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Kathy Bones,
Suislaw Chapter


Bronze Medal Awardees

Siuslaw Chapter honors Kathy Bones  with  a Bronze Award...Kathy has served as Chapter secretary for many years.  She exemplifies the patience and responsibility the job requires.  She has brought willingness and enthusiasm to the position while sharing her advice, ideas, and diplomacy for the benefit of the Chapter.  We thank Kathy for opening her home to Chapter parties, picnics, committee meetings, and study group sessions.  Her good sense of humor has enlivened our meetings and made them even more enjoyable.


Susan Clark, Massachusetts Chapter


Susan Clark is an unbelievable person…listen how the Massachusetts Chapter’s President Bill Sweeney went on record to say, “The most notable thing about Susan is her willingness to wade into battle over issues she considers important.  She remains undaunted, regardless of bombs bursting in air.  After any battle, when the dawn comes, her banner still waves…even if it is somewhat tattered!  That’s our Susan!”

Susan has been a member of the Chapter for 18 years, during which time she participated in the Propagators and Species Study Groups, the Scholarship, Judging, Nominating, Convention 2000 Book, gifts, and Program Committees, as well as serving on the Board.  She has a keen desire to in-depth knowledge and improvements.

In 1993 Betty Carlhian and Susan initiated a project to accumulate data on the performance of species growing in members’ gardens, and continues as a feature in the Newsletter as “Rhododendron Species in our Midst.”  In 1994 she founded the Judging Committee, and now serves as Steward at Truss and Foliage Shows.  Her wry sense of humor and common sense stood her in good stead when serving as Vice President and then President.  True to form, accomplishments were made under her flag of leadership: moving the Case Estates Garden to Elm Bank, establishment of the Tim Craig, Powell Huie, and Ivan Donovan Trophies, and establishment of Richard Brooks Speaker Endowment Fund, and now serves as editor of the Newsletter.


Steve Hootman, Seattle Chapter

Steve Hootman was awarded the Bronze Award by President Diane Thompson on December 2, 2002.  The presentation said: “Steve, you have shared your love and enthusiasm for rhododendrons in many ways.  We traveled with you on your plant hunting expeditions through your slide programs.  You brought many plants to our auctions and you used your expertise as a judge at our shows.  As a valued member of the Board of Directors for four years, you have contributed time, ideas, and good judgment.  Our questions have been answered patiently.  In appreciation of your dedication to the Seattle Rhododendron Society, we are pleased to award you, our highest honor, the Bronze Medal.”


Carl ‘Jake’ Jacobson,
Whidbey Island Chapter


Whidbey Island Chapter presents the Chapter’s highest award to Jake Jacobson ... in recognition of his continuing support and his many contributions toward the growth and well-being of the Chapter and for his interest in the beloved genus Rhododendron.  When it comes to growing rhododendrons in challenging climates, Jake has the experience!  For decades he grew many of Elsie Watson’s hybrids in Alaska, testing them for hardiness.  Concurrently, he grew tender rhododendrons and vireyas in Hawaii.  He and his wife, Peg, finally discovered the perfect growing conditions upon moving to Whidbey Island.

Jake’s work with the world of rhododendrons includes hybridizing, grafting, and landscaping design.  He is particularly fond of the species in subgenus hymenanthes, and has been the driving force in the conception and creation of the Big Leaf Valley at Meerkeek Rhododendron Gardens.

Jake is an inspiration to our Chapter, as well as the thousands of visitors who learn about these exotic rhododendrons when visiting the Gardens each year.  He is also a contributor to expeditions to further the knowledge of rhododendrons.  The Whidbey Island Chapter is proud of Jake!


Jim Smith,
Suislaw Chapter


Siuslaw Chapter honors Jim Smith with a Bronze Medal...Jim’s organizational skills and leadership ability have been invaluable.  He has served with distinction as Board Member, President, Past-President, and Show Chairman.  He has been a teacher, counselor, and mentor.  Under his direction the Siuslaw Chapter’s Rhododendron Shows have become among the best in the American Rhododendron Society.  As “Dr. Rhody” his advice and guidance have helped us all.  His propagation successes have enriched our gardens and the genus Rhododendron.


