Well, I've done my duty and sent an article to the JI Review for publication
regarding the entire International JI Symposium we had last weekend at the
Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton, Ontario (Canada). Now here's the "rest
of the story"
It was a damn fine time! And pity the fool who couldn't make it!
I met the irrepressible R. Dennis Hager and Ian Efford - both of them, I have
to say, about 100 years younger than I expected. Ellen Gallagher was there
as was Chris Hollinshead, Diana Louise and Ginny Prins. Carolyn Schaffner -
chief cook and bottle washer, plus timekeeper, registration poobah and all
around organizer, kept us moving and grooving. And those are just the e-mail
The day was perfect from frontside to backside: After I welcomed folks and
Cathy Boyko welcomed them on behalf of Canada and the CIS, we launched into
our program... Terry Aitken compared goals in daylily and orchid hybridizing
to JI goals.... and showed us a TDF (to die for) slide of variegated foliage
with a red base.... and took our imaginations to the place where foliage is
tri-colored and the flowers are just a bonus. Tony Huber showed us the
future (Tomorrowland? Fantasyland?) with his interspecies crosses and back
crosses with sensuous French names (Enfant Prodigie, Nouvelle Age, Belle
Promesse), folks... this is NOT Kansas anymore.
Lunch was gourmet in the RBG private dining room with slides of futures.
Chad Harris took over after lunch. Chad is young and idealistic - a good
thing for us. He begins evaluating his seedlings before they ever think of
flowering and starts the culling at the same time. In his quest for extended
bloom, he is looking for early and repeat bloom, for sequential bloom and
extraordinary branching. John Coble finished up with his program on
recessive whites and hidden genes and talked about Bob "looking under skirts
for the hidden blue gene", which cracked us all up - but what he meant was
that by looking at the color layer on the BACKside of an ensata flower, you
can predict what color background might be involved.
The day was full of that sort of thing. A GOOD group ... lots of fun and
camaraderie. Dorothy Stahly read a disgusting poem that had us hysterical
before we even started... then she tried to get everyone to take off their
shirts (and by the look of sheer horror on Hal Stahly's face, he wasn't at
all sure she wasn't going to do it!).
Peter Weixlmann ran the auction as he always does... flawlessly and like a
stand-up routine. We had over 60 different plants donated - from the very
new to seedlings... plus Claire Honkanen donated a shell ornament (limited
edition), Jill Copeland donated a case of homemade jam, we auctioned some
original artwork by John Coble and we all had a wonderful time!
After the ball, we went back to the hotel... where Kathyguest called ahead
for dinner reservations. The difference between New York and Canada? Well,
when I called the restaurant manager and told him reservations for 35 in 1/2
hour.... separate checks... he not only didn't come unglued, he THANKED me
for our business!
Sunday morning we had an excellent judges training session by John Coble...
and then we parted company... with Kathyguest, Peter, Ev and John White and
Carol Warner heading for a glorious day at Niagara Falls and the School of
For those who came... thank you for your faith in the concept and for your
good humor ... for those who didn't - I'm just sorry! <VBG>
E. Aurora, NY