Gardening GlimpsesBy MRS. HERMAN MCKENZIE,
I promised, in my last article, trying to get you to meet the early deadline March l, and the absolute deadline, which is tomorrow (well mostly,) why I believed that this convention of 2018 might be the greatest, and the largest in participation, of any in our American Daffodil Society history since 1964.
For those of us who have been long-time members of the ADS (and I am sure this is very true for most other national or international organizations,) there is a week, in a season that fits the mission of the group (for us it ranges from mid-March to the first week in May) that we celebrate with all the dedication and fervor of the Hebrews in their “going up to Jerusalem.”
I never saw any well-structured promo, by an eager young chairman, fall quite so flat as that of Bill Tribe, at the Williamsburg convention in 1993, when at the appointed time for the ”invitation to the next year’s convention”, began by asking everyone to stand up who planned to attend the 1994 convention in Portland, Oregon.
Immediately almost every one of the more than 300 people at the dinner stood up, with a great rustling of chairs. Bill put down his notes, said “You all have this great family reunion every year,” and here are some of the things we will do to make you happy. Of course Portland was always a terrific draw, because of the home fields of Tribe’s uncle, Murray Evans, and the nearby and larger fields of Grant Mitsch and his daughter, Elise Havens.
I can’t promise you great fields of hybrid daffodils - for that, you need to go early or stay late and drive up to Gloucester, Va., for the growing fields of Brent and Becky Heath.
But what is going to make this year so special is a celebration of many, many individuals who have loved daffodils passionately for a long, long time.
The East Tennessee Daffodil Society was founded 60 years ago, by a group of dedicated, okay, somewhat ‘pushy’ individuals who attended the very first national convention, in Washington, D.C. and came home to start, before the next crop of bulbs were put in the ground, their own local society. The chairman this year is the daughter of one of those founding members.
Any other good reason why this should be one of the greatest?
Location…not too far north of Atlanta, somewhat west of the Virginians, very do-able for those of us in the Southern Region, and right below the heartland of the ADS - the Midwest, that fertile growing area of Kentucky and Indiana and Ohio, and accessible (if the snow storms ever stop) to northern Virginia, and Pennsylvania. As for the Californians, they are so used to traveling to shows - even their local regional meeting has to be an overnight occasion - so daffodil meetings mean airports.
The greatest event of most, if not all, conventions is the national show. And every daffodil lover within driving distance, whether they are coming for the whole occasion or not, will optimistically pick some of his best flowers, along with camera and notebook, and head to the show. Local people also flock around, wanting to see the flowers their neighbors, ADS members, make such a fuss over.
I would predict that at least 400 people will attend the show. (Hope somebody has figured out a way to get contact information on all of them.)
And if saying “national show” in the heart of daffodil growing country isn’t enough, there is a regional vice president who is a eager beaver to the max. He turned down an invitation to judge one of the most prestigious classes at the World Convention a couple of years ago, explaining “I will be shadowing the show chairman all year,” and also next year’s chairman in Sacramento, so we can have the best national show ever.”
Of course many people decide whether to come when they learn who the overseas visiting speakers will be.
This year the keynote speaker will be Franz Viuel, one of the finest Dutchman I know. Having turned his business over to his son, he now travels extensively, looking for the best of his favorite division, the Tazettas. The other visitor, young Julie Hardy, is probably the best looking hybridizer to come along since Becky Heath, and we are so grateful to her and her husband for buying Nial Watson’s business, carrying on his great hybridizing work.
For many of us, it’s not even first of all the daffodil but the daffodil people - dear friends from many years. And this convention has a chance to share visits - two days of tours, and that extra added attraction, all day and into the evening, with the musical glory that is Nashville after dark.
Of course my television was set on the channel where I could watch my beloved Lady Bulldogs through the SEC tournament, and many of the commercials showed the river area.
So if you weren’t already coming to Nashville for the ADS convention April 4 -9, you better change your mind and be there. Call me if you need any more mundane facts that will make your adventure possible.