From the Executive Director
Dues are due. Help the Society and upgrade to a higher membership level. Upgrades to Sponsor Membership category receive a free autographed copy of Sonia Nelson's new book, Rhododendrons in the Landscape. Dues have not increased in four years.
Remember a donation to the General Fund. They all add up. This year's chapter and individual donations to the General Fund came to more than $11,000. Good job!
In the fall of 1998 I wrote about the dream of seeing rhododendrons in the marketplace, carrying information about how to learn more about us. By the fall of 1999 our benefactors, the Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust, had decided to fund this enormous project, as well as the publication of our new Planting and Care Guide. The project got underway in January, with barely enough time to enjoy these trappings during the spring of 2000. It was such an enormous success, we're hoping for new funding for 2001. Member growers are encouraged to contact OARS if you would like to receive free hang tags in early February. Let me know how many you can use. Don't be shy.
Thanks again to our good friends and Life Members Jack and Ann Root who have funded our first-ever major advertising campaign for 2001. Look for our ads in Fine Gardening, Horticulture, and Sunset throughout 2001. Once again we are encouraging the public to learn more about us and to offer public education. Our Planting and Care Guide and very handsome membership brochure, also a gift from the Roots, are sent to everyone seeking information.
There are other surprises in store for 2001, thanks to generous donations coming our way. If you recognize a project worthy of funding, don't be shy. Contact OARS for possible granting opportunities. Giving truly is more blessed than receiving. Our wonderful bequest from deceased life member John Swisher came about because he had found great joy in his love of vireyas.
Our new Swedish Chapter is full of energy as they launch a membership campaign this fall. Chapter organizer Borje Malmgren and OARS exchanged some fascinating faxes while trying to get new chapter bylaws translated into English—yumpin' yimminy! A good humor was behind the successful completion of all necessary paperwork, and we wish them well.
While most of the news is good, it is with regret that we say good-bye to our Great Rivers Chapter. J. Patrick Tatum has been struggling to keep the chapter alive for many years. Without members willing to come forward and serve on the board, the chapter could no longer survive. In Patrick's last letter to the membership, he says, "Gardeners are the finest group of people I have ever met." He also notes that the chapter had been unable to attract young people.
And thank you Cowichan Valley Chapter for taking us to Vancouver Island for the Western Regional Conference. The entire island appears to be one giant garden. Beautiful autumn weather made it a great time to explore this area, with its diverse flora of native ericaceous plants.
The spring ARS Board of Directors meeting will be held Wednesday, April 25, 2001, at the Annual Convention in Eugene, Oregon.