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IAS 25th Anniversary ... show and sale
From: Riley2362 at aol.com on 2002.09.29 at 19:00:47(9471)|
It's tough to be a "virgin" on such a momentous occasion as the 25th
Anniversary of the International Aroid Society. I had been curious about
attending the annual show and sale at Fairchild Gardens for many years and
eagerly anticipated my trip from New York. I wasn't sure if it was the
anniversary of the Show and Sale or the anniversary of the International
Aroid Society, turns out, it was the latter. I attended the IAS event in
North Carolina the end of July and met so many incredible people and plants
that ... what could be bad about MORE. I was a little puzzled by my
inquiries to various people whom I had met who assured me that I would be at
the "epicenter" of the aroid world, but, on the other hand some people
referred to it as a "local show". My involvement in the set-up for the show
meant that I arrived early enough to see Reggie and Tom and Juan bustling
around the place wrestling with the bare-bones of the show and offering any
kind of help imaginable to everyone, the "Miami Dream Team" was a few members
short, but they got the job done in excellent fashion. Ron Weeks arrived
with his ceiling-scraping specimens of every aroid you have ever admired.
Craig Allen wheeled in a 15 foot Amorphophallus paeoniifolius to match the
Alocasia portodora on the other side of the room and the show really began to
shape ... UP. Of course, Reggie rearranged the world a few times to get just
the right artistic balance, as only Reggie can do. Many years ago, I asked
someone if the aroid show was ever held anyplace outside of the Miami area
and they said, "No, because they grow them bigger and better than anyplace
else". Well, that's sort of true. Each specimen plant that arrived was
bigger than the last. Then Dennis Rotolante arrived with numerous handcarts
and one exotic specimen after another. His Anthurium moonenii would soon be
awarded Best in Show and his 4 X 4 Anthurium luxurians was undoubtedly the
most-touched and admired plant. Yes, I grew that plant once, and for about
five years it was 1 X 1 in my NYC apartment, the rest is history. These
growers and their plants were truly inspiring!
The vendors at the show offered an eclectic mix of exotic species from the
rainforests of Ecuador and Thailand to the local growers such as Tim Anderson
and Charlie McDaniels who grow everything beautifully. Jean Merkel, at 91,
offered his standard fare of unusual and well-grown specimens. Steve and
Marie Nock had some incredible species like Anthurium superbum and, hybrids
and cultivars, like a 6' Anthurium veitchii X A. andreanum hybrid with a huge
pink flower, and the golden form of Anthurium warscewiczii that made me
salivate (discreetly). There was truly something for everyone there,
including locals who needed instant landscapes from David McLean who offered
Aglaonemas by the yard, among other things. The tables of member plants for
sale were vast and chock full of really nice plants of things like
Rhaphidophora, and Anthuriums from Dale Magrew's collection. The only
problem - there were too few of us to consume all these offerings. I guess
the publicity needs to be improved and certainly communication and
participation within the aroid society could be better.
In North Carolina, Petra and Alan had an accommodating and enticing schedule
of events that made sure you got to every event on time and with appropriate
directions. In Miami, it seemed that; because "everyone" had done this so
many times, no one was told very much of anything. There was an "impromptu"
lecture by guest Eduardo Goncalves from Brasil in the middle of Saturday
afternoon, but it was poorly attended, because no one knew it was
"scheduled". Eduardo gave an excellent presentation of his important and
impressive work in Brasil and his slides reminded me of my collecting trip to
that beautiful country.
I had made my banquet reservation weeks ago, but had to ask three different|
people the location of the Saturday night banquet only to find out it was in
the room next door, but no one was sure of the exact time. The food was
excellent and the service exquisite; when is the last time you saw an
elegantly dressed Betsy Feuerstein behind a steam table serving yucca?
President Scott Hyndman made several presentations to notable and highly
deserving people in the first 25 years of the organization including Patricia
Frank and Dewey Fisk. At this point, Scott announced that we had some
business to discuss and it looked like a quorum of the membership was present
so he entertained a "motion" from somebody to give sole rights to amend the
IAS bylaws to the Board of Directors. The people in the room "voted" and the
members of the International Aroid supposedly gave up their rights of
approval for anything and everything. I found this "action" to be
mysterious, distasteful and underhanded, and sincerely hope that when the
board decides to convene, and conduct a real meeting of the membership, they
will do it in a more orthodox and democratic manner. Perhaps the annual
membership meeting in November, called for in the IAS bylaws, will let us
know what business is really before the membership so that we might help to
make an informed decision.
The slide presentation and talk by Alistair Hay was highly informative,
entertaining and amusing with some really creative thinking about taxonomy
and evolution thrown in for good measure. The final portion of the evening
was devoted to the auction of donated plants and other items that we all had
been coveting, including seedlings of the black-stemmed Amorphophallus
tinekeae. The inimitable Julius Boos was our auctioneer and equally
inimitable Tom Croat added spontaneous descriptive "text" that made me feel
that I had to have every item on the table. Again, it was too bad that there
were not more members in attendance for such a nice event.
The lack of a schedule caused me to forget completely about the breakfast for
Aroid List. Yes, I would also forget my head if it were not attached. I
particularly wanted to express just how important I think the Aroid List has
become to the members of IAS. It is truly our only voice of communication.
Newsletters are a bit schizophrenic as to whether they are written for the
"locals" or the membership at large and they report what the board wants us
to hear but not everything. Aroideana is wonderful when it happens, but -
when? So, short of zipping down to Miami, or another event like Aroid
Thrills and Chills we engage in some valuable communication right here where
we are truly international.
So, after another day of circling the show plants and combing the tables, we
began to take the show apart and do some swift trading of plants that hadn't
sold or we just couldn't leave behind. Brian Williams swore that he was
driving a much larger vehicle next year, and I'm sure I will fly a much
larger airplane in order to accommodate that 10-ton Philodendron goeldii.
Alas, it seems that a more cooperative event might be appropriate for meeting
annually that could include the international members as well as the reigning
Florida contingent. Perhaps the annual event could even include an annual
meeting of the membership as called for in the bylaws where actual business
could be conducted. My hearty congratulations to all who planned and
executed both IAS events this year, it just seems that the first event was
"planned" and at the second event, we (the members) were "executed".
Nevertheless, a good time (mostly) was had by all (mostly). Now, let's do
it again and make it better?
Tell me one more time please - just how high MUST the humidity be to
successfully grow Philodendron albovirescens and what is the rate of growth
on the Amorphophallus titanum occupying a south window of my apartment? At
least he has a newly acquired cousin from Miami, A. obscurus (the smallest of
the genus?) to keep him company. Life is full of challenges.
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