Entries for Awards Welcomed
Great Lakes Chapter Test Garden Opens
David G. Leach, Chairman, Test and Display Garden Committee
The Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center at Wooster, Ohio, is the site of the Great Lakes Chapter's Display Garden. The institution is administered by Ohio State University. The Display Garden is under the supervision of Dr. Oliver D. Diller, Professor and Curator of The Secrest Arboretum, which is a part of the O. A. R. D. C.
The Research and Development Center has recently completed the Great Lakes Chapter's Test Garden, a 28 x 75 foot plot enclosed by a seven-foot chain link fence and a locked gate. Only employees of the O. A. R. D. C. under Dr. Diller's supervision have access to the Test Garden routinely, but official awards committeemen may enter it for judging during the blooming season.
This is the only Test Garden in the country which provides complete security for rhododendrons to be considered for awards, and the Great Lakes Chapter now invites growers in all states and from all chapters to send to its Test Garden single plants of either hybrids or species which they believe to be worthy of award consideration. Azaleas are included.
Plants received at Wooster will be labeled with a code number upon arrival, which will be made known only to the owners of the plants, and recorded with the name or number, description, parentage and origin on official A. R. S. forms in the confidential records of the O. A. R. D. C. At their first blooming they will be considered for the Eligibility List. If they are approved, copies of the A. R. S. forms will then be sent to the Registrar of Plant Awards, the Secretary of the Society, the Chairman of the A. R. S. Ratings Committee and to the Editor of the A. R. S. Bulletin. Only the Secretary of the Awards Committee will have access to the confidential files, and the plants in the Test Garden will bear only code numbers, to avoid any possibility of judges being influenced by entries from prominent hybridizers. Plants which gain the Eligibility List will be so marked.
None of the plants in the Test Garden may be propagated without written permission and they remain the property of the person who presented them for award consideration. After a clone has been considered, progressively, for the Conditional Award, then the higher honor, the Award of Excellence, and finally the Society's highest commendation, the Superior Plant Award, permission may be sought to move it from the Test Garden to the Display Garden. If permission is refused, the plants can be repossessed by their owners.
Under the 1968 A. R. S. regulations, plants must "exist in quantity" to be eligible for the higher awards. Propagating facilities are now under construction at the O. A. R. D. C. which may be used under some circumstances to aid amateurs who request assistance in meeting this requirement.
Soil in the beds of the Test Garden has been carefully prepared, with a lavish incorporation of peat moss and some sand. The Great Lakes Chapter is especially fortunate in having exceptionally qualified judges. More than a third of its members are commercial nurserymen or hybridizers.
A. R. S. members who wish to send plants to the Test Garden can be assured that they will be secure, that they will be properly maintained and grown well, and that they will be judged expertly.
After an award has been made to a clone, a complete technical description of it will be sent to the A. R. S. Registrar of Plant Names, if it has not previously been described and registered, and any other requirements of the 1968 Awards Program will be fully met. Awards will be published in the Bulletin and thereafter any clone so designated may be advertised in nursery catalogs as having won the honor. There can be little doubt that the official A. R. S. honors, the Conditional Award ("C. A."), the Award of Excellence ("A. E.") and the Superior Plant Award ("S. P. A.") will substantially aid the promotion and sale by nurserymen of any rhododendron or azalea which earns them.
Members in all chapters are urged to send worthy plants to:
Dr. Oliver Diller, Curator Secrest Arboretum
Ohio Agricultural Research & Development Center
Wooster, Ohio 44691