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The South Eastern chapter of the American Rhododendron Society will present Barry Yinger, well-known plant explorer, in a program entitled “Rhododendrons Need Friends Too,” at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 17 at St. John in the Wilderness in the Parish Hall in Flat Rock.

Gardeners interested in rare and unusual plants for the woodland garden are invited, and the program is free. Yinger will display and talk about plants he has grown over the years that are suitable companions for rhododendrons in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast U.S. He will also include some of his plant exploration experiences.

Yinger has introduced more than 1,000 plants to American horticulture, mainly woodland as well as tropical plants, from Europe, Asia and Africa (six received the Gold Medal Award from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society). Among his many introductions are Aralia cordata ‘Sun King’, Aspidistras, Caladiums, Asarums and Rohdeas. More than 90 trips to Japan have resulted in many new introductions, about 20 varieties of which are patented. He also organized and led four trips to Korea for plant introduction for the USDA, Agricultural Research Service. One of the new species found, Hosta yingeri, was named for him.

Of particular interest to rhododendron gardeners is his collection of hardy Camellia japonica from Korean islands, which are contributing to camellia breeding in cold climates.

             Yinger has broad experience in horticulture, ranging from his work for nursery corporations, public gardens, and overseeing the Asian Collections for the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, D.C. Most recently he was involved with the Henry Foundation for Botanical Research and manages the Tanzania Sansevieria Project.

Visit se-ars.org for more.

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