Using the Chapter Newsletter to Further
A Special Chapter Interest
Ed Egan, Tigard, Ore
The Tualatin Valley chapter, in a rural community outside of Portland, Oregon has been trying something different to stimulate an interest in rhododendron species. Each month our newsletter, The Rhody Runner, features, as a frontispiece, a different rhododendron species with a paragraph, or two, of written material and a color print.
We decided, when we first started this project about a year and a half ago, that we would feature only species. Many of the popular hybrids are pictured and written about in catalogs and other publications, and it is the species plants that we need to know more about.
Members of the chapter are asked to submit their favorite slides or color negatives, to be considered for future printing. Our mailing list is only 40 in number so we naturally couldn't afford to run a litho page in color. We found we could get 3½" x 5" color prints from Eastman Kodak for 24¢ each, which fits our budget nicely. We have also found that it is advantageous to order only one print at first so that if the color is not quite as we would like it, we can request a reprint with corrections noted. Then when we have a sample print to our liking we order our 40 prints to match this sample. We have used primarily horizontal prints as this facilitates folding our two page newsletter to fit in a standard 4" x 9½" envelope and keeps us just within the limit of 8¢ postage.
At present I get my material for the write-ups from a session at the Public Library, reading and making notes from the many publications that are available. I have hopes that next year I can organize the list of Rhododendrons to be featured, early enough to include the list in our first newsletter of the season, so that individual members can submit comments from their own personal experience in growing that particular species.
Five or ten years from now each member will have accumulated quite a few frontispieces which, if bound or gathered together under one cover, will give each of us a nice start on an illustrated book of the most popular Northwest Rhododendron species. With the total number of species available we aren't likely to run out of new subjects. Other chapters might consider featuring azaleas, Dexter hybrids, or whatever is of particular interest locally.
Our chapter is a nice blend of old timers who have been growing rhododendrons for many years, and those of us who are relatively new to this captivating hobby. Our "big brothers" from Portland chapter appear as guest speakers at our meetings on occasion and encourage us in our pursuit of greater knowledge and familiarity with the infinite number of Rhododendrons that we can grow here. Since we are blessed with a nearly ideal climate, growing Rhododendrons is almost a way of life.