Worshipping at the Shrine of Chub

By Sean Callahan in Mainely Conifers

It's late Sunday morning here at the National Meeting. I've cruised the tailgate sale in the hotel parking lot one last time before coming up to my room to pack and head back to Maine after a great few days here in the Ann Arbor area. While I have an hour before checkout, I thought I'd jot down some thoughts while they're still fresh - and I still have free WiFi to the web.

I'm sure that there are ACS members who have uploaded their snaps of the meeting to Facebook already and, since this is also the stomping grounds of Ron Elardo, the next issue of CQ will have its share of stories and photos of what went on here the past four days to refresh attendees memories and, perhaps, cause a bit of regret to those of you who couldn't make it out here for what has to have been one of the great gatherings of coneheads. (If you feel this way, then repeat after me, I promise to attend the National Meeting next August in Mt. Kisco, NY, so help me God. )

Of all the great speakers, seminars, old friendships rekindled, new friendships made, gardens visited and plants that got away at the auction, the thing that is going to make the most lasting impression on me is the time we spent at Hidden Lakes Gardens in the Justin Chub' Harper Collection of Dwarf and Rare Conifers.

This five acre site housing over 300 of his prized specimens is a wonder not just for the breadth and depth of the collection but for the way it has been designed so that every tree is allowed to show off its form to its best advantage. Remember that old Army recruiting motto Be All You Can Be ? That was how Chub felt about raising conifers and the staff and management at Hidden Lakes, who are the inheritors of his legacy and protectors of his vision, continue to march to the beat of Chub's mantra. Bravo!

Another reason I'm going to remember this visit? I'll probably strain quite a few muscles over the next year or so digging up my conifer collection and spacing it out so that it can be all it can be.

Naaah; it'll never happen. Here are some of my iPhone snaps of the visit.