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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.
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