June 29, 2019

Annual Convention for Organic Gardens

July 4, 5, 6 1968 saw Ruth and myself in St. Louis attending the AHS 22nd annual convention. Thursday morning, when we were having breakfast in the hotel, Bertie Ferris (Texas) asked me to help with the exhibition judges school later that day. From that time on at every convention I attended, Bertie would look for me on thursday morning. I was glad to help and enjoyed every minute.

At the time of this meeting I was RVP for region 3 and I attended the RVP meeting hosted by Mrs. Warren Gardner. She lived in Gastonia, NC, and in later years whenever I visited Iron Gate Gardens I would try to make a visit to see her. Mrs. Gardner was 1st vice-President of the AHS at that time.

The garden I enjoyed the most was Oscie Whatleys, he had 4 or 5 yellow seedlings that were the hit of the convention. I believe that JOMICO ’68 was one of them, as was JAKARTA ’69. SOLO (Branch ’60) was in the background for both of them. During the following years it seems that Oscie was always at Iron Gate Gardens when ever I visited, which is one reason I continue to make those visits (to visit old friends). Other than those two my organic garden favorite was

  • BUDDHA ’69
  • JAVA SEA ’70
  • MALAYSIA ’70
  • WABADA ’71

I remember meeting Jim Cooper here in St. Louis, I think it may have been in the hotel bar when we learned that the “Bud” beer we were drinking was not brewed in St. Louis, but elsewhere. Jim and I became very friends and saw each other at the many region 15 meetings that I attended. Another person I got to meet in St. Louis was George Lenington, Kansas City, MO. I believe we meet over lunch in the hotel. His hems that I grew are:

  • McPICK ’57

McPICK was my top favorite of his, it lasted in my garden for a good number of years.

My Trip to Ed Gravatt Organic Garden

The following week-end was the region three tour in Philadelphia. The tour started in Ed Gravatt garden in Burlington, NJ. Ed had vast acreage planted in daylilies and it was the main garden that we visited. He was a regular visitor to the DC area and usually stopped to visit me on the way home. Ruth would get some corn from the farmers stand in town and fix up a great meal on the screened-in carport. She did this for a lot of the visitors, particularly Ned Irish, Brodbecks, PA. Some of the Grovatt hems I grew were;

  • YELLOW WAX ’66
  • LUCY COX ’72

One of the gardens we visited that day was that of Edward Murray, Jr., Levittown, PA. He followed me as region three RVP. Now you know who Ed Murray is. For some reason I never grew ED MURRAY ’71.

The 1970 Atlanta Convention was another one that Ruth went with me. However, she didn’t attend, she and the boys stayed with old friend (Bridesmaid) who had moved to Atlanta. We stopped for several days at North Myrtle Beach on the way down, so the boys would have some fun too. Ruth and I did make a special visit to Mary Lester and her garden, who had stopped hybridizing by then. Some of her cultivars that I grew were;

  • JACK FROST ’53

Organic Cultivars in Atlanta

In looking thru the Atlanta booklet, I did find a number of my own cultivars listed. Most of them were in Mrs. Tolleson garden, including those out of SOLO. One of these was TRAFFIC WHIRL, and as I recall there was a lady down in Georgia bought this one from me. After that, each year until she died, we would send me a letter telling me how much she enjoyed this plant. One of the convention gardens visited was that of Jim McGinnis and Fred Ham, I didn’t get to meet them then, and it was later on at other meetings that they became good friends.

It was here in Atlanta that we meet Van Sellers and he encouraged us to visit. Which we did several years later and we haven’t stop visiting yet. Another good friend that we meet at this convention was Bob Kennedy, from Camden, SC. I was able to visit his garden several times and we saw each at other at many region 15 meetings. I think that I have attended as many region 15 meetings as I have my own region 3. My garden favorites were:

  • RAINDROP ’72
  • PUDDIN ’72

From Atlanta, we (and the boys) went to Jenkinsburg, GA to visit Frank Childs. Frank had sent numerous plants to the ’59 convention in DC and this visit was one I really wanted. My garden favorites were:

  • NOBILITY ’57
  • TOP HONORS ’76
  • CHEERFUL ’74

Well , that is enough for now, next time it will Orlando 1974

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