Don Voss,
Potamac Valley Chapter


The Potomac Valley presented Don Voss with the Bronze Medal at their Fall banquet, stating they have really appreciated Don’s expertise and guidance over the years.  He is an azalea expert, prolific author, super flower show judge, our resident authority on anything related to color, and much more.  Congratulations, Don!



Francesca Darts, Vancouver Chapter

Degrees Attained and Awarded

Francesa Darts was awarded an honorary doctorate from Kwantlen University College, Vancouver, and a Royal Jubilee Medal, by the Governor General.


Dr. Clive Justice, Vancouver Chapter

Hurrah!  Clive Justice completed his doctorate in history, based on his historical research into the development of English Gardens in two distinctive Canadian climates—the West Coast and the Prairies at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver.

Some 60 years ago, while serving in the Canadian army in England, Clive saw the English countryside and decided, “This is what the world should look like.”  Over the next six decades, as a landscape designer and artist, he nurtured his passion for garden plants in the creation of striking English gardens and landscapes throughout Vancouver and around the world.

Clive studied to become a landscape architect in California during the era when “gardens were for people…not plants.”  He returned to Vancouver to found one of the city’s first landscape architectural firms, Justice and Webb, who have been responsible for creating several showcase parks and grounds throughout the city, botanical gardens at UBC, and campus gardens at the University of Saskatchewan.

His keen interests led him to study the origins of rhododendrons and to trek into the Sikkim Himalayas and China, where many familiar species and the parents of common hybrids originated.  He considers gardens to be true art forms.  “They are works in progress,” says Clive.



Bill Dale, Cowichan Valley Chapter



Bill Dale is to be honored on Fraser Day, May 24, for his involvement with making the roadsides leading into Ucluelet, Vancouver Island, more beautiful.  A little history of his love for rhododendrons seemed appropriate.

Bill is now 86 years old and has been a member of the Cowichan Valley Chapter for years.  He spent his working life in the pulp and paper industry on the coast of British Columbia, retiring to the Sannich Peninsula just north of Victoria, and became interested in gardening.  His passion for rhododendrons is equalized only by his interest in the historical aspect which also surrounds the genus.

Through the years, Bill has become an authority on the life and times of George Fraser, a plants man, a rhododendron hybridizer, who lived on the far west coast of Vancouver Island in a small coastal village called Ucluelet.  It was from this remote fishing village that Fraser, in the 19 th century, corresponded with the likes of John Blair of Pennsylvania and Joe Gable in the Eastern United States.

In 1889, the city of Victoria hired this noted landscape architect, John Blair, to build and produce “Beacon Hill Park,” the primary park within the capitol city.  Mr. Blair, once accepting the contract, immediately hired George Fraser as his foreman.  Over time some 2000 plants had been ordered from the Thomas Meghan Nursery, Georgetown, PA.  Those plants that still exist in the Park, unfortunately have lost their ID tags, or have even been forgotten where they are planted…except for five huge rhododendron ‘Cynthia’s’ which are known to have been among the plants ordered in 1889.  A number of years ago, Bill Dale was instrumental in having the city of Victoria to lay a stone in the Park commemorating George Fraser and his contributions.  Bill has also managed to acquire the correspondence that passed between George Fraser and Joe Gable…with a total of 62 letters are now stored in the British Columbia Archives.

Ucluelet now celebrates “George Fraser Day” each year in May.  Bill still works closely with the village fathers on this enterprise and has collected over 200 rhododendrons from the five ARS chapters on Vancouver Island, planting them along the roadside leading into the town. “Fraser Day” will be on May 24th this year.

