2013 Annual Meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, USA

Missouri Botanic Garden
Missouri Botanic Garden Linnaean House (c. 1890)

In 1963 in St. Louis, Missouri, a few passionate plantsmen including J.C. McDaniel and John Fogg got the inspiration to create a community of people who love, study and produce magnolias. Over the past 50 years, the Magnolia Society International has grown and evolved into an organization with over 600 members representing 40 countries. Of course, the fascination with magnolias goes much farther back, as noted by Julius Norregard in Harpers Monthly magazine (1902): “A woman has no seduction for a man who cannot keep his eyes off his magnolia.”

Register online today to join us for the 2013 annual meeting in St. Louis, Missouri (or print and mail this pdf form).

The society will bring the 2013 annual meeting back to its roots next April 19th- 21st. Our hotel is the Crowne Plaza, located across the street from the St. Louis Gateway Arch (use the Group Code MAG to receive the special MSI rate of $109 per night). Along with great tours, good food, seeing old friends and meeting new ones, you will feel the historical significance of St. Louis. To commemorate our anniversary, you will receive a T-shirt with a botanical illustration of Magnolia acuminata, Missouri’s native magnolia. (Please be sure to indicate your T-shirt size on the registration form.)

What's more, you will also receive a magnolia seedling door prize. The seeds were donated by Jack Johnston, Ethan Guthrie, Oren McBee and Olbrich Garden in Wisconsin. Who knows? Maybe your seedling will be the next great magnolia introduction!


Friday, April 19
Self-registration is accessible throughout the meeting and begins at noon in the Upper Mississippi Room of the Crowne Plaza St. Louis Downtown Hotel, 200 North 4th Street, St. Louis, Missouri. Use the Group Code MAG to receive the special MSI rate of $109 per night. Dinner is on your own Friday night.


Our Welcome Reception will begin at 7:00 PM with coffee and dessert in the Meramec West Room of the Crowne Plaza Hotel. At 8:00, we will conduct our Annual General Meeting followed by two featured presentations. MSI member Bill Spradley is the owner of Trees, Forests and Landscapes, Inc. of St. Louis. This year Bill received the International Award of Excellence in Arboriculture from the International Society of Arboriculture. Bill will speak about the challenges of growing magnolias in the Midwest - from management practices to species and cultivars that succeed in our area. Bill will be joined by Roy Klehm, fourth generation owner of Klehm's Song Sparrow Farm and Nursery in Wisconsin. Roy has worked with breeders to develop some of the best magnolias in the industry.

Our second featured presentation will be by Alan Branhagen, the Director of Horticulture at Powell Gardens, Kansas City’s botanical garden. Alan’s presentation “Magnolias at Powell Gardens and in Greater Kansas City” will highlight the American Public Garden Association’s North American Plant Collections Consortium multi-site magnolia collection at Powell Gardens.

Saturday, April 20, field trip
In the morning we will travel from the hotel to be welcomed by the Missouri Botanical Garden. Our 50-year history pales in comparison to the Garden’s! Henry Shaw opened his garden to the public 153 years ago, and a world-class institution was born. With assistance from eminent scientists of the day, including Dr. George Englemann, one of America’s great early botanists, Harvard botanist Asa Gray, and Sir William Hooker, director of Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Shaw established an herbarium and library on site, and modeled the grounds after the great gardens and estates of Europe. Presently, the 79-acre garden is home to 245 magnolias. Our time at the Missouri Botanical Garden will include tours highlighting many of their prize magnolias that hopefully will be in full floral display. The botanical garden staff will also offer a presentation on general and specific pruning methods. Lunch will be at the garden, after which there will time available for viewing the gardens on your own. Maps of the magnolias on the ground will be provided. Missouri Botanical Garden has many beautiful features, including North America’s largest traditional Japanese garden. The name of the garden, ‘SEIWA-EN’, means “Garden of pure, clear harmony and peace”. Covering 14 acres, the garden should allow everyone to find an area of peace.

From the botanical garden, we will either walk or ride (depending on weather) to Tower Grove Park. The park property was gifted to the City of St. Louis by Henry Shaw in 1868. Shaw donated plants from his many trips throughout Europe, and the park contains more than 8,000 trees, including many magnolias. It has several of the largest Magnolia acuminata in the St. Louis region. Shaw wanted visitors to be comfortable when they arrived by horseback, carriage or buggy, so sprinkled throughout the park are unique and beautiful pavilions that were designed and built in the 1870s. Back then, it was an all-day outing to travel from the city to the botanical garden and the park. Since this is a rather large park, we will cover sections of it on foot and other parts by bus.

