The President's Report
C. I. Seranous
Again I find it my duty and pleasure to report to the membership one of continued progress for the year 1956. Our membership continues to gain. The last checking with our Secretary indicating a membership of 1150 paid members from 1047 as of October 1, 1955.
There were no new Chapters formed during the year, New Jersey Chapter of Montclair, N. J. being the last one to join our ranks. However, more Chapters are in the offing, which will in all probability come into being in the very near future.
Our financial position is constantly improving, a statement of which was printed in the July issue of the Bulletin-Volume 10-No. 3.
Flower shows were held last Spring by the New York, N.Y. Chapter; Oakland, California Chapter; Eugene, Oregon Chapter; Portland, Oregon Chapter and Seattle, Washington Chapter.
All Chapters are urged to hold rhododendron shows during the year 1957. Plans should be in the making during the coming months. These shows do much to encourage the public to become more interested in the growing and culture of rhododendrons.
Again much interest was shown by growers of new rhododendron seedlings. The award committees gave 10 Preliminary Awards and 2 Awards of Excellence during the year, all awards coming from the Pacific Coast. Volume 10, Number 3, July Bulletin, contained a list of these new hybrids together with the names and a general description. The front cover carried a photograph in color of R. degronianum, A. E., a very striking plant, a member of the Ponticum series. This plant should be a splendid acquisition for any rock garden and is growing in the rock garden section of the Portland Test Garden.
This Award of Excellence plant is very hardy, is very low growing and has shade for the most part of the day with late afternoon sun.
The exhibition cool house was completed in time for the Portland Chapter Rhododendron Show which was held on May 19th and 20th and on November 20th, the heating plant was completed and started. The electric heaters at the time of this writing are functioning very well and on several mornings with outside temperatures well below freezing, the temperature inside the cool house registered 40° to 42° Fahrenheit. Approximately 60 plants are contained in the house, including two large specimen plants nuttallii and polyandrum, the first named plant donated by Mr. and Mrs. A. R. Heineman of Milton, Washington, approximately eight feet in height is a beautiful specimen. The second plant donated by D. W. James of Eugene will bloom during the coming season. Many of the plants have a good bud set and as most all of these Maddenii and their hybrids are scented, much anxiety and excitement will prevail when they come into bloom for the first time.
Incidentally, the cost of this exhibition and cool house was in excess of $10,000 and not one penny was appropriated from the general funds of the A.R.S., the cost being defrayed from voluntary donations, proceeds from Rhododendron Shows, and other sources. The labor came for the most part from Portland Chapter members who worked consistently and hard in bringing this project into being, all the work being donated. To these members, my personal thanks for a good job well done.
Another project completed during the year of 1956 was the publication of a book called "Rhododendrons." The book represented a long felt want by the growers of rhododendron. It contains much factual material and will be used for many years to come as a reference book, for it is complete in every sense of the word as to up-to-date information on the genus Rhododendron.
For the first time in America has any attempt been made to render hardiness ratings and from page 164 to 193 the reader will find A.R.S. ratings of hardiness together with plant quality ratings, probable height in ten years, blooming season color, hybrid parentage, originator of the plant and where information is available as to the date of origination.
The book is receiving splendid acceptance by the membership, school libraries, public libraries, book stores and the general public. The financial aspect of this book venture is quite encouraging, the book being financed entirely by A.R.S. funds.
To Dr. J. Harold Clarke, editor, of Long Beach, Washington, and his book committee, the contributors of material, and many others, including the Benedictine Press of Mt. Angel, Oregon, printers, may I extend a most sincere thank you as President of the American Rhododendron Society for making this book possible.
On December 9th, your President made a trip to Tacoma, Washington to plant the first rhododendron of a planting now in the process of establishing as a project sponsored by the Tacoma Chapter of the A.R.S. This Garden will be a part of a rhododendron planting located in Point Defiance Park operated by the Tacoma Metropolitan Park Board and consisting of 640 acres. Approximately 300 to 400 rhododendrons will he planted during the coming year.
Two meetings of the governing body were held during the year 1956, which was nearly perfect in attendance.
Many thanks for their splendid cooperation in carrying out the business affairs of the Society.
On behalf of the governing body and your President, may I thank Mr. Rudolph Henny and Mrs. Ruth M. Hansen for their splendid efforts during the year. Many thanks to our advertisers for the support they have given the Society and to Mrs. R. M. Bovee as Chairman of our Advertising Committee.
To other Committee Chairmen and their committees, may I personally thank each and every one of them for their efforts during the year 1956.
To all the Chapters, their members, and the entire membership my best wishes for a Happy and Prosperous New Year and a year that will bring forth continued progress and greater success. It has been a privilege and honor to have served you.