Region 13 of the AHS

2000 Regional meeting overview

My hope here is to sweep you through the weekend events. Our guest contributors have written about the gardens, flowers and have given us articles well worth your reading time and a big glass of iced tea. Each garden had many lovely cultivars and they were wonderfully grown examples of the hybridizers art.

A sapphire blue lake was a cool and inviting sight as we arrived at the Regional meeting in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Flat, hot Louisiana seemed far away as the breeze welcomed us to a different part of the region. And it was cool, at least for June back home! A day of seventy-eight degrees was heavenly! We also enjoyed the beautiful lake as we realized that it was the perfect way to add blue to any daylily garden.

On Thursday, check-in table for the meeting at the Clarion Resort on Lake Hamilton was graciously and efficiently handled by Bob Byers, the Registrar and Treasurer for Hot Springs Daylily Society and by Shelia Brown, Tour book and hospitality. A generously filled tour bag of goodies was handed to each participant as they registered. It sported a four-color, hand screen-printed design of the daylily and its parts plus the bag was filled with gardening items as well as local information and a nicely planned meeting & tour book. Activities on Thursday afternoon included visits to open gardens in the area and socializing with daylily friends from all over Louisiana and Arkansas. Even after garden touring, several hardy souls checked out the outlet mall and gave it high marks. As supper Thursday night was “on your own,” folks had a good time finding the best food in town and comparing notes.

Friday morning started bright and early and thankfully still cool. Tour participants gathered in the lobby and awaited the signal to rush the bus. Both large busses filled and we were off to breakfast in the gardens. This practice of serving breakfast on a napkin in the gardens worked very well as no one was late for the bus and we spent time with friends and flowers rather than in a coffee shop. Juice and coffee and buns and fruit and muffins of many types were greatly appreciated by all.

Our first stop for breakfast and flowers was the home of Tom and Nancy Vandegrift on beautiful Lake Hamilton. Here I loved the big Jack Rabbit bronze! His expression is priceless. He presides over a wonderful mix of maple tree specimens and fruit trees and vines and orchids as well as daylilies. Breakfast on the back porch – oh, back porch has a whole new meaning for me now –big rockers, tall ceilings, ferns, daylilies, lawn stretching down to the lake beyond. It was the first of what I came to call the “polished jewel gardens” – a term that could be applied to each and every garden we saw that weekend.

Our next stop was just around the corner from Tom and Nancy at the home of Bette and Larry Stoelzing; another polished jewel of a garden manicured to tour perfection. Here the blue hydrangeas took my breath away! Her village of bird houses tucked in a quiet corner is the sort of garden surprise all the books tell us to add to our gardens. Her mix of colors with her daylilies reminded me of an artist at work. More breakfast goodies, great coffee, another super back porch and wonderful second story decks gave a view of the blue lake and the horizon. Island beds beckoned, as did conversations all around from people I have come to call friends. But then the bus whistle and off we went to the next garden.

As most tour participants know, there is always at least one driveway challenge at every tour worth its salt. Our bus drivers met the challenge and delivered us happily to the gates of the home of Ted and Gloria Damron. Big grins and bear hugs greeted tour folks as our host and hostess welcomed everyone in their gardens. Hard work, much time and investment have certainly paid off in this lovely property. Sloping lawns, curved beds, paved walks and patios with a large picnic area the scene of our lunch on Friday. A catered bar-b-q lunch with beef, chicken and ribs with side dishes and a big cookie with cold drinks, wonderful bottled water and juice were enjoyed by all. The Luke Senior, Jr. seedling competition flowerbed was located in this garden with seedlings from Arkansas hybridizers planted in this bed. All tour participants choose the favorite seedling with the winner announced at the Awards Banquet on Saturday.

An early afternoon return to the hotel found many tour participants headed to the garden of Ann Binkley for a Garden Judges Clinic 1 and 2. Regional Director Beth Crochet and Clarence Crochet, Garden Judges Liaison for Reg 13 both taught the clinics. An additional garden was included in the clinic as participants also visited the gardens of Peggy and Bob Tucker.

Friday evening began with the business meeting of AHS Region 13 and the announcement of the results of the election of RVP for the next 2 years and additional business and reports. Ken Begnaud announced that he had been re-elected RVP and thanked everyone. Following that was a social hour and a chance to bid on the items collected for Silent Auction. Bette Stoelzing served as coordinator for the Silent Auction. Auction items ranged from silver compotes, artwork, a custom designed needlepoint canvas, hand crafted garden ornaments, ceramic sculpture and more. A “build your own sandwich” buffet was served and folks enjoyed it thoroughly. Following dinner, we enjoyed a slide show by Clarence and Beth Crochet showing us “The Best & Newest of Region 13”. Over 100 slides were sent for the show and Clarence thanked all the region’s hybridizers for their participation. After showing us such lovely flowers, Clarence took up the gavel as auctioneer for the region Live Auction. The bidding was lively and over 40 fine, new cultivars found new homes. The live auction raised almost $2000 to support the activities on a regional level. On behalf of all members of Region 13, Clarence thanked all who participated for their continued support with donated plants, purchases and hard work.

