From the President
H. C. "Bud" Gehnrich
Huntington, New York
The summer doldrums are upon us, and as I write this column on August 15, Long Island and the areas nearby are suffering one of the worst droughts I can recall. It is interesting to see how well the native plants handle the lack of water while many of the introduced plants suffer and ultimately die. In spite of observing this, I will continue to bring in plants that have problems with the weather conditions here, be they heat, drought or cold. Every once in a while one surprises and grows well in spite of the adversity it suffers. Whoever would have thought that a plant such as yakushimanum could be taken from its rainy mountain, put down here in what must seem to it to be a desert, and proceed to grow and thrive as few other species do.
The doldrums affect the office of president to some extent too; it is always busiest around the time of the spring and the fall meetings and then things quiet a bit during the heat of the summer and the cold of the winter.
There are two projects ongoing that I should like to call to the attention of the members. There were not enough responses to the survey of the members conducted in 1994 to permit the drawing of any meaningful conclusions, but someone went through the responses that did come in and made a list of improvements that were suggested.
One was the thought that a book should be published reprinting past articles from the Journal that are of lasting value. Well, Joe Parks of the Massachusetts Chapter is doing exactly that with a view to having it ready for sale at the convention to be held in Massachusetts in the year 2000. This is primarily a venture led by Joe under the auspices of the Massachusetts Chapter, but the seed money required to get the book into publication is coming equally from the ARS and the chapter. It is an exciting project and one which will surely be received enthusiastically by the members.
Also suggested in responses to that survey were a number of calls for more information on plants that do well in different areas and for recommendations of what should be grown. The Society has a Public Education Committee, Wayne Mezitt chairman, which is charged with doing exactly that, and they are now contacting the presidents of the chapters and asking them to start on this very important project. Dick Brooks and Ed Reiley have written a letter being sent to the chapter presidents asking for a list of proven performers, instructions for planting and after care and a list of places where plants can be bought in the area. Also enclosed is a sample "Chapter Rating System" to help develop the important characteristics of the selected plants. There can be very few issues that are as important to our Society as that of plant selection and successful growing. Education is the main purpose of our organization. We can hardly expect to attract new members to our group if we seem to promote a plant that cannot be raised successfully and which requires replacement every year or two because it has failed in the garden or landscape. I recognize that it is difficult to get the members to respond to requests for information, but this program is vital to the growth of the Society. Perhaps many of our own members will welcome information of this kind too and it will help many of us to improve our plantings and make the hobby more successful and pleasurable. Please help your chapter develop this data and send it to the committee by the requested date of November 1.