January 2011 Meeting – Douglas Ruhren on Camellias

Monday, January 17, 6:30p.  The year’s first meeting was well attended and received.  Seventy-five members, friends and guests attended Gwinnett Master Gardeners’ (GMG) kickoff meeting for 2011. Newly installed officers Anne Heath (president) and Hilary Wilson (VP) were smooth and seamless in handling the business of GMG. Alice Verner and her new hospitality committee handled the “soup and sandwiches” theme with aplomb.

Shannon accepts Barbara Martin’s award

Programming. There was a special recognition at the front end of the program. This was an award for work on the outdoor classroom at the Monarch School on Main Street in Duluth. Dr.Barbara Martin, Monarch principal, attended the meeting long enough to present the GMGs a  plaque. Shannon Pable has designed and organized the garden area at Monarch, and supervises its ongoing maintenance. She accepted the award on behalf of  “Gwinnett Master Gardeners” involved in this labor of love over the past several years.

Aaron whistles a new tune about our website

Aaron ‘whistles’ new tune about the GMG website!

Aaron Tulin, GMG’s new webmaster, introduced the newly redesigned GMG website. He gave us a live demonstration on the site. The website originally was created in 2006 by then president Glenn Parsons. By now it has undergone several mutations. Aaron has given it a total rewrite, in Aaron’s terms, “to get more members involved by creating a place where we can easily post activities, photos, and information.” Additionally, the prizes for the 2010 Photo Contest winners were given out.

With that, it was time for the program presenter. Hilary then introduced Douglas Ruhren to us. Douglas is the chief horticulturist at the American Camellia Society. Many folks are unaware the organization is based right here in Georgia. The ACS maintains quite a spread at Massee Lane Gardens in Ft. Valley (Peach

Douglas opens his slide presentation.

County) southeast of Macon.  (See info on our GMG field trip to this site in February.) Doug is an accomplished speaker, soft-spoken but hard-hitting and articulate when it comes to all things about the genus Camellia. Some of his topics: primary species of Camellia for the garden landscape, the importance of soil preparation, and Camellia culture. Perhaps my favorite topic was Doug’s explanation of the difference between green tea, black

Seated for audience questions

tea, and chinese tea, when they all come from the same plant, Camellia sinensis!

At the finish, everyone present knew they had just heard from a leader in the field of Camellia horticulture. World-class. No doubt!We will take your invitation to come visit seriously, Mr. Ruhren. We will be there on February 16 with a van full of MGs ready to soak up your 100 acres!