Saturday’s tours followed the same nice pace as Friday with buses leaving on time and arriving for breakfast in the first garden by eight thirty and while it is was still cool. This first garden was the garden of Peggy and Bob Tucker, a new and exciting garden of mixes and experiments that are a happy blend of perennials and daylilies, trees and decks. Wide border beds the size of most gardens are a special feature of this garden. Again the food was abundant & tasty and just what the visitors wanted. The blue of the pool was a nice counterpoint to the green of the tree canopy that cooled the decks on both garden levels.

Too soon the bus call was given and we were off again to another garden. A neat surprise during our ride to the next garden was the gift to each tour visitor of a very nice bus plant. Grown and donated by Jerry and Nancy Martin, the fans of daylilies were a great source of excitement and conversation on the bus and beyond.

A nice ride brought us a short distance to Glenwood, Arkansas for the final garden of the tour, the AHS Display garden of Jerry and Nancy Martin. Water falls and ponds, rock walls and blooming annuals all set the stage for a beautiful but serious and working garden of a daylily grower and hybridizer. Display beds, seedling areas, shaded and covered rows of prime cultivars all mixed with native trees and ornamentals for a garden that works as well as welcomes visitors. This garden was the site of the business meeting of the Arkansas State Daylily Society. The clematis collection and the red bud tree are not to be missed. Additionally, this garden was the site of the Emma Middlebrooks Memorial Award seedling competition bed. Hybridizers from both Louisiana and Arkansas are encouraged to enter up to 3 seedlings and tour visitors vote for their favorite with the winner announced at Saturday nights Awards Banquet.

Free time following Saturday afternoon’s return to the hotel saw some visitor headed for the Exhibition Judges clinic taught by Nettie Harper and assisted by RVP Ken Begnaud. They made the point that our region ahs several available slots for exhibition judges as well as garden judges and it is an activity many should consider. Saturday afternoon also found some folks resting and others seeing the sights in historic downtown Hot Springs, enjoying the nice cool weather.

Sundown Saturday found all the meeting participants in the ballroom of the hotel with floor to ceiling glass walls and many watching a rainstorm approach – a rare event for some of us lately. The social hour gave one last chance to bid on the Silent Auction items. Following dinner, Mike Brown, President of the host club, welcomed everyone and expressed his thanks to all who worked so hard to bring the meeting together. Mike introduced the co-chairman of the planning team for the meeting – Ann Binkley and Jerry Martin. On behalf of both Jerry and herself, Ann rose to introduce and thank everyone who worked so hard and those who donated so generously of time, plants, energy and talents to make the weekend a success.

Ann announced one of the contests of this meeting was the “Best Clump Award.” This was for the clump in flower in a tour garden as voted on by tour visitors. The winner was in the garden of Gloria and Ted Damron. The clump was of GAYLE CANNON by B. Cannon of N. Little Rock. Gloria happily accepted a prize of a gift card to Lowe’s Garden Center. Ann also recognized Tom Walker and thanked him for acting as photographer for the weekend.

Mike rose to introduce LaVera Burkett Johnson, President of the Arkansas State Daylily Society who welcomed all and invited everyone to return again soon. She also announced the winner of the Luke Senior, Jr. Award for seedlings as Jerry Martin.

Mike Brown next introduced Ken Beganud Regional Vice President, who thanked the host club and members of the Hot Springs Daylily Society for their hospitality and for a fine regional meeting and tours. He introduced Mrs. Beth Crochet, our member of the Board of Directors to AHS and introduced his appointed regional officers. He also introduced two past Presidents of AHS in attendance that night, Dorothea Boldt and Clarence Crochet.

Next Ken announced the winner of the Emma Middlebrooks Memorial Award as Bill Cannon for seedling entry #40, a lovely yellow daylily. Accepting the award of a crystal vase in the absence of Mr. Cannon was his friend, Tom Flamang, past RVP from Little Rock.

To complete the evening, an Impromptu Auction was conducted by Clarence Crochet as auctioneer for daylilies donated for the benefit of the local host club. Five members in attendance stepped up to the challenge by donating 11 cultivars that raised over $800 for local club use to defray regional meeting expenses. Again, please accept our grateful appreciation to all who donated.

It is nice to enjoy that “at home” feeling even when many miles from home and it came from all the folks of Hot Springs!

Thank You.