Minutes of Meeting American Rhododendron Society, October 18, 1951, Portland, Oregon
Mrs. Ruth M. Hansen, Secretary
The meeting was called to order by President, Mr. C. I. Sersanous in the Auditorium of the Journal Building at 8:00 P.M. The minutes of the September meeting were not read as they had been published in the October Quarterly Bulletin.
The names of new members in the Portland area were then read and those present were asked to stand. Mr. William Murphy was the only new member present. The member coming from the greatest distance was Dr. J. Harold Clarke of Long Beach, Washington. Guests were then introduced.
An auction of eleven rhododendron plants followed which netted the Society $65.00. These plants were donated by The Rhododendron Nursery, Lindum Gardens, West Hill Nursery and P. J. Van Bruggen.
The speaker of the evening, Mr. Ray Leach of Gladstone, Oregon was then introduced. His subject was, "Blueberries as Companion Plants for Rhododendrons."
Mr. Leach began his talk with a short history of the high-bush blueberry, stating that it was brought under cultivation about 1910 in New Jersey. Since that time new varieties have been developed and many of the older hybrids have been discontinued.
Blueberry plants have a great ornamental value. Landscape men are using them a great deal for base plantings and hedge rows along driveways. Their exquisite fall colors range in shades of bronze to light pink, others from fiery red to clear yellow. There are about 40 varieties now in use so the landscape gardener can have his choice of fall colors. During the Winter the stems turn either a deep red color or a rich green depending upon the variety. In April large clusters of creamy white bell-shaped flowers make a most attractive planting. The waxy green foliage and the large clusters of blue fruit which ripens along in July make these plants desirable for every home as they serve the dual purpose of giving both ornamental value as well as taste appeal.
Blueberries grow best in a soil high in organic matter, well drained and aerated and with lots of moisture. The acidity of the soil has been over rated, the moisture content under rated. The use of mulch keeps an even moisture during the summer months. A six to seven inch layer of sawdust holds the moisture and keeps the roots cool.
As Blueberry plants are heavy feeders of nitrogen, sulphate of ammonia is absorbed readily by the plant. The organic types of nitrogen as blood meal, fish meal, oak leaves, etc., also serve as mulch. Pruning consists mainly of thinning out the fine twiggy growth as the plants reach their 5th to 6th year.
It is wise to plant more than one variety for best pollination. Blueberries do well in part shade though they will not produce maximum amount of fruit. They will grow best and yield heaviest in full sun. Fall planting is preferred as the rain will settle the soil and the plant has a better start for the following Spring.
Mr. Leach then showed slides of Blueberry plants in sawdust mulch, their root systems, nitrogen deficiency, some fall color and the brilliant red coloration of the bare stems.
Questions and answers followed the showing of the slides.
Dr. J. Harold Clarke then showed a number of slides which were taken at the 1948 Oakland Show, the 1950 Portland Show and many other rhododendron pictures.