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[aroid-l] IAS 25th Anniversary ... show and sale

  • Subject: [aroid-l] IAS 25th Anniversary ... show and sale
  • From: Riley2362@aol.com
  • Date: Sun, 29 Sep 2002 22:00:47 EDT

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.
Michael Riley

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