Report on the 2001 AHS National Convention in Boston.

Last updated 10/25/07.

[Note: any resemblance of this to anything that really happened is purely accidental and unintended.]

Well, the 2001 Boston National Convention is over, and what a wild ride!

We had guests from all over, including a sizable contingent from the deep south who wanted to cool off in our balmy 80 degree weather. They only protested a little at the mandatory ZeroTol dip at the airport to prevent transport of Rust. Phil Reilly was dipped with particular glee by a number of NEDS members who were still jealous of his departure to Mecca.

The Canadian contingent brought cool air and clear skies with them. They were a little frustrated that their snow machines couldn't hit top speed on our frost-free asphalt, but we accommodated them with an overly air-conditioned hotel, so that they could at least wear their parkas.

The gardens were spectacular. Despite a killing 24 degree frost in late May in many of them, the daylilies sprang back and gave a standout performance. Bill Chambers was concerned about getting his garden groomed on time, but a corps of volunteers deadheaded and scraped the thick morning frost off just in time for the arriving tour buses.

Susanne Mahler's garden of mixed perennials and daylilies was so impressive that I believe we will lose quite a number of members who will either despair of ever equalling that beauty, or switch over to general perennials instead. The thoughtful host had the suicide prevention hotline on her speed dial.

Because of the unexpected absence of Steve Moldovan, Dick Blagborough, the organizer of the convention, was assigned to perform the judges training. Under pressure, he misunderstood the objectives, and taught a fascinating course in judging accents and other idiosyncratic characteristics of the hybridizers. Distinctiveness counted pretty high, which is probably why Clarence Crochet won the poll of the attendees of the class. Clarence was so overwhelmed by the honor that he passed out, and was saved only by an immediate grits transfusion. Dick himself won an Honorable Mention for his Boston Brahmin accent, one of the five distinct Boston accents, and little recognized. A local treasure.

At the scientific committee meeting, the actual work was sidetracked by heated discussion about Rust. It started with comparisons of rust to venereal diseases like herpes, and ended with a rancorous debate about whether the plants should be issued prophylactics.

Bob Carr and Lee Pickles made a side trip to Connecticut to visit World Wrestling Federation headquarters. They had been invited to give a seminar on blustering badinage to the attending wrestlers, and afterwards were given a painful initiation as honorary wrestlers. Let's just say that their limbs now flex in unexpected ways, and when the steroid injections kick in....

At George Doorakean's garden, a number of visitors were quite impressed with his system of swimming pools for summering daylilies in small pots. George had to chase out quite a few of the more risque female guests who were intent on naked hot tubbing with the plants.

At George's scientific talk on "Breeding For Green", he proudly showed his latest seedling. He's extended the green throat of MALCHITE PRISM to cover an entire flower all the way to the edges. In honor of the 2001 theme of the National Convention, he has named it GREEN MONOLITH. A few jealous breeders were seen nearby gibbering and throwing bones up in the air.

At the awards banquet, Elizabeth Salter was given her due, taking the lion's share of the awards. When will this woman stop and give others a chance? At the business meeting, many envious hybridizers attempted to pass a motion that Elizabeth be disqualified from future awards. This was blocked by her supporters, who filed an amendment that would have automatically given Elizabeth all future awards without the bother of polling the members.

In an effort to avoid the traffic to gardens on Cape Cod, our NEDS President Dan Pessoni rented one of the Duck Tours amphibious buses. These are military amphibious vehicles that are used to give unique tours of the city. Unfortunately, the water got rough on the way back, and quite a few daylilies and some of the lesser known hybridizers had to be thrown overboard to prevent swamping the boat. After they were in the water, David Kirchhoff ran the auction for the life preservers.

A Texas hybridizer, whom I won't name, visited Bob Sobek's garden. Bob is one of our most distinguished local breeders. Here's a rough transcription of their discussion.
Bob: I breed mostly distinctive small flowered vahrieties.
Texan: In Texas, we breed them dinner plate size! How many seedlings you grow?
Bob: I breed about 4,000 seedlings a year.
Texan: In Texas, that's a single cross. How long until they bloom?
Bob: Fuhst bloom is in 3 years, and I generally wait about 5 or 6 to select.
Texan: In Texas, they bloom and are selected in 9 months! Do you grow anything indoors?
Bob: I stahrt my seedlings undah lights in my back room.
Texan: In Texas, we use enormous greenhouses! So how big's your spread?
Bob: Well, it goes from the road to those trees over theyah, and from that hedge ovah to the river.
Texan: In Texas, it can take all day to drive across one of our daylily ranches!
Bob: Yup! Had me a car like that once too!
Later at lobster dinner that night, Bob and the Texan started discussing differences in regional vocabulary, such as "soda" and "pop", "frappe" and "milkshake". The Texan was really impressed when Bob explained that lobster was the regional word for earwig. Bob ate the Texan's lobster too.

It's been about 20 years since the last Boston AHS National Convention. I guess it takes that long for them to be forgotten.

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