SAN DIEGO GERANIUM CONFERENCE 2016   Reported by Wayne Handlos

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.  

1.Brenda Archer   2.Cynthia Pardoe   3.John Schoustra    4.Robin Parer    5.Debbie Lipp

                        &  Brenda’s mom, Kate                          & Ken Byrne      & Jerry Stewart

  6. 7. 8. 9. 10.  

6. Bill Lemke   7. Patricia Andrea  8.Jay Kapac  9. Sandy Connerley   10. George & Geri Plaisted 

                                                                             & Jean Hausermann

The San Diego Geranium Society hosted the Sixth Annual Geranium Conference on April 2, 2016 at

the San Diego Botanic Garden (formerly the Quail Botanical Gardens). The Garden was a lovely venue

(although we didn’t have time to explore it), nicely landscaped and well-maintained. The garden emphasis

is on water conservation and sustainability; 18 "Water Smart" gardens are featured. The garden has easy

access to the Freeway and is many miles north of the city of San Diego. The conference was held in the

Ecke Building (the Ecke family of poinsettia and Ranunculus fame) with large stained glass panels of quails.

The Club organized a very educational program with six speakers covering a wide range of topics. Wayne

Handlos began with "The Other (Mostly) Zonals"; he was followed by Sandy Connerley whose topic was

an intriguing "The Untold Story of the World’s First …"; the morning session ended with George Plaisted’s

tips and views of "Watering".

The afternoon session began with Robin Parer’s presentation of "Endangered Geraniaceae"; she was followed

by Cynthia Pardoe’s "Update on the Pelargonium Preservation Project" who was followed by Brenda Archer

and a talk on "Regals of David Lemon." A raffle concluded the activities of the day.


The club members decorated the room with educational displays of plants, crafts and a

refreshment area for drinks and food. The tables were decorated with Pelargonium

plants and each place had a "swag bag" (red shopping bag printed with the club name

and conference date). Included were a note holder and a sheet of recipes using scented geraniums. On

the shaded terraces surrounding the building, tables were set up for the vendors selling plants. The large

commercial vendors included Geraniaceae (Robin Parer) and Greenwood Nursery (John Schoustra).

Smaller vendors included Debbie Lipp and Bill Lemke (with his and Zelda Leach’s plants). Jay Kapac

introduced three new cultivars, ‘Queen of Orange’ which is of the Unique type, ‘My Valentine’, which

is an early flowering regal and another of the Unique type.

"The Other (mostly) Zonal Pelargoniums" was a comprehensive survey of the variety of zonal geraniums

beyond the standard red-flowered bedding plant. The plants were considered under the category of bio-

logical mechanisms determining their characteristics. These included the basic genetic systems – dominant

and recessive characteristics (bird’s egg flowered Pelargoniums, red/green leaf coloration), incomplete

dominance (cactus-flowered Pelargoniums), multiple alleles (leaf and flower petal patterns), groups with

no reported genetic research (formosa and stellar zonals), floral control genetics (single, semi-double,

double, rosebud and green flowers), transposons and jumping genes (New Life, speckled and paint-box

zonals), chimeras (white and gold margined leaves, butterfly leaf patterns, marbled variegation; ‘Mr. Wren',

 tulip-flowered zonals, carnation-flowered Pelargoniums); virus induced characters (leaf-clearing virus, flower

-streak virus); interspecific crosses (yellow-flowered pelargoniums influenced by P. quinquelobatum or

P. articulatum; P. acetosum-influenced cultivars; P. tongaense-influenced cultivars).

This talk was followed by Sandy Connerley with a history of the Frank Andrea family, their businesses and

ultimately their production, patenting and introduction of three tulip-flowered zonal pelargonium cultivars. Finally

she solved the mystery of the girl who was pictured on the cover of GATW (v. 14, n. 4, 1967). The girl was

Patricia Andrea for whom the first patented tulip-flowered zonal was named. After other family members

declined the honor of having a plant named after them, the only girl among six grandchildren was chosen as

the namesake for the tulip-flowered zonal.

Lunch was delayed because of an accident on Hwy. 5 which slowed the traffic in which the catering truck was

travelling. So it was decided that George Plaisted would give his tips and advice about watering plants in general

and Pelargoniums in particular. He then answered questions about perlite and pumice. He thought each had

its place (and he sold both to garden clubs).

After a delicious lunch of dinner rolls, the freshest Caesar salad, perfectly cooked fresh asparagus, roasted

chicken breast with peach garnish and sauce, mashed potatoes, and a world-class chocolate on chocolate

on chocolate cake, the meeting resumed.

Robin Parer (Geraniaceae Nursery) gave a thought-provoking talk on "Endangered Geraniaceae". This

covered all the genera in the family: Pelargonium, Geranium, Monsonia including Sarcocaulon, Erodium.

She considered the factors of habitat destruction, land clearing, animal damage and climate change. She then

covered the factors of excess collecting, difficulty of cultivation, import restrictions, difficulty in finding

various plants and cultivars. She then explained about loss of cultivars through exuberant propagation and

naming of minimal variation citing the cases of 87 names for cultivars of Geranium pratense, 109 cultivars

of G. phaeum, and 80 of G. sanguineum. In the case of scented Pelargoniums there is confusion of the

taxonomy and a plethora of scents (to say nothing of differing abilities to detect various fragrances). The

loss of small family nurseries has meant the loss of locally adapted cultivars. In addition, disease organisms

ike the bacterium Ralstonia solanacearum which causes bacterial wilt in tomatoes, tobacco, pelargonium,

potato and banana, have resulted in prohibition of the importation of plants in these groups. She emphasized

again the need for gardeners and growers to label (and retain the label) of their various plants so that identities

are not lost.

Cynthia Pardoe gave an update on the Pelargonium Preservation Project and noted the contributions of Jean

Hausermann (enthusiastic and appreciative ovation), Jordan Nursery, Bernice Ladroot, David Lemon,

G. Stewart and Lloyd Smith among others.

Brenda Archer paid tribute to the commercial cultivars of David Lemon and the beautiful and extensive display

of these plants at Balboa Park. Sadly, the plants were mowed down and eventually removed even though the

plants had enhanced the beauty of the park immeasurably.


© 2016, Central Coast Geranium Society (CCGS )