C. I. Sersanous, President
In retrospect the year 1953 brought forth a great many accomplishments for the American Rhododendron Society. Our membership has increased from 645, as of May 1, 1952, to currently 821. This indicates a steady growth which is as it should be and while our goal of 1000 members was not reached in 1953. Your President asks for renewed efforts on the part of every one to attain this goal in 1954.
The Chapters have been furnished with a new and attractive membership application setting forth the aims and objectives of the A. R. S., together with a statement of what we have to offer to prospective members. Such invitations are therefore available through the Secretary of the local Chapter or through the Secretary's office of the National Organization at 3514 N. Russet Street, Portland, Oregon.
The directors held three meetings during the year, in which certain amendments to the revised By-Laws, previously published in the Quarterly Bulletin, were passed by resolution. The A. R. S. Gold Medal was awarded to Joseph Gable of Stewartstown, Pennsylvania for Meritorious Horticultural Achievement. It was voted to join the American Horticultural Council, Inc. A decision was made to publish a year book in 1954. The directors gave permission to the Portland Chapter to build a cool green house in the Crystal Springs Lake Test Garden, Eastmoreland, Portland.
A circulating Slide Library was voted by the directors, in which the Society agrees to pay for duplicate slides from members. The purpose of the resolution is to make available to Chapters these rhododendron and azalea slides on a basis of first come first served. There will be approximately 75 slides to start with this circulating slide library, which should be sufficient for a showing at any local Chapter. There will be a charge for postage, but no charges will be made for use of the slides.
No new Chapters came into being during 1953. However, the Wy'East Garden Club, of Welches, Oregon, affiliated with the A.R.S., dedicated a splendid rhododendron garden located at the Zig Zag Ranger Station, Mt. Hood National Forest, forty miles east of Portland. Approximately 265 plants, mostly of specimen size, have been planted in this mountain area having an elevation of 1425 feet. This is to be an effort to establish hybrid rhododendrons in a climate which is subjected to minus temperatures at times.
The Portland Chapter Test Garden made considerable progress during the year 1953. An article on this test garden appears elsewhere in this Bulletin. A notable improvement was made in the establishing of a splendid rock garden tot, the dwarf plants. Some 2000 rhododendrons and azaleas, practically all of specimen age, with approximately 300 varieties of hybrids and 125 species are now planted in this Test Garden.
It is planned to hold the 1954 Portland Rhododendron Show in this environment, which if plans contemplated work out satisfactorily, will run for 9 days starting Saturday before Mother's Day and continuing through the week to the following Sunday inclusive. It is estimated that 25,000 people attended the 1953 show.
Both Seattle and Portland Award Committees were quite active during the year and several most promising hybrids were awarded preliminary awards.
A number of good rhododendrons and azalea shows were held during the year. The California Chapter of the A.R.S. was awarded the Blue Ribbon for its exhibit at the Oakland Garden Show, April 30 to May 8. The Oakland Spring Flower Show is the show of shows for the State of California, and the California Chapter is to be congratulated for their splendid efforts.
The Mid-Atlantic Chapter of Richmond, Virginia on March 25 held a membership meeting on May 25, in which a showing of Dexter hybrids was made at the home of Earl Morse. Another meeting the same day was held at the home of Nathaniel Hess, Secretary of the New York Chapter, where some new and beautiful hybrid seedlings were shown.
Eugene, Oregon, Chapter had a membership picnic at the country home of Dr. Carl H. Phetteplace, where a splendid collection of rhododendrons, including a number of the famous Barto collection were viewed. Seattle, Tacoma, Portland, and Oakland all had public shows which had great public acceptance and attendance.
It is hoped that all of our Chapters will show publicly in the year 1954.
It has been a privilege and honor to have served you as your President for the past year.
May I extend to all my very best wishes for not only a Happy and Prosperous New Year, but for a year that will prove to be a year of great accomplishments for the enthusiasts of rhododendrons and azaleas.