The Southern Chapter
We are glad to welcome into the Society a new group, just organized, to be known as the Southern Chapter. The moving spirit in its organization has been Mr. Arthur I. Coyle, Houston, Texas. Mr. Coyle did such a good job while stimulating interest and getting things organized that he was rather logically elected Chapter President. Mr. B. M. Basham is Vice President and Mrs. Robert L. Sharp, Secretary-Treasurer.
There are sixty-one charter members whose names appear in this issue under the list of new members. NonChapter members in the South were contacted and they have not only gone in with the new Chapter but have helped to bring in additional new members.
Some A.R.S. Chapters have been centered in only one town or city. Others, such as the Great Lakes Chapter and the Middle Atlantic Chapter, have covered a rather wide area. The Southern Chapter is following the latter course. Feeling that cultural problems are somewhat the same throughout the South, they have drawn on most of the southern states for members and have elected a Director from each of six states. They included Mr. James D. Harrison, Jr. of Houston, Texas; Mr. W. S. Cox, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Mr. John C. Carden, Fort Smith, Arkansas; Dr. Sigmund L. Solymosy, Lafayette, Louisiana; Mr. Augustus E1mer, Jr. of Pass Christian, Mississippi; and Mr. Robert S. Smilie of Birmingham, Alabama.
While the Chapter was being organized, Mr. Coyle got out three newsletters, giving the experiences of various members in growing rhododendrons under southern conditions. It would seem from the information so far available that one of the primary reasons why rhododendrons have not been grown more generally in the South has been the root rot problem. By growing in raised beds, well drained, being particularly careful of watering and in some cases using fungicidal drenches, a number of people are indicating quite successful rhododendron growing. The new Chapter feels that those who grow azaleas can also grow rhododendrons which means that there would be a tremendous field across the South. The Southern Chapter is certainly going to stimulate interest in rhododendrons in this area, and also bring into our membership many who have long been growing azaleas.
The Chapter already has two or three projects well underway. They are hoping to get out a handbook of rhododendron culture for the South which will summarize the best information available for those who are gardening under southern conditions. They also have a Native Azalea Committee under the chairmanship of Dr. Neil Compton of Bentonville, Arkansas. Dr. Compton has been working with native azaleas for some time and it is hoped that his committee will develop a great deal of information about these valuable native plants and publish it for the benefit of everyone.
The first annual meeting of the Chapter is scheduled for April 29, 30, and May 1 at the Holiday Inn in Fayetteville, Arkansas. This is near numerous colonies of native azaleas and trips are planned into these areas. Members of the Society are invited to take in this meeting on their way to the Annual Meeting at Asheville, or as a separate trip to an interesting part of the country to be seen with an enthusiastic group of new members. Further information, if desired, could be secured from Mr. Coyle, the Chapter President.
Mr. Coyle has a few extra copies of his newsletters. They would be of interest to anyone wanting to learn a little bit about the rhododendron situation in the South, varieties grown, problems being attacked, and successes to date.