Since Bill has decided to sell his house…he did not want to see his rare “Fraser” plants fall into uninterested or uncaring hands.  Seven mature plants have been moved to the Beacon Hill Park.  These “Fraser” rhododendrons include: 'John Blair', 'George Fraser', 'Albert Close', 'Mrs. Jamie Fraser', 'Fraser Pink', 'Fraserii', and 'Maxie'.

If at all possible come to the dedication of these special plants to the city of Victoria and Beacon Hill Park on April 25 at 11 a.m.  You can sure the beauty of these plants, the history behind them, and loving given them by Bill Dale will long be remembered..a living tribute to Bill and his love for this genus called Rhododendron.


Ken Gibson, Nanaimo Chapter


Congratulations to Ken Gibson, Canada’s Recognized Rhodo Ambassador!  He was awarded the Commemorative medal for the Gold Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.  The medal commemorates the 50th anniversary of Her Majesty’s accession to the Throne as Queen of Canada and was presented to a select group of Canadians in recognition of their achievements.  The awards ceremony was held at the Bayside Inn, Parksville, November 12th, 2002.

Ken was a long-time district counselor in Tofiino.  He also discovered the location of Fort Defiance on Meares Island, where the Yankee trader Captain Robert Gray camped in the winter of 1791-1792.  Fort Defiance is now a protected archeological site. Captain Gray named the Columbia River for his ship, the Columbia.  The name British Columbia was officially proclaimed in 1858.  Nanaimo Chapter members know Ken best for his service to the American Rhododendron Society for which he and his wife, Dot, were awarded the ARS Silver Medal in 1997.


Chris Klapwiijk, Fraser South Chapter


Chris Klapwiijk was given a Chapter award for his great effort and outstanding success in developing the Chapter’s website. This plaque reads: In appreciation of your efforts to develop the excellent Fraser South Rhododendron Society's website, which promotes our club throughout the world, we are pleased to award you with the Harold Johnson Memorial Award.  Fraser South Rhododendron Society 2002


Mike Trembath, Frazer South Chapter

  Frazer South Rhododendron Society presents Mike Trembath with an award: In appreciation of your long serving and dedicated contributions of The Yak, Fraser South Rhododendron Society's Newsletter and for undertaking the Chapter's history project, the first ten years, we are pleased to award you with the Ella J. Crabb Memorial Award.


Thomas Howard Brown, Vancouver Chapter



Tom Brown died after a long and difficult period of failing health on October 10.  With his typical sense of humor, he characterized the past almost six years since his diagnosis as being blessedly long, although it was sometimes awkward and inconvenient being the battlefield on which the doctors fought his cancer.

Tom and his wife, Meg, have been members of the VRS for over 20 years, also belonging to the Fraser South for several years. Tom liked to experiment, and succeeded in taking a succession of cuttings in the spring for those plants that were very difficult to root in the fall; he had great success in placing plants on top of the ground and covering the roots with bark mulch.

As an associate professor of geology, specializing in geochemistry, his major contribution to the ARS was in designing the correct formulation in rhododendron fertilizer for the Vancouver area.

Tom was a director of the VRS, a vice president, and gave talks to the Chapter on many subjects. He was an active birder and belonged to several birding societies.

In tribute to Tom, the flag at the Chan Centre was lowered to half-mast. He will be missed.


J. Powell Huie, Massachusetts Chapter

  Powell Huie, member of the Massachusetts Chapter, died January 19, 2003, after a long, frustrating, and painful campaign to gain the upper hand over his disease and falling eyesight.  He and his wife, Maggie, had a marvelous garden in Westport Point, MA.  Their garden is a wonderland of species and hybrid azaleas and rhododendrons, as well as a fine collection of perennials, and ornamental flowering trees and conifers.

He was ever pushing the envelope on what unusual species he could grow in his temperate garden.  Members of the Massachusetts Chapter well remember how he dazzled them with his talk, “Rhododendron Species Close-up: The Things You Don’t See with the Naked Eye.”

A graduate of Harvard University and graduate work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Powell also served in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II attaining the rank of Captain…and, because was a former Marine drill instructor…he had no need to use a microphone!

