Cure for Cabin Fever

Louise Parsons
Sun, 25 Jan 2004 11:32:47 PST
Here, in a message from study weekend chair Loren Russell 
<> is the ultimate cure for cabin fever! Please 
forgive me if you have received this message already, but no one ought to be 
left out of this wonderful opportunity. Also, there was talk of having a get-
together of PBS 'ers. Whether specific gathering is planned or not, this 
weekend is sure to include plenty of geophytes!

Message from Loren Russell: Invitation to the NARGS Western Winter Study 

Hello all, I'm writing as Chair of the Emerald Chapter (NARGS), and I'd like to 
personally welcome you to come to the 32nd Western Winter Study Weekend, which 
we host on March 5-7 at Valley River Inn in Eugene, Oregon. If you have 
attended a Study Weekend in the past, you already know that the mix of slide 
lectures and displays, nursery vendors, garden visits, and the chance to meet 
and mix with experienced and enthusiastic gardeners, is intoxicating, and can 
become one of the highlights of the year's calendar.  Many rock gardeners, 
myself included, can echo NARGS President Bobby Ward in tracing this "love of 
their life" back to their first Study Weekend.


Our meeting promises to live up to the Study Weekend tradition, and I think 
that both  WWSW regulars and those of you who have never been to a NARGS 
national meeting will find very attractive. First, since Eugene has never 
hosted WWSW before, few of you will had had a chance to see our local gardens 
and nurseries in the early spring. Early March is a time of awakening and 
beauty here -- I can assure you that you will see why we call ourselves the 
"Emerald Chapter."  

The theme of our conference is "Braving the Elements", with our program 
covering general theme of garden ecology, on the one hand, and of the 
adaptations of rock and woodland plants. Adaptation is truly an organizing 
principle in the garden and one you'll enjoy hearing about and discussing. I've
found each of our speakers excited and eager to speak to our theme.

We have a strong group of speakers: Panayoti Kelaidis is of course one of the 
outstanding plantsmen and explorers of his generation, and always a pleasure to
hear.  He will give the Saturday banquet talk "Old Friends", and also "The Rock
Garden as a Laboratory".  His wife Gwen Kelaidis, a botanist and garden 
designer, and past editor of ROCK GARDEN QUARTERLY, returns to the West Coast 
for the first time in years; her talk is entitled "Living with a Rock 
Gardener". We have other WWSW favorites, some of whom have been absent for 
years: David Hale in "From the Top Down" will address growable plants from 
"impossible" places: Ernie and Marietta O'Byrne will share their secrets in 
"Garden Niches: From Woodland to Desert", and Art Kruckeberg will explore     
how geology shapes plant communities in "Plants Grow by Geological Consent.  
All of our speakers are of course known for their knowledgeable, well-
photographed talks.

This year WWSW does not feature a speaker from "across the water", but we 
have two British ex-pats, David Mason (Evolutionary Adaptation -- from 
Wilderness to the Garden") and John Lonsdale ("Choice Bulbs", "Pushing the 
Limits -- Growing Challenging Plants in the Open Garden") both of whom will 
approach "applied ecology" in a manner that I think will open many eyes.
David, an Oregon nurseryman with a classic British horticultural education, has
vast experience with all aspects of alpine and perennial gardening, while John,
perhaps best known as a bulb grower and expert on the genus Crocus, was at the 
top of the AGS show ring when he moved garden to Pennsylvania about ten years 
ago. John also is an "in demand" speaker and outstanding photographer: his is 
one of the great garden websites -- "The Lonsdale Garden" -- well worth 
visiting online. 

