JARS v39n3 - State of the Society

State of the Society
Janet Binford, President
Tigard OR

Good evening to all of you. Tonight I wish to emphasize the people of "People, Plants and Places." You represent in this troubled world very, very special people in a most special organization, the American Rhododendron Society.

Let your garden be your intimate world of plants wherein you can find peace and beauty and a joyous sharing with others. With this sharing for you and for me I wish to thank four gentlemen who give of themselves from the depth of their integrity with loyalty to the ARS: Richard Brooks, August Kehr, Austin Kennell and Ted Van Veen. They sustain us with their kindness and understanding through difficult times.

This gathering brings us, too, in an unusual, if not unique situation. Seven past Presidents of the ARS are present: Ned Brockenbrough, J. Harold Clarke, Edward Dunn, Fred Galle, August Kehr, George Ring, and Robert Ticknor. May we give them due acclaim.

Now with some twenty-four standing committees I can note in part some of the ongoing services to members that make this such a worthwhile Society. Marthaann Mayer is developing the Pollen Bank each year to give it a wider range which steadily brings more rewards for the hybridizers. Mary Beasley as the new leader of the Azalea Committee is seeking ways to activate your obvious interest in azaleas on a national level. She welcomes your support and your ideas. Fred Galle with his much awaited book on azaleas soon to be published will act as a consultant, and Bill Johnson as a photographer will be making his contributions, too, along with Mike McCullough.

As always the focus of our year's progress centers on specific committees which provide the major impetus of the year's work. Dick Brooks has forged ahead with dedication and discernment in two areas: the Revision of the Bylaws Committee and the District Advisory Committee. The reports of the District Directors at our May 2nd Board meeting gave us a heartening insight into exciting activities that are going on in the districts with promise of many developments to come.

Frank West wears two hats well: Chairman of the Long Range Planning Committee, and the position of Director-at-large. We are indebted to him for his conception of a look-ahead view at what we may hope to achieve in the future. His welcome correspondence, which is considerable, keeps him in touch with many members here and overseas.

With the long-awaited publication of A CONTRIBUTION TO THE STANDARDIZATION OF COLOR NAMES FOR AMERICAN HORTICULTURE, the work begun by Kenneth L. Kelley and Robert D. Huse, Edited by Donald H. Voss and carried to completion by Diane Johnson, Publications Chairperson, we find a ready and very useful reference. Copies are available at the Convention.

The Endowment Committee, Joe Coleman, Chairman, is in the process of setting up guidelines for your giving which will include memorials (already has) donations for special occasions, etc. We have needed this program badly.

August Kehr with his outstanding guidance and knowledge has brought the Research Committee under the funding of the ARS Research Foundation into a new era of development in rhododendron and azalea research. Grants are being given now on different levels: individual, chapter, and college and university. To keep this tremendously worthwhile program going and becoming of even greater value to our Society we need to keep in mind that our financial support of the funding body - the ARS Research Foundation under Judson Brooks - is tremendously important.

The Seed Exchange work again has been carried on by Bill Tietjen with his usual verve to give it an even broader scope. Bill reports with the recommendation of the Board that these amounts be given from the Seed Exchange surplus monies to: $1,000 to the ARS Endowment Fund for specific memorials in the name of George Beasley, Lanny Pride, David A