A. R. S. President's Report
J. Harold Clarke
This is being written just before the holiday season and in my heart there is the feeling "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year" to all of you. I hope some of this feeling breaks through the barrier of space and touches a responsive chord.
It is a pleasure to report interest in our Society high, and membership increasing. Figures received from our loyal Secretary, Mrs. Ruth Hansen, indicate total membership of 1754, as of Oct. 22, 1961. What rather pleases me is that our 17 Chapters are almost equally divided, 9 west and 8 east of the Mississippi. The western Chapters have 932 members and the eastern members total 678 and there are 144 non-chapter members. This indicates widespread interest in our favorite plant and the Society devoted to it. One of the western Chapters, Shelton (Washington) is new, with 30 enthusiastic members.
This year, we feel, has been one of great accomplishment. The highlight was the successful International Rhododendron Conference held in Portland. Oregon, with speakers and visitors from several countries and from many different states. A brief report of this event has already been made and the papers presented will appear in full in the Proceedings, to appear soon.
"Rhododendrons For Your Garden", the second in our "every five year" series was received from the printer early in the spring, just in time for the Conference.
Committee work increased during the year, part of it connected with the book and the Conference, but much of it along other lines as indicated by the list of committees printed elsewhere in this issue. A Society such as ours offers fertile field for committee activities, the greatest obstacle being that many of our most active and knowledgeable members are separated by great distances. Since many of our committees, to be effective, must be made up of members close enough together to permit meetings. it is hoped that printing the names will encourage members at a distance to offer suggestions or criticism if they feel they would be helpful.
Improvements at the National Test Garden have been mentioned in previous issues. We are especially grateful to Mr. A. S. Martin, of Ambler. Pa.. for making possible the development of the Jane R. Martin Memorial Entrance Garden.
The development of Test and Display Gardens by various Chapters is proceeding steadily. We look forward to seeing detailed accounts of some of these in future issues of the Bulletin.
Most of the Chapters will have Shows in 1962. We would like to see the dates published in the Bulletin for the benefit of members who might be traveling in the vicinity at the time. Two forthcoming events should be mentioned here. One is the 1962 Annual Meeting to be held at Winterthur in Delaware, as explained elsewhere in this issue. The other is the A.R.S. Show to be held in Seattle, May 17-20, in connection with the World's Fair, Century 21. W e hope many of you will be able to attend both of these important events.
It would be impossible to thank individually every A.R.S. member who has contributed materially to the advancement of the Society during 1961. However, I would like, on your behalf, to thank the officers, editor, committee members, and Chapter officers and workers who have so loyally supported the organization with their efforts, ideas, and good wishes.