Powell was a member of the Massachusetts Chapter for 20 years, an active member of the Rhododendron Species Foundation, and an early member of the Chapter’s Horticultural Society’s Rhododendron, Camellia, and Magnolia Group.  Powell and Maggie were frequent winners at the annual May Truss Shows with their stunning entries, and often opened their garden for tours.

The Chapter is going to miss Powell’s competitive spirit and sense of humor as spring comes to Massachusetts.


Jean Marie Minch, Cascade Chapter


Jean Marie Minch, wife of Fred “Freddy” L. Minch, Jr., died February 3, 2003.  She was married to her high school sweetheart for more than 55 years.  Jean and Fred were active members of the ARS and The Azalea Society of America.  Jean took time to appreciate flowers, and was awarded many times for her creative rhododendron photographs.  She loved the outdoors and was always up for an adventure.  She had a strong will, a generous heart, and was a wonderful caregiver for those in need.  In addition to her husband, Fred, a daughter and a son, five grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, a brother, and a host of friends all share in their loss.


Edward King Poor III, Midwest Chapter

Edward Poor, age 74, died November 6, 2002, at his Winnetka, IL home.  He was a World War II veteran, having served in the U.S. Army.  He was a partner in a law firm, an avid gardener, and the beloved husband of author Janet Meakin Poor, and a devoted grandfather of four.  Some gardeners will remember the books his wife wrote: Plants that Merit Attention, Vol. 1 and 2.

George Robinson II, Massachusetts Chapter

Reverend George Robinson II and his wife, Marjory, of Marion, MA, joined the Chapter In 1982, and both were very active in the Plants for Members program.  At age 82, on October 25, 2002, George died…and, unfortunately, their son, George III, died on September 22.  Marjory suffered two tragic losses in such a short time. George was an avid vegetable gardener and a collector of rhododendron hybrids.  He was always quick to share cuttings and small plants with others.  He was a devoted basketball fan, following the Boston Celtics.

Dorothy Schlaikjer, Long Island Chapter

Dorothy Schlaikjer died, at the age of 90, on October 25, 2002.  She was a dedicated, enthusiastic, and a hard-working member.  In 1952 she and her husband bought an almost 10-acre summer retreat where John Parker and Sam Everett had been collecting and planting Dexter rhododendrons for many years.  Some were named: 'Parkers Pink', 'Halesite Maiden', 'Nathan Hale', 'Huntington', and 'Mrs. W. R. Coe'.  Later, the ARS numbered many other plants for identification purposes.

Dorothy’s son, Dana, recalls how his mother encouraged his small television repair service when he was a teenager.  When she hybridized 'Halolite', she named it after a new, improved, easy-on-the-eye television tube with a fluorescent border…which suggested to her the yellow 'Halolite' truss with a pink border.

Dorothy served as president of the Long Island Chapter from 1975 through 1978, besides serving on the Board of Directors for years.  During her tenure as president, she initiated the ARS study group which served as a learning forum for new members.

Dorothy’s passion for rhododendrons can be seen in a grove on the Schlaikjer place in early spring which is covered with hundreds of translucent pink-flowered Schlippenbachii…many as tall as 15 feet…and is a veritable wonderland, a vision of earthly delight by a lady named Dorothy.


Tribute to Betty Spady

Betty Spady was dearly loved by members of the American Rhododendron Society…around the world.  This proved evident as the various chapters sent their newsletters to the new editor.

From North and South, from East and West notations were made in the newsletters of her valuable contributions to the total success of the first electronic newsletter, Rhododendron and Azalea News, for more than eight years.  Each stated how much they would miss her involvement and the news she shared with others, and expressed the best of wishes to her beloved husband, Herb, who assisted her on the technical side.  Yes, all of us will miss her dedication and will remember her.  Thanks for being so kind with your remarks and support of Herb.


It's all in the family...genealogies and members!

