Great Meeting!

By Ronald Elardo

68 ACS members met in Wadsworth, Ohio this weekend for the annual CER Meeting. It was a grand slam event. The fellowship was infectious as new members met and shared in the experience.

On Friday evening, we were entertained and instructed in the evils of fungal invasion of our trees. Professor Jim Chatfield of the Ohio State University explained the fundamentals of the role fungi play in the death of trees. He presented the role host plants play in transmitting and incubating the spores which in turn infect trees. I am certain Jim’s classes are well-liked and well-attended. He is a delightful educator. After that, there were three conifer sketches which followed.

I led off with a slanted view of the addicted conifer syndrome, discussing sniffing conifers. Chris Daeger had brought 99 plants from Doctor West’s collection for sale. He briefly related “Doc West’s” many contributions in pediatrics in Cincinnati and in the field of growing arborvitae. Lastly, Ethan Johnson, CER President, discussed the 2015 regional meeting to take place in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

On Saturday, our first venue was the Secrest Arboretum in Wooster, Ohio. Secrest was badly damaged in September 2010 by an EF2 tornado. It has since come back strong. The mature conifers which once stood there are gone, but the theme beds are packed with conifers and perennials. Secrest exemplifies a landscaping practice this author espouses: plant-packing. The result is an impressionistic picture at every turn. From the Arboretum, we went on to Bill and Suzanne Barger’s home.

At the Barger’s, the visitor is greeted by mini-gardens after mini-gardens. Large, mature trees exist alongside beds with the tiniest of new conifer plantings. Every attendee was given a conifer as a gift. Time flew as attendees roamed the garden in every direction. Places in the shade and at the pond provided views of the beds in a all drections.

Within a hop, skip and a jump, we were at the third of the gardens of the day, that of Jim Wechbacher. Visitors zeroed in on a specimen ‘Kohouts Icebreaker’. But the property is far more than that. Raised beds of conifers and daylilies beckon the visitor in toward the house, which is situated up from the beds. Jim has done a great job in accentuating a large front yard. Just as we boarded the bus, the rains came, but our mission had been accomplished.

We settled into an evening of conversation and yet another nice meal. What had begun Friday evening continued as the silent auction bids continued and then ended, and the live auction commenced. Bill Barger served as auctioneer. The bids mounted and mounted until the exegeses of victory occurred.

This was a super meeting.