The President's Report
C. I. Sersanous, President
It is my pleasure to report to the membership one of continued progress for the year 1957.
In number of members, from many parts of the world, we still continue to gain from 1150 paid members to 1300, as of December 15th, 1957, which is very gratifying to all concerned.
We gained another Chapter during the year, which is located in North Carolina, in the city of Asheville. Mr. J. R. Brooks of Enka, North Carolina is the new President and W. H. Thorne, of Asheville, North Carolina is the Secretary. The name of this new Chapter will be known as the Southeastern Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society, and becomes the 11th member Chapter.
Congratulations to the rhododendrons enthusiasts of the State of North Carolina. Our best wishes go forth to you for a successful venture.
We, in addition to the Southeastern Chapter and while this information is a bit premature, hope to welcome Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as another new Chapter. Several meetings have been held and we sincerely hope that Philadelphia will soon be with us, which will be known as the Philadelphia Chapter, and will become the 12th Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society.
The book, "Rhododendrons" published by the American Rhododendron Society, has had wonderful acceptance during the year, 1957. Many of our members have used this book as a Christmas gift and others have given memberships to the Society. This method of building up our membership is an excellent one and should be continued.
This book, "Rhododendrons" will be used for many years to come as a reference book and is the only book available which gives to the reader the names of all Rhododendrons, of both species and hybrids, generally grown in the U.S., together with the A.R.S. rating as to hardiness, probable height in ten years, color, the parentage if a hybrid, and if known, the blooming season together with color of the bloom given in this book, becomes a valuable aid in landscaping.
The response to your President's request for holding Rhododendron Shows by our Chapters in 1957 was superbly carried out by many of the Chapters which included the Pacific Coast, Vancouver, B.C., their first show which was a decided success.
Seattle, Washington held their annual show on May 16th to 19th at Bellevue, Washington and was witnessed by 25,000 rhododendron enthusiasts. This show was up to its usual standard of excellence, as put forth by the Seattle Chapter. The Tacoma Chapter put on its usual good show. Portland's show was held on May 18th and 19th at the Society's Test Garden and Exhibition House, located on Crystal Springs Lake Island. The date was somewhat late this year, due to an early Spring, and many of the 'Loderi' group and those of the early season bloom, had passed their prime. However, with some 2500 Rhododendrons on the Island in various stages of bloom, made for an excellent setting and a wonderful sight to see. Our Eugene Chapter show was held on May 5th at Hendricks Park, Eugene. A better show than was held in 1956, was the result of increased interest by the Chapter members plus the efforts of the Parks Department, of the City of Eugene.
The California Chapter did not have a competitive show but in its place had an exhibit par excellence, in the California Spring Home and Garden Show, held in Oakland, California, May 4th to 12th. This Oakland Show is a State Flower Show, and is noted for its marvelous floral displays, held for years in the past. For a third time the California Chapter has won the Grand Prize, for the best exhibit of this show. A photograph and a story on this exhibit was carried in the Quarterly Bulletin Vol. 11, No. 3, dated July 15, 1957. Congratulations to the California Chapter for this meritorious achievement.
On the Atlantic Coast, the New York Chapter on May 18th, 1957 held a very successful show at the New York Botanical Garden, Bronx Park, New York. Dr. Clement Bowers, David Leach, Paul Vossberg and Dr. John Wister were the show judges and more than fifty ribbons were awarded by them.
The Middle Atlantic Chapter of Richmond, Virginia, Dr. Thomas Wheeldon, President, reports that no show was held in Richmond this year, the members undertaking a chartered bus trip to several show places. Those making the trip assembled in Washington, D.C. on Friday morning, May 10th, and spent the morning under the guidance of Dr. Henry T. Skinner, Director of the National Arboretum of Washington, D.C., the home of the Glen Dale Azaleas.