The Averills, Portland Chapter

It's been very interesting to see the number of new members who have become members because their parents belonged to an ARS chapter.  Here are a few:

The Portland Chapter has found the perfect garden chairman: Anya Averill.  Her parents, Jim and Katy Averill, have been long-time members and say, "She's a daughter easy to be proud of."

Anya's husband,Stuart Celarier , has already pitched in with many hours of heavy gardening.


Alice Berkshire, Seattle Chapter

Alice Berkshire grew up in Seattle, moved to the mountains of Idaho for 30 years, returned to the Northwest and is now living in Freeland.  While in Idaho, Alice followed her mother’s passion for rhododendrons (and geraniums) and was able to produce healthy plants despite less than ideal rhododendron growing conditions.  It was not uncommon for people to want her lovely ‘mountain grown’ rhodos included in their wedding or special pictures. 

Alice holds a special interest in her heart for rhododendrons and wants to learn more about extending their season.  Sounds like another rhodoholic in the making!


The Dickmans, Victoria Chapter

Kelly and Garth Dickman have long been destined to join the ARS: Garth's father, John Dickman, is the family rhododendron patriarch and, of course, sister Heather Dickman, is the Chapter's president!

There's more: daughter, Natasha, is a budding enthusiast at age 20!  And, in between her labors in the rhododendron garden, she is a computer science student at the University of Victoria. The Chapter is most pleased to welcome her as a rhodophile and potential cyber genius.  Gardening activities are shared by the whole family.  Another truth...that it's all in the family!



National ARS Convention


The 58th Annual International Convention of the ARS will be held in Olympia, WA, April 30 to May 4.  It is a collaborative effort of the following District 3 Chapters: Juan de Fuca, Kitsap, Olympia, Olympic Peninsula, Peninsula, Shelton, and Tacoma.

The Convention will be held at the Red Lion Hotel.  Reservations can be made by phone: 800-325-4000, or e-mail:  The convention rates are $92, for a single or a double, and $145, for a parlor suite.  Register early and when making reservations, be sure to ask for the ARS rate.  Three additional nights at convention rates are available to attendees who wish to arrive early or stay in the area following the convention.

Olympia is the capital of the State of Washington and boasts one of the most beautiful capitol buildings in the United States.  Located at the southern-most tip of Puget Sound, Olympic is a short drive from many of the “Treasures of the Pacific Northwest” including: the Cascade Mountains and Mount Rainier, the Pacific Ocean, Hood Canal, the Olympic Mountains, the Olympic Peninsula Rain Forest, and the Columbia River.  Convention-goers may want to extend their stay and explore some of these natural wonders.

Membership in the ARS is not required to attend the convention.

We would like to extend a special invitation to the members of the Azalea Society of America to come and join the convention’s activities.

Plan to visit the convention store, vote for your favorite truss, and acquire wonderful plants at the plant sale. Rhododendron ‘Fire Rim’ will be offered at the plant sale.

For additional convention information send e-mail to:


Azalea Society of America Convention

The 2003 Convention of the Azalea Society of America will be held in Chattanooga, TN, May 1-4, 2003.  See native azaleas around Chattanooga, see public and private gardens, hear talks about natives and other azaleas, renew old friendships and make new ones, and buy great azaleas at great prices.  For more information contact Denise Stelloh, Convention Registrar, at 828-697-9959 or email to


D. G. Hobbie Rhododendron Park anniversary

D. G. Hobbie Rhododendron Park, Linswege, Germany, will celebrate 75 years of showing off rhododendrons to the world on May 1, 2003.

First rhododendron conference to be held in Norway

The very first conference Bergen Rhododendron Convention will be held in Bergen, Norway, May 31 to June 3, 2003.  This is to be an outstanding convention where rhododendron experts from around the world will meet to share and exchange information of this beloved species.



“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap…but by the seeds that you plant.” 
    –Robert Louis Stevenson, submitted by Massachusetts Chapter


American Rhododendron Society
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