If time allows we will stop in Forest Park, site of the 1904 World’s Fair. As one of the largest parks in the Unites States, it is even larger than New York’s Central Park. It boasts a long list of amenities and attractions for St. Louis residents and visitors. The park houses museums, an outdoor theater, the world-class St. Louis Zoo, beautiful landscapes with ponds, creeks, and old trees, a golf course, sports fields, restaurants, and even places to fish! Forest Park is an excellent place to spend the day if you have time.

Saturday evening, April 20
We will reconvene in the Meramec West room of the hotel at 6:00 for cocktails from the cash bar, followed by dinner at 7:00.  Renowned plantsman Dan Hinkley will kick off the evening with a talk titled "The Accidental Magnoliaphile:  Stumbling Upon Magnolias in Asia and Learning to Love Them."

Dr. Peter Raven, President Emeritus of the Missouri Botanical Garden will be our keynote speaker that evening. Dr. Raven is one of the world’s preeminent botanists and a leader in conservation and biodiversity. For 30 years, he directed the growth of the Missouri Botanical Garden. During his tenure, Dr. Raven focused not only on the garden itself, but also on global botanical research and as a result, the Garden is in the forefront of plant exploration and conservation. Dr. Raven’s effort to preserve endangered species and promote sustainable environments fits the description by TIME Magazine, “Hero for the Planet”. (Rosenblat, Roger. “Hearts and Flowers”. TIME Magazine April 26, 1999).

Sunday, April 21, field trip
Heading north of the city on Sunday morning, our first stop will be at Bellefontaine Cemetery. This cemetery, the first west of the Mississippi River, dates back to 1849 and was created to imitate Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Massachusetts. These cemeteries were designed for both the living and the dead. They include grand vistas, park-like atmospheres with fountains, water features, and beautiful landscapes. Bellefontaine is well known for the famous people buried there, and there are many elaborate mausoleums. The cemetery is home to an excellent display of large trees. If their magnolias are in bloom, they will light up the landscape.

From Bellefontaine Cemetery, we will travel into Illinois to Heritage Trees, Inc. Earl Cully was born on the property and converted the family farm into an arboretum and tree research facility. Earl’s interest is in finding and developing new cultivars. He has made many introductions to the horticultural industry, including Heritage® river birch, Shawnee Brave® bald cypress, and Moonglow® sweetbay magnolia. Earl is a member of the Magnolia Society and it shows: he has over 50 different cultivars of magnolias on his 34 acres. His goal is to continue adding magnolias and build a premier collection for the Midwest. It is very fitting that we visit Earl because in 1952 Joe McDaniel visited the farm and introduced Earl to many cultivars of northern nut trees. Joe and Earl became good friends and took many trips around the country, looking at superior plants that could be reproduced. We will take tours of Earl’s collections after enjoying his beautiful setting over lunch.

Sunday evening, April 21
Our cash bar opens at 6:00 in the Meramec West Room of the hotel, followed by dinner at 7:00. The subject of our featured presentation this evening will be woody plant seed collection, processing and germination. Our speaker, Guadalupe Rios, is Vice President of Production for Forrest Keeling Nursery. Forrest Keeling focuses on producing native woody plants starting from seed, cuttings or grafting. The provenance of seed collection is one of the traits that has kept Forrest Keeling in business for over 60 years. They also patented the RPM (Root Production Method) system, which develops a superior root system on young plants.

The finale of the evening will be our annual plant auction. We are already selecting magnolias for the auction! It promises to be a great evening where everyone can find a new magnolia for his/her collection. We will be taking donations of plants, books and other items for the auction. Please contact Dan Billman about any contributions: dbillmantree@yahoo.com.


Q: When is the registration meeting deadline?

The registration deadline to receive the lowest price for the meeting is December 31, 2012. All registrations must be received by February 28, 2013. We cannot guarantee availability or pricing after that date; however, we will attempt to accommodate a late registration.

Q: What is the hotel information?

Crowne Plaza St. Louis - Downtown
200 North 4th Street
St. Louis, MO 63102
Phone: 314-621-8200
Reservations: 877-270-1393
Use the Group Code MAG to receive the special MSI rate of $109 per night.

Q: Do I have to make my own hotel reservations?

