From the Executive Director
Synergism and the vital triangle: Consider: 1 + 1 + 1 = 5. To the mathematician it's an impossibility, but it's a scientific fact that if we combine certain elements, the result will be greater than the sum of the parts considered separately. This is the state of synergism. To the dietician and the drug addict, this is good news! So what does it have to do with rhododendrons?
We often speak of our mission - the dissemination of information and education about the genus Rhododendron, including the azaleas and vireyas. A mechanism for how to accomplish that mission in the most effective way possible is critical if we are to succeed. We know the mission, but do we know how to do the least amount of work to achieve the greatest amount of energy, or results? A simple example of synergism in our Society is our membership brochure and application. When our publicity chairman, Jerry Reynolds, developed our new membership brochure and application for the good of all of our chapters, the Society was able to purchase in large quantities, at a reduced price, and your chapter was spared the job of laying out artwork, designing the piece, creating text, bidding the job, and bearing the cost of the brochure. They're free to you, thanks to a gift from Jack and Ann Root. Our care guides have been a recent benefit to all chapters, brought about through synergism. The Public Education Committee, Wayne Mezitt and Ed Reiley, worked with all of you to document the Proven Performers for your area. Sonja Nelson compiled the work, and today we have a great gift to all who care to ask for it, all for the results of synergism. The care guides and hang tags offering public support are also free to us, thanks to a gift from the good people who care for Stanley Smith's estate. We are quickly seeing a need for a special vireya brochure to serve all of the warmer climates on the planet (the fat part of the globe). Vireya experts from Hawaii and other places are coming together to work on this project - synergism in action!
Three major components must now come together if the Society is to reach its fullest potential through synergism - the plant society, the public garden, and the professional nurseryman. This triangle of important parts not only complements its other parts; it offers the broadest opportunities possible for serving our members and the public.
President Reiley was quick to activate our Test and Display Gardens Committee, and Chairman Tom Schuetz is already hard at work. Gardens maintained or otherwise supported by chapters will start to receive greater recognition by the Society, and we've already started reading about your special public garden projects in the Journal. Many established gardens need our help to bring them up to date with new plant material, or to correct signage within the gardens. Public pleasure and botanical gardens everywhere need our stewardship to help them maintain their integrity. The gardens, in turn, should welcome our participation.
Now is the time for all of you growers and nurserymen to come out of the rhody woods and become Commercial Members of the Society. We are quickly moving toward a program which will recognize "rhododendrons and azaleas of the year." Member growers will know years in advance in order to prepare stock for these plants which will be in high demand. Without grower participation and cooperation to keep pace with exceptional new hybrids and their propagation, we will not be able to serve the public to the fullest. The Plant Awards Committee, spearheaded by Laura Kentala, will be working with Publicity to orchestrate press releases, posters, and other materials necessary to introduce the best we've got to the public. For the grower, that adds up to lots of free advertising. We currently offer a full page of advertising on our website to all Commercial Members - where else can you reach 12,000 people a month for $60/year. Discounts on advertising in the Journal and a special listing in the summer issue of the Journal are all included in Commercial Membership. All you need to do is renew at the Commercial level and contact me about your ad. If you need help, our webmaster, Bob Weissman, has offered to help you prepare your special ad - no charge. This is as good as it gets!
If you haven't renewed your membership, now is the time. Remember, too, that Sponsors have a choice between Sonja Nelson's Pacific Coast Rhododendron Story, and Livingston & West's Hybrids & Hybridizers (for Eastern North America). Both are hardbound, perfect additions to the Sponsor's library.