Azalea Society convention March 26

  • Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Four of the nation’s leading azalea experts are scheduled to speak during the Azalea Society of America’s annual convention March 26-30 at the Charleston Marriott on Lockwood Boulevard.

About 150 gardeners from around the U.S. are expected to attend the convention, organized by the Rev. John Drayton Chapter of the ASA, based at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens.

Convention co-chair Lynda Creek said, “If you love azaleas you should see azaleas in the springtime in Charleston where the Rev. John Grimké Drayton first planted them outside.” Drayton owned Magnolia from 1836 to 1891.

Drayton’s contribution to spreading the azalea’s popularity will be the first of two addresses during the association’s membership meeting at 7 p.m. Friday, March 28. “When Azaleas Moved Outside,” is the title of Magnolia’s executive director Tom Johnson’s presentation. He will be followed by Ernest F. Koone III, owner of Lazy K Nursery in Pine Mountain, Ga. Koone’s presentation is titled: “The State of the Industry: Tragedy & Triumph.”

Mary Roper and Robert E. “Buddy” Lee are the speakers slated for the 7 p.m. annual meeting and banquet. Roper, manager at Asticou Azalea Garden in Acadia, Maine, will discuss “Growing Azaleas in the Cold.” Lee is director of Plant Innovation and Plant Development Services in Loxley, Ala. He will review the latest encore azalea developments.

The convention schedule includes plant sales, plant and photo competitions, city and harbor tours, garden tours at Magnolia, Cypress Gardens and Middleton Place and shag lessons led by Eliza Lucas Pinckney and Christy Pleasant. For more details, go to: www.nationalazaleaconvention2014.org.

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