Our program is rounded out by my short talk "The Element of Desire" and by 
Tanya Harvey ("Adaptations of Oregon Native Plants") -- among Tanya's 
accomplishments are her award-winning photos in both the AGS and the NARGS 

You may register online or by mail; individual registration for the meeting is 
$138, which includes two breakfasts and the Saturday banquet. This is one of 
the more affordable fees for a NARGS meeting in recent years. After January 31,
the fee will go to $150 (this deadline has been extended from January 10} The 
If you are a member of NARGS, you received a brochure in ROCK GARDEN QUARTERLY,
with a mail-in form.  All information on registration can be found in this    
brochure.  If you don't have the brochure at hand, or if it is more convenient 
to register online, just go to the NARGS website <> and key to 
"meetings".  Under Western Winter Study Weekend, you may download and print the
mail-in form, or register and pay directly on the NARGS secure site.


Rooms at the meeting site, Valley River Inn, are available at $99 [plus tax] 
per night through February 8.  Phone 800-543-8266; please ask for "NARGS room 
block" to receive the conference rate.


Eugene is approximately 110 miles south of Portland on I-5.  Visitors to WWSS 
may fly into Portland and rent a car, or directly to Eugene.  Unless an 
extended itinerary is planned, most air travellers will probably fly into 
Eugene -served by Horizon, America West, and United Anyone who does plan to 
extend their visit and rent a car may consider visiting at Siskiyou Rare Plant 
Nursery in Central Point, OR.  That's just 3 hours south of Eugene, and SRPN 
will be open to the public Monday through Friday during the first ten days of 

We will be having garden visits in Eugene and Corvallis [40 miles north of 
Eugene, 10 miles off I-5] on March 5, 7, and 8. It may be useful to know that 
our growing season is usually close to that in Victoria, a bit ahead of 
Portland, and about a week behind Medford,  Woodland plantings like those at 
Hendricks Park and Greer Gardens should be getting good early color in 
Rhododendrons and companions.  And the O'Byrne garden {Northwest Garden 
Nursery] is simply remarkable at that season; it is surely one of the most 
spectacular private gardens in North America. Without denigrating the other 
open gardens, I'm appending the O'Byrnes' listing below.

Although I don't want to put myself in the O'Byrnes' league, my garden in 
Corvallis will be open throughout the meeting, and I'd very much welcome WWSW 
visitors here; anyone coming this far should visit Ella May Wulff's garden 
about five miles from here. She is an officer in the Heather Society, and has 
assembled a comprehensive collection of hardy heaths and heathers.

In addition, we will have leading vendors at the meeting, and there are also 
many excellent nurseries throughout the Willamette Valley. A page listing 
vendors with links to their websites is found at:…

If you would like to know other possibilities while you're here or if you have 
other concerns, please ask me. I'll be happy to answer your questions, or 
direct them to the responsible person.  

loren russell 
chair, WWSW 2004


Ernie and Marietta O'Byrne
86813 Central Road
Eugene OR 

Nursery/Display Garden
March to October 
Normal hours: Thursday - Saturday 10-6, or by appt.
The rest of the year by arrangement

Sunday 3/7, and 10-4
Monday 3/8!

"We invite you to come and wander in our collector's garden surrounded by 
meadows and forest.  The woodland garden is at its peak from February to June 
with hellebores, bulbs, podophyllums, cyclamens, epimediums, corydalis, 
primulas, arisaemas, ferns, and the blue Himalayan poppy and oh so much more 
jostling for room.

"In June the perennial borders take over, and they do take over, with a feast 
of color. The rock garden comes alive with color in April.  It houses a 
collection of many rare treasures, many planted in troughs and containers. A 
large new xeric gravel garden shows you the innumerable dryland plants that 
thrive in our area with little or no summer water. There is also a 
conifer/grass/heather garden with a handful of canna, kniphofias, and other hot
colored perennials thrown in, at peak in late summer and fall. If you are tired 
of all that lush growth and color, rest on one of our many benches or watch the 
frogs in the goldfish pond.

"Winter interest: Hundreds of hellebores in all their glorious forms and 
colors, Cyclamen coum and early spring bulbs, blooming under Daphne mezereum 
and hamamelis, and a huge, glorious contorted filbert. Conifers ad evergreens 
give shape and texture. In the gravel garden, Iris, tulips, anemones, and other 
rare bulbs will show off their color." 

Ernie O'Byrne
Northwest Garden Nursery

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