic sites
National Center for Civil and Human Rights
Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum
Margaret Mitchell House
Zoo Atlanta
Center for Puppetry Arts
Atlanta Ponce City Market
Fox Theatre
College Football Hall of Fame
Museum of Aviation
Telus Science Museum
Etowah Indian Mounds

Banquet Programs

The ASA banquet and annual meeting will be on Friday night, and the ARS banquet and annual meeting will be on Saturday night. While the banquet meals are an optional extra fee, the banquet programs and meetings are part of the registration fee.

Friday Banquet

Friday night, the keynote speaker will be Susan Treadway, the granddaughter of Mary Gibson Henry. Susan is the director of the Henry Foundation for Botanical Research in Gladwyn, Pennsylvania. She will tell us about the intrepid explorer Mary Gibson Henry, one of 20th century’s early conservationists, who sought to preserve North American native plants. Her many plant explorations into remote and undeveloped areas, especially throughout the American South and Southeast were remarkable but not as well known as she should be. Did you know this woman, accompanied with a copy of Bartram’s Travels, waded into Georgia swamps and climbed Appalachian mountains, in search of native azaleas long before Henry Skinner made his epic journey? Hers is an interesting story you will not want to miss.

Mary Gibson Henry was a self-taught field botanist and horticulturist with an international reputation. Born in 1884, Mary married a Philadelphia physician in 1909 who later became Philadelphia’s director of public health. She developed an interest in plants and read widely in botany and horticulture. She was especially interested in wild plants of the southeastern United States, inspired in part by William Bartram’s Travels. Beginning in 1929, she made many trips to the Southeast, the Atlantic Coastal Plain, into the Piedmont Plateau and the Appalachians. One of her main goals was outstanding forms of deciduous azaleas. Her first trip to the Southeast was in search of Rhododendron speciosum, now R. flammeum. She, with some of her children, also made plant exploration trips into an unexplored area of the Canadian Rockies in the Peace River area, where Mount Mary Henry in British Columbia is named for her. This intrepid plant explorer fearlessly wandered through pathless forests, waded into snake-infested swamps, crossed streams, and climbed mountains in search of America’s floral beauties.

Friday Banquet Meal Choices

  • Grilled Flat Iron Steak, Blue Cheese, Pickled Bell Pepper Slaw, Grilled Asparagus, Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Garlic au Jus
  • Sesame Soy Glazed Salmon, Jasmine Rice, Carrot and Snow Pea Slaw, Wax Beans, Thai Coconut Curry Sauce
  • Maple Grain Mustard Roasted Chicken, Saffron Risottos, Broccolini, Sundried Tomato and Olive Relish
  • Grilled Vegetable Tower with a Roasted Red Pepper Coulis and Shaved Pecorino Cheese with Baby Iceberg Wedge, Oranges, Strawberries, Sunflower Seeds, Goat Cheese, Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing

And for dessert, Chocolate Cheesecake, Grand Marnier Crème Anglaise

Saturday Banquet

Saturday night, you will be entertained by Tom Johnson. Tom is vice president of the Azalea Society of America. He recently retired as executive director of Magnolia Plantation and Gardens in Charleston, South Carolina. Before that he was horticulturist for the American Camellia Society. Growing up as a simple red dirt farmer in middle Georgia, Tom has been blessed to take his southern heritage with him as he traveled and visited gardens around the world. It has however led to some interesting stories as he carried his deep horticultural knowledge hidden under a south Georgia raising to different cultures around the world. Join Tom as he takes a humorous look at his journeys as a horticultural ambassador to the world.

Saturday Backyard BBQ Buffet Food Selections

  • Smoked Chicken and Sweet Potato Chowder
  • Watermelon, Orange and Feta Salad, Chopped Mint, Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Romaine and Watercress with Avocado, Jicama, Tomatoes, Chili Lime Vinaigrette
  • Macaroni Salad, Charred Poblanos, Smoked Gouda Dressing
  • Baked Potatoes with Sour Cream, Cheddar Cheese, Bacon Bits, Scallions and Whipped Butter
  • Chili Beans, Sour Cream, Scallions
  • Grilled Salmon, Roasted Fennel Couscous, Parmesan and Tomato Fondue
  • Grilled Ribeye Steaks, Blue Cheese and Pickles Red Onion, Demi Glas
  • Sweetwater 420 Braised and Grilled Bratwurst, Charred Poblanos and Onions, Pretzel Buns
  • Grilled Fresh Corn on the Cob, Roasted Garlic and Scallion Butter
  • Buttermilk Biscuits and Cornbread (we can provide gluten free options as well)

And for dessert, Dark Chocolate Cake and Warm Apple Cobbler with Vanilla Ice Cream

Plant Sale

As expected, many plants will be available at our plant sale, including rhododendrons, azaleas from Legacy Project hybridizers, and deciduous azaleas. A website with images & descriptions of the plants will be available in March with the cultivars and species for sale.

Georgia, Home of Ray Charles

There is so much to see down here! We have the flora and so much more. It is easy to get to Atlanta. Your plant friends will be here. We’re going to have a fun time, a great time. Pack your bags and come to Georgia with Azaleas on My Mind next April. The dates are Wednesday, 19 April to Sunday, 23 April 2023. You don’t want to miss this!

* ACVB = Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau