In the past it has been the custom for the president to take this opportunity to review the events of the past year. I will continue in this tradition. In addition, I want to point out a few things that I believe are important to accomplish in the future. For the ARS to continue to be an interesting and helpful organization, we need to build on the strong foundations established in the past by such people as Ruth Hansen, Jock Brydon, Dr. J. Harold Clarke, Mrs. Bill Curtis, Mrs. Esther Berry and many, many others. I believe that both Dr. Clarke and Mrs. Berry are here tonight. I believe they would be the first to say that we should not rest on our “rhododendrons."
As the Society has grown to some 5100 plus members, so has its services to the members. There are many committees which provide these services, made up of over 70 volunteers who know that they have important contributions to make. It's not possible to name every one of them here, but I do want you to be aware of at least some of these people.
Bill Tietjen reports that the seed exchange mailed about 14,000 packages from 1631 seed lots to 800 purchasers, and there were 1 60 contributors.
The Rhododendron and Azalea Newsletter is more interesting with each issue, due in large part to remarkable improvements in chapter newsletters. There are many good editors in the Society. And Janet Binford is doing a terrific job, and reports that she now receives newsletters from 26 chapters - many are also received by me for which I am most appreciative. Being able to read chapter newsletters has given me a new understanding about the interests of the chapters and how they feel about the Society.
Dick Brooks, By-Laws Implementation Committee Chairman, reports that formation of the districts is continuing smoothly. Four new districts were formed this year with districts directors elected as follows: District 1, Harold Johnson; District 2, Bob Badger; District 7, Bob Murray; and District 10, Joe Coleman.
District 6 was approved for election of a director next year. In District 3, Juan de Fuca, Lewis County, North Kitsap, Olympia, Olympic Peninsula, Shelton and Tacoma have approved the district plan, and Grays Harbor has given conditional approval. In District 11, the plan has been approved by Great Lakes and Midwest chapters, but not yet by Indiana Chapter. The committee hopes that by this fall the remaining two districts will be formed, so that the phasing-in process may be completed in the spring of 1 984 with the election of the last three district directors.
As for the ARS Journal, outstanding articles contributed by members and edited supremely by Ed Egan have resulted in the Journal publication being one of the finest in the world. It is the envy of many other Societies. Ed please stand and accept our admiration for what you have done.
Diane Johnson tells us that a new book will soon be available - a translation of a historical Japanese book on species and hybrid azaleas. Diane tells us that "delightful" is the only way to describe this book. Diane is also developing a new book on "Growing Rhododendrons" - a book with many illustrations by a neighbor of Diane's. When you see these illustrations you will want to have this book. The Board also approved the publication of a short work on Universal Color Names. These names were developed by Kelley and Huse at the National Bureau of Standards and are cross-indexed to many of the various color charts. Work is also progressing on getting the RHS color chart reprinted.
Hosts for annual meetings are reserved through 1988. The next openings are for 1989 and 1991 on the West Coast. Massachusetts has tentatively reserved 1990. We hope she has some spare time, because Diane Johnson is also working toward improving the ARS guidelines for conducting and judging flower shows. Information she is collecting on flower colors is going into a computer to develop a classification key. It must be a big computer.
“Hallelujah", a hybrid developed by Harold Greer, was awarded the Award of Excellence. Sixteen more plants were added to the Eligibility List.
Chapter response to consider whether to drop the Awards Program was so varied that the Board decided that the existing awards program will be continued for the present.
Plant registrations have increased from about 20 per year just a few years ago to more than 100 per year. Because proposed names must be approved by the International Plant Registrar in England, registration takes some time to accomplish. Ed Parker hurries it along on the American end. Recently, the International Registrar proposed to prepare a Certificate of Registration for each plant, and it looks like this will be a new addition to plant registration.
Polly Acaiturri has received the names of chapter contacts for the bed and breakfast program from many of the chapters. There are a few more to go.
The Pollen Bank continues to flourish. Beginning this year, pollen will be available to anyone who has not previously received pollen, or who has made a donation to the pollen bank within the last two years. An availability list is mailed to all who have contributed during the year, and contributors have first priority.
A new program on the Rhododendron of the Salween River Valley has been prepared by Clive Justice and will soon be available. Slides for the program are from Mr. Zhang Aoluo of China. Another program on rhododendron gardens in England will also be added to the Slide Library by Dr. Herbert Spady.
Seventeen of 23 chapters responding to Dr. Bump's letters were in favor of purchasing the Cecil Smith property providing adequate funding can be developed. The Board has approved a one year, no-cost, option on the property and has directed a committee headed by Dr. Frank Mossman to solicit donations from individuals and foundations for purchase and endowment. Some funds have already been pledged. Cecil and Molly are to be thanked for making a most generous offer to the Society. We are most grateful.
A place to store Society records, book donations and other rhododendron information has been a need of the Society for a long time. Mrs. Janet Binford is now providing this space, as well as an office for the Rhododendron and Azalea newsletter.
This has been a busy year for the Research Committee headed by Dr. August Kehr. They have received and evaluated 27 new proposals, recommending to the Research Foundation that 8 of these be funded from interest proceeds of the Research Foundation account. Most of the trustees of the Research Foundation are here tonight and I would like them to stand and be recognized: Ernie Kolak, Ted Van Veen, Dr. Frank West, Fred Cummings and Judd Brooks. Dr. Fitzburgh was not able to be here. The trustees approved funding for all 8 of the recommended studies. One of the studies will support a project to collect seed of Rhododendron Species in China. The chapters closest to the recipients of the grants will administer the research (supported by these funds) through the Chapter Research Chairmen. To date, all but 4 chapters have appointed a Chapter Research Chairman.
The trustees also approved the beginning of a cooperative research program, in which chapters may request matching funds from the Research Foundation to solve local problems. The Research Foundation will continue to support national problems on a 100% funding basis.
During the year, some 400 individual members donated $2700 to the Research Foundation at the same time they paid their dues. Other contributions were over $1000 and the total funds in the account now amount to $111,271. From interest yields on this account, from 6 to 8 small studies can now be funded by the trustees each year.
Among the things I believe need special attention during the next two years are:
(1) Select a person for the Pioneer Award. It is not required that this award be given once each two years, but there are many who are deserving. I'm sure your new President will be pleased to receive proposals for this award in 1984.
(2) Continue to work on the Awards and Rating programs. The objectives of these programs need to be more clearly defined.
(3) Work on a book which will document the Giants of the Past in Western Rhododendrons. Presentations made at the 2nd Western Regional Meeting last fall convinced me that there is more than adequate information and material for such a book. It will take a lot of cooperation among western members, but the smooth way this convention and western regional meetings have been conducted is more than enough proof that good cooperation already exists here. I know you have good writers and editors! I would like for you to know how much the President leans on the Executive Secretary. Fran Egan has to be the best in the business.
It is now 39 years since the beginning of the Society here in Portland. I doubt very much if any of the founding members anticipated that the Society would grow so fast and over such a wide area. From the beginning here in Portland, there are now 50 chapters. I feel very fortunate to have been a part of this growth during the last two years. It has been an exciting learning experience for me, and I have developed a strong respect for the officers and committees of the Society. It is they who have made things happen. My thanks to all of you for letting me hold this office. Now it is time for others. The new officers for the next two years are: Ed Egan, Editor, Fran Egan, Executive Secretary Ted Van Veen, Treasurer, Bill Tietjen, Eastern Vice President Harold Greer, Western Vice President, Janet Binford, your "First Lady" President! You are in very capable hands!