Yes. The most convenient way to make your room reservation is to call 877-270-1393 or register online at www.crownplaza.com/stlouisdt. When booking your reservation online, you need to include the group code MAG for our guaranteed room rate. If you register by phone, be sure to identify your affiliation with Magnolia Society International to ensure that you receive our preferential room rate of $109 per night.

Q: Do I get a special rate as an MSI member?

Yes. Use the Group Code MAG to receive the special MSI rate of $109 per night, single or double occupancy, or $119.00 per night for a one bedroom parlor suite (excluding taxes). These rates are available 3 days prior and 3 days after the meeting dates of April 19-21st.

Q: When can I check into the hotel?

Check-in time is 3:00 pm; check-out time is 12:00 noon

Q: Does the hotel charge for parking?

Yes, but they have reduced the rate for MSI meeting attendees. Self-parking is available for $5.00 per day with unlimited access (applicable 3 days pre- and post-meeting). Valet parking is $20.00 per day.

Q: Is breakfast included in the room rate?

No. Breakfast is on your own. Crowne Plaza has a full service restaurant and there are local businesses within walking distance.

Q: Do I have to stay at this hotel to attend the meeting?

No, but all the scheduled events, other than garden tours, will be held at this hotel, and tours will leave each morning from this hotel.

Q: I don’t eat red meat. Is this a problem?

No. There is space on the Registration Form to indicate special requests, such as vegetarian or gluten-free meals. Also, each dinner will have a chicken and/or fish option. Lunches on the tour will include a vegetarian choice.

Q: Which airport should I use?

Lambert-St. Louis International Airport (STL)

Q: Is airport ground transportation available from STL airport?

Yes. There are many options including the Metro (train), taxis and Go Best Express, a van shuttle service.

The Metro. Passengers coming into the airport would find the Metro Express station at the airport and look for the train heading East (the airport is the last west-bound stop). To the hotel, it is 15 stops, taking about 1/2 hr. to 8th and Pine. The hotel is at 4th and Pine, a 5-min. walk. Fares are around $6 from the airport and $3 to get back.

Taxis. The main fare is $30-$35 with a $2-$2.50 additional fare for each extra person, so 2 people might pay $16-$18.50 each, one way.

Shuttle van. GO BEST Express takes reservations by calling 1-314-222-5300 or 1-800-785-4682 or go online to www.gobestexpress.com. Fares for one person are $21 one-way or $37 round trip. If two people have the same reservation, destination and payment method, fares are $11 one-way or $32 round-trip, each. Children age 6-12 are a reduced fare and kids under 5 are free. There are facilities for special needs with a 48-hr. notice. This shuttle service departs the airport every half hour and may stop at several other destinations along the way to your hotel.

Q: What about renting a car?

The airport has multiple car rental agencies.

Q: I want to donate a magnolia or other material for the auction. Whom should I contact?

Dan Billman at 314-729-7947 or dbillmantree@yahoo.com

Q: My significant other would like to join me for the meeting. Is there a way to get the membership discount rate for the meeting without enrolling him/her as a member?

Yes. Renew your membership at the family level. Family membership means all the members of the household may attend an Annual Meeting at members’ rate. It also means that each household will only receive one copy of the Journals, Newsletters, and seed counter. Family level dues are $40 for US members and $45 for non-US members. Individual dues are $30 for US members and $35 for non-US members.

Q: What if my traveling companion would rather explore the area than join me on the day trips?

You register for the meeting. Your companion can spend the days as he or she chooses, and then join you for dinner. The registration form includes an option to pay for dinner only on Saturday and/or Sunday.

Q: Are there things to see and do in St. Louis without a car?

Our hotel is downtown right by the Gateway Arch/Riverfront. Being in the heart of the city, people can reach most attractions by taxi or the metro train. The St. Louis Zoo is highly recommended. It has an excellent horticultural department and there is no entrance fee.

Q: What is the cancellation policy?

There will be a 5% administration fee if you cancel your meeting registration request.

Q: What weather should I expect?

The last few years it has been hard to ‘expect’ specific weather. Statistically, the average day temperatures range from 47⁰ – 67⁰F (8⁰ -20⁰C) with a 49% chance of precipitation on any given day in April. Please be prepared for possible wet weather.

Q: Will any event require physical fitness?

The planned tours are similar to those we have taken in the past. Most areas we will tour will be relatively flat, but they will not all be paved.

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