From the President
Ah!! Signs of the garden awakening are all about us on this early February day - hues of Crocus, Hamamelis, early Narcissus, Rhododendron 'Seta' in full and glorious bloom outside our bathroom window; R. dauricum, R. 'Olive', our PJM and others aren't far behind, showing hints of color soon to burst forth. These first soft whispers of the changing season will have reached full voice by the time you pause to look through this spring issue of your Journal.
Which brings me to one of my topics for this column: Journal content. This publication is undoubtedly the most visible and constant reminder to most of us of the existence of the American Rhododendron Society. For some readers it may be essentially the sole reason for renewing their membership each year. Our editor and others interested in its publication want to be sure the Journal continues to be responsive to your needs and wishes and, to that end, I invite your suggestions.
Most of you have probably noticed a feature begun several issues ago under the heading "Tips For Beginners." This is being done in response to requests and suggestions from many of our members. The Journal has also printed some letters to the editor, which is again a fairly recent practice. I hope you are enjoying these features.
I suspect we all find pleasure in articles about interesting gardens or new plants and the exciting pictures accompanying those efforts. Technical articles reviewing scientific experiments are equally important for distributing that information and maintaining the status of a true journal. But is there more we should do? Would a counterpart to the beginners column, for example, be of interest? Is there an unfilled niche for those caught up in the more advanced stages of rhododendron fever, such as, for instance, cultural information on growing the more difficult examples of our favorite genus?
Anyway, please let's hear from you. Editor Sonja Nelson welcomes any input, Sandra McDonald who chairs the Editorial Committee is available, I'm always glad to hear from members (on any subject), or discuss your thoughts with your district director. Don't forget, either, that all ARS members are potential authors. Don't be shy in sharing your ideas or discoveries; ask Sonja to send you a copy of "Writers and Photographers Guidelines" to help in shaping your story.
Speaking of writing, did you notice the essays from two ARS members in the January/February, 1992 issue of Fine Gardening? Both featured rhododendrons and were authored by Willis Harden of the Azalea Chapter (and owner of Homeplace Garden Nursery) and Connie Hansen of the Willamette Chapter. Congratulations to Connie and Willis for helping spread the word on rhododendrons. A trip to your local library may produce a copy of the magazine if you are not a subscriber and would like to see the articles.
Continuing on the theme of benefits to membership from the parent organization, I want to remind you all, and particularly chapter program chairs, of two other services made possible by the Society. These are the Speakers Bureau and the Slide Library. Dorothy Swift and Betty Spady have been gathering information on speakers, their subjects and availability for several years. Contact with Betty or Dorothy will provide you with a large pool from which to choose able speakers ready to entertain and inform. Another resource is Wes Tarpley in the Seattle area, chair of the Slide Library. The Seattle Chapter has an extremely active photography group producing thousands of slides each year. Wes has been putting together some new programs to freshen up and enlarge the offerings. Here chapters of all sizes, wherever located, will find opportunities for programs without having to coordinate arrangements with an outside speaker.
Though I realize this issue will reach you during the time of flower shows and other final programs before summer, it's not too early to be thinking of programs for next fall and winter. Program planners can get a head start with contacts now. I think you'll find a lot of good possibilities from both of these sources.
I'd like to close with an invitation to hear from members with any and all ideas and suggestions. The American Rhododendron Society exists for your benefit. I want the Society to continue meeting your expectations, the perception of which will be much enhanced by your input.