It is January and time to enjoy another of our quarterly Journals. In the Northern Hemisphere it is midwinter. While it is cold outside and most all of our rhododendrons and azaleas are in their deepest dormancy, we can begin to think of the spring season that is not far ahead. This month, at least in the West, we may see a few rhododendrons begin to show flowers. We have a plant of R. dauricum that seldom fails to show its first flowers of spring in January.
On the other end of the flowering season we have a form of R. auriculatum which often still has flowers in the last two weeks of August. Then, of course there are the rhododendrons from the section Viryea which can flower anytime in the year. So, rhododendrons and azaleas can give us a long flowering season and this is one of the reasons we prize them so much.
There is such a wide variety of rhododendrons and azaleas that no one could grow them all. That is the reason some of us specialize in species, some in hybrids, some in azaleas, and some in vireyas. While each of us has our own interest, we are all members of the same American Rhododendron Society.
Adele Jones, our Journal editor not only tries, but does an excellent job of providing articles which will be exciting to those with interests in any and all of these specialties. If you don't see articles often enough in your area of interest, give our editor suggestions on who might be qualified to provide an article, or even consider writing one yourself. Please don't say that the ARS is made up of people that are only interested in a certain section of the genus Rhododendron . Certainly there are more of us with interests in certain areas, but overall we are interested in the whole genus including azaleas, so you will find something that interests you!
It is pleasing to see that our membership is growing at a steady rate and that it is at an all time high. I want to thank all of you for the efforts you made to help us grow. Let's not rest on our laurels, but continue to spread the news about our great organization!
On the horizon for 1990 may be an increase in dues to $26.00 (with a $1.00 discount for early renewal). This $5.00 increase would be split in half with $2.50 going to the chapters, and $2.50 going to the national organization. Much of the reason for the need for a dues increase has been the exceedingly high raise in postal rates. You may feel that a first class stamp only went from 22 cents to 25 cents, which is a modest increase, however, the cost of mailing our Journal nearly doubled! I don't see how the post office could sneak in, or justify such an excessive increase, but don't get me started about the post office because that's another matter! I don't want to offend any of our fine members who are employed by the post office. One way to avoid a dues increase would be with an even greater membership, because there is economy in numbers, and with a large number of units, the cost per unit goes down. So this is another reason to get out there and find more members. Remember, what I have said before, if each of us could find just one new member, we could double our organization. Maybe then we could lower our dues?? No, probably not, but it is nice to dream! In the next few months the chapters will be hearing from their District Directors regarding the pending dues increase. We want your input.
One last word, be sure to plan on attending the ARS annual convention in Victoria this May. I had the pleasure of spending some time on Vancouver Island this fall, seeing some of the beautiful gardens that you will have the pleasure of touring. All I can say is wow! And what congenial hosts are the Victoria and the other cooperating chapters! This is bound to be a convention you won't want to miss. I look forward to meeting you there.