The next stop the bus made was at Kingsville, Maryland, in which a tour of the Kingsville Nurseries was made. The group journeyed on to York, Pennsylvania and was addressed that evening at a dinner meeting by David Leach of Brookville, Pa., his subject being "Rhododendrons of the World." On Saturday morning, May 11th, the group visited the gardens of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Gable, at Stewartstown, Pa., where the famous Gable hardy hybrid Azaleas have been propagated and grown for the past forty years. Mr. Joseph Gable was presented the A.R.S. Gold Medal award a few years ago as a token of esteem and for meritorious service to genus Rhododendron.
This group of 45 members were very grateful to Dr. Thomas Wheeldon for his leadership on this tour, making it possible to enjoy the fellowship of better acquaintance and having the opportunity of discussion with other members of the group, certain problems characteristic of various rhododendron, which includes Azaleas.
This is the crux of shows where information is desired from those in charge, who either can render such information or secure the same from those better informed. Your President hopes that 1958 will again bring forth good shows and better efforts put forth by all Chapters large or small, all in honor of the Genus Rhododendron, which is still called the King of all Flowers.
A word about membership. May I point out that if every member brought in to his or her chapter one new member during the year 1958, we would have a membership of over 2500 and I don't believe that is asking too much of any member.
For those interested in new varieties, there is no plant in the world that presents more opportunity for hybridizing than the genus Rhododendron.
For those interested in a flowering shrub, there is no plant that will bring more color to a garden, during the blooming season, or for foliage after the blooming period, than the genus Rhododendron.
For those interested in plant hardiness; new hybrids are being grown that will withstand lower temperatures and more heat than hybrids grown previously.
The Quarterly Bulletin, ably edited by Rudolph Henny, of Brooks, Oregon, has proven responsible during the past years for many new members joining the A.R.S. Mr. Henny is a long experienced hybridizer of rhododendrons, and has made a reputation for having made many hybrid crosses of exceptional worth. Information contained in the Bulletin furnished by many contributions throughout the U.S., and from abroad, make it the tops among all single plant societies. The Bulletin, included with the $5.00 annual dues of the Society, most certainly alone is worth the price of the current dues.
The above statements are made with the idea of further building our membership and should, therefore, become a challenge to the membership for the year of 1958.
The Award Committees were quite active during the year and some 17 preliminary awards were made, as compared to 10 in 1956. Volume 10, No. 3 July Bulletin, contained a list of these new hybrids together with the names and description of the plant, all eligible for American Rhododendron Society Plant Registry for 1956. The July issue of the Bulletin, volume 11, No. 3, carried the same kind of a list for plant registry of the A.R.S. for 1957. Dr. J. Harold Clarke, Chairman of the Awards and Nomenclature Committees, points out that plant breeders are urged to submit to the A.R.S. Registrar, J. Harold Clarke, Long Beach, Washington, proposed names before they are actually used, to eliminate names that possibly have been used before. Please note further details of procedure on page 134, of Vol. 11, No. 3, the July Bulletin, 1957. All awards made in 1957 came from the Pacific Coast.
The financial status of the A.R.S. continues to indicate further progress of the Society, all in accordance with an Audit Report as of April 30, 1957, and for the end of our fiscal year.
The governing body held two meetings during the year, as required by the by-laws of the Society, and on each occasion had almost a perfect attendance for which your President extends his sincere appreciation and for the efforts put forth by the Board of Directors in carrying out the business affairs of the A.R.S.
On behalf of the Board of Directors, and your President, many thanks to our contributors of material for the Bulletin for their splendid efforts. Thanks to our advertisers for the financial support they have rendered the Society and Mrs. Gertrude Bovee as Chairman of our Advertising Committee.
To other Committee Chairmen and their committees, may they too have the thanks of the Board of Directors and your President for their sincere efforts during the year, 1957.
To all the Chapters, their members, and the entire membership, greetings to you for much happiness and prosperity during the year 1958, and for a year that will bring forth continued progress and greater success. It has been a privilege and an honor to have served you.