New Chairman to Head ARS Seed Exchange
Westbury, New York
At the recent ARS Annual Convention in Asheville, I received instructions on how to facilitate and cultivate the national ARS Seed Exchange from Linda Wylie. It would be much easier for me if she had done a terrible job. Then I wouldn't have to work so hard to keep up with her. But, as everyone in the rhododendron world knows, Linda has been dedicated and thorough and has done an outstanding job the past four years. It is a real challenge to maintain the high standards she has established. Thank you, Linda.
I believe the Seed Exchange represents one of the best activities the American Rhododendron Society has to offer. I have always eagerly anticipated the arrival of the Seed Exchange catalogue every winter, and as the new chairman I hope to increase this sense of anticipation among the contributors and customers of the Seed Exchange worldwide.
There are many good ideas being generated now about growing and hybridizing rhododendrons. There is talk of starting a computer bulletin board on CompuServe for ARS members to exchange information and requests for pollen and seed. Some of this information could be collected and printed in the Journal or the Seed Exchange catalogue. A special category of cross, "Triple Five," could be established in which contributors who feel they have made a cross that could result in a plant with a 5/5/5 rating could designate that seed as such and a little more could be charged for crosses in that category.
Some members who have been hybridizing for a long time have ceased contributing to the Seed Exchange. It is easy to see how this happens. A network of friends develops and seed is shared with them, some seed is sent to local seed exchanges like the one we have in New York and, only after all that, whatever is leftover is sent to the national Seed Exchange. I would like to see this change, basically by asking everyone to pollinate more flowers each time a cross is made. "Throw three in for the national." Do three extra flowers of whatever cross you are making and send it in. If the Seed Exchange can make more money, more can be distributed to support gardens like Meerkerk, the Cecil Smith garden, Planting Fields, the Rhododendron Species Foundation, etc. These ideas are intended to help be able to order seed by fax. I will publish that information after I have it set up. I hope we can communicate through a computer service soon. Please send your ideas and suggestions to me.