Report To The A.R.S. by Portland Chapter
During the past year of 1954 the Portland Chapter has been exceedingly busy with its many activities. Beginning with April we put an Exhibit of Rhododendrons in the large Multnomah County Spring Flower Show on behalf of the A.R.S. A booth was also maintained where books were sold, questions answered and memberships solicited for the A.R.S.
This year the Chapter will continue its efforts on behalf of our National Organization as this Spring Show is the only comprehensive Flower Show held in the Portland area. Again, as usual it comes just two weeks before our own Chapter Show, so it does mean extra work for our group.
During the month of May our Chapter held a 9-day Rhododendron Show in the Test Garden, Crystal Springs Lake, and we believe that this is the longest single plant society show ever held in the world. A competitive show for Cut Trusses, Garden Club Flower Arrangements and Nursery Exhibits was held for the first two days. During the ensuing week the cut blooms were constantly replenished; this in itself was a stupendous task. The second weekend another complete cut truss exhibition, larger than the first and with a greater variety of blooms, filled the tent. This ambitious type of Rhododendron show is a novelty in itself due to the fact that only the Cut blooms and Flower Arrangements were under the protection of a tent while all the Commercial Exhibits were arranged outside along the paths of the Test Garden in and among the natural settings. The plants thus displayed have great advantages as the growers can dig them into the ground, if they wish, thereby assuring them of maintaining a fresher quality of material for a longer period of time. This 9-day Show, as all in the past, was held free to all visitors, though we did have two contribution boxes for the benefit of the Exhibition-Greenhouse Fund.
The Test Garden, being a function of the National Society is being developed entirely by the arduous efforts of the Portland Chapter. Those of you who have visited this Island and have seen the concentrated number of plants growing in a natural setting beneath the tall Douglas Firs and Western Red Cedar, all realize the tremendous amount of work it has taken to develop this Test area. As the Test Garden itself is now set for nature to take over and continue the growing process, we have expanded our efforts to planting an adjoining peninsula which is designated as our expansion area though it is in reality the front door to the Test Garden. So far there has been little accomplished with this new development; however between now and Show time there will be great activity to make this peninsula an attractive entrance to the Test Garden. As stated in previous Bulletins, all planting is done by members of the Portland Chapter, Saturday morning being usually set aside for volunteers to work on the Island. Furthermore the majority of plants now seen and admired by visitors have been donated by members of our Chapter. A comprehensive listing of all the plants in the Test Garden, both hybrids and species is now underway. This will be printed in booklet form with a break down as to the monthly blooming dates. We hope to have this information available by Show time.
At present our every effort is extended towards raising enough funds for the construction of our proposed Exhibition house which is to serve the dual purpose of a Cool-house for our large collection of tender varieties of rhododendrons. We have been working on this project now for one year and had hopes of raising the funds by this Show time, but at present we are still short of our goal.
The Portland Chapter has been very active in fostering the new Rhododendron Book for the Society. The committee has met regularly to check over the material and have worked hard in compiling the information. We all feel that this coming book will be of great value and service to every rhododendron enthusiast.
The Portland Chapter boasts a membership of 244 paid members. Of this number we have 8 Life Members and 1 Sustaining member. We hold 7 meetings a year, September through November and February through May. The May meeting is the Annual meeting for both the Chapter and the A.R.S. At this time the Annual financial report, as audited by Certified Public Accountants is briefly read and later published in full in the July Quarterly Bulletin. We are now looking forward to 1955 as another year full of momentous activity for our Chapter.