Opportunity to Share in Preservation of Cecil and Molly Smith Garden
Herbert A. Spady, Salem, OR
As a result of the ARS Board action taken at its October meeting the ARS has deferred to the Portland Chapter the opportunity to purchase the Cecil and 'Molly' Smith garden on the same generous terms. The Portland Chapter has solved the problems that the ARS faced regarding preservation of the garden, but now it has the same other problems. We are fortunate in that we have enough money to purchase the property, but we do not have the means to continue its maintenance. At this time we are offering to the membership of the ARS the opportunity to share with us the thrill of seeing the garden preserved and maintained properly. Please participate in our effort to raise at least a $100,000 endowment for the garden. The income from such an endowment would provide only the minimum amount needed for support of the garden.
You might ask why we do not turn to local support for this fund raising. If you are familiar with the location of the garden you will realize that there is no local metropolitan area. The garden lies in an isolated area rather far from any city. The only support we have for fund raising is from gardening people and primarily rhododendron people, who can appreciate the value of its preservation.
We know of no garden that has a history more closely associated with the ARS than this one. Cecil Smith, although not a charter member of the ARS, joined almost immediately after its formation. That, of course, was before there was such a thing as a chapter. He and 'Molly' have been active in ARS and local chapter affairs for these many years. There are few members old or new that do not know them. His kindness in distributing cuttings, pollen and seeds is legend. For years this fine garden has been open to rhododendron people and the general gardening public, not simply open but always with generous hospitality. Of themselves, those long years of kindness, generosity, and hospitality by these wonderful people justify the preservation of this garden.
This internationally famous garden is blessed with a very mild microclimate that provides moderation of temperature extremes. This has made it possible for Cecil to grow many tender species and hybrids. The garden contains plants grown from original Rock and Kingdon-Ward seed collections. Through the years Cecil has used these clones to produce and distribute unusual hybrids. Gardeners all over the country are benefiting from these crosses. If the garden is not preserved the continuation of this activity will be impossible. The peaceful isolated site protects the garden from the usual hazards of vandalism and pollution.
Please help us establish a significant endowment for this garden. We will gladly accept memorials, bequests, and pledges in addition to outright immediate gifts. All donations are tax deductible.