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Aug
17 -19
2017

2017 National Meeting

Doubletree Inn by Hilton - East Syracuse, NY

untitled2017 ACS NATIONAL MEETING: ‘ACS-Central New York Style’

In 2007 the Northeast Region of the ACS visited Sycamore Hill Gardens, Topiary Gardens & Mango Gardens in the beautiful Finger Lakes Region of Central New York State. ACS Members are invited to revisit these and other gardens for the upcoming ACS National Meeting, August 17-19, 2017. The best gardens always grow, change and adapt becoming ever more beautiful and interesting. Come see for yourself what 10 years of new ideas, new conifers and Mother Nature can accomplish! If you have never been to these gardens, or, indeed, this area, be prepared to visit one of the most beautiful regions of the United States.

Our base will be the newly renovated Doubletree Hilton in Syracuse, with 5-star amenities, including an award winning chef, outdoor and indoor heated pools and an expanded patio with fire pits. A complimentary shuttle will whisk you to & from nearby Syracuse Hancock International Airport.

We’ll begin with cocktails and dinner on Thursday, August 17. Robert Fincham, a founding ACS member, plant propagator extraordinaire and author will give the Keynote Address: ‘Something New Is Not Always Something Better’. He will also address some of his incredible Picea abies ‘Acrocona’ x ‘Gold Drift’ work.

Friday we visit Sycamore Hill Gardens, Dianne Bordoni’s Gardens, and Mango Gardens. Sycamore Hill Gardens is a 40-acre private estate designed by Karen and George Hanford., and boasts several new coniferous exclamation points including a 100’ long “George’s Dragon”, composed of 32 large specimens of Picea pungens ‘Glauca Procumbens”. This is only the head—you need to attend to see the rest!

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The head of the dragon by Karen Hanford

 

Dianne Bordoni’s Gardens show what can be done on a smaller scale with the clever use of conifers to enhance and make this landscape unusual and unique. Thirty-one years in the making, the Bordoni Gardens excel at “layering” plant material, much the way plants grow in nature. The site features a small pond and several wooden structures using repurposed material from the property and, of course, many conifers of specimen quality.

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A venerable juniper by Dianne Bordoni

 

Dr. Mango’s garden has hosted tours by numerous plant societies. Many a happy bride and groom have celebrated their wedding in the gardens of this extensive estate. The Mango Gardens promise us some exquisite conifer plantings with maximum “drool factor”.

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Cones on Abies procera ‘Glauca’ by Jerry Kral

 

Sycamore Hill will also be the featured lunch venue on Friday. The “Chicken Bandit”, a local food truck, will be at the “TENT” where you can enjoy lunch with a sponsored wine tasting and pour.

            Friday evening Christie Dustman, an award winning garden designer in the Boston, Mass. area will give a presentation on using conifers in your gardens. To quote Christie, “Conifers are uniquely qualified to be living sculptures in your landscape. They have a stately and commanding presence that just isn’t paralleled with deciduous plants. Conifers provide substance and assist in composition. See your conifers differently by looking through the lens of a landscape designer”.

Saturday morning offers a presentation by the famous (or infamous) tag-team of Janet Macunovich & Steven Nikkila on “Planting When the Roots Aren’t Right”. To quote Janet and Steve, “Today we have an unprecedented choice in plant species and variety. However, we are also in the midst of a perfect storm of production practices and economic realities that likely mean the plant that you buy will not have a good root system. It is particularly sad to see dreams ruined and years wasted when a dwarf conifer fails in what may appear to be inexplicable manner.” To quote Michael Dirr, considered by many the world’s guru of woody plants, after attending a talk by Janet; “What a great presentation. And no one told me you’re also a comedian”. You will be royally entertained.

A lunch catered by Jolle’s French Bistro, featuring an olive oil and bread tasting, will again be at the “TENT” at Sycamore Hill. A sponsored wine tasting and pour will feature wines from the Finger Lakes Region. Saturday will also feature visits to Topiary Gardens, the gardens and nursery of Diana Smith and the gardens of C.J. Ryan & Eileen Murphy.

Topiary Gardens is a collector’s paradise. In addition to conifers, the Gardens boast 700+ varieties of maples and 100+ varieties of Asiatic, longiflorum, Oriental and other species lilies. The conifers and Japanese maples complement each other perfectly. Topiary is a working nursery that specializes in some of the very latest (and rarest) Japanese maple and conifer cultivars.

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          Picea asperata ‘China Blue’ by Jerry Kral

 

The gardens of Drs. C.J. Ryan & Eileen Murphy include a dramatic rockery that slopes down to the shore of Skaneateles Lake. Several conifers enhance this rockery and the lake view is perfect.

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Rock garden on the shores of Skaneateles Lake                            by Jerry Kral

 

Saturday evening brings, of course, the silent and live auctions, including a rare offering from the famous Dennis Dodge Collection (held in reserve just for this meeting), followed by Sunday morning’s tailgate sale.

 

                                             CONIFER COLLEGE

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Sunday is also very special because we are offering a full day Conifer CollegeCentral New York Style! Requiring a special Registration and perhaps an extra night’s stay, this event combines access to some of the best conifer information available along with an incredible sight-seeing opportunity. All of our main speakers—Fincham, Dustman, Macunovich and Nikkila—will be offering classes. Other classes will feature several ACS notables of regional, national and international expertise. Conifer College will also include afternoon field trips to observe several styles of conifer pruning, as well as the design and planting of conifer rockeries in large, frost-proof ceramic containers using miniature conifers. The day will end with a special Dinner Cruise on Skaneateles Lake. Thanks to the support of several sponsors, this once in a lifetime opportunity will be offered for an incredible bargain price.

 

We thank our sponsors for helping to arrange a wonderful meeting: Christie Dustman, Finger Lakes Wineries, George & Karen Hanford, Harbor View Wine and Liquors, and Jerry & Karen Kral.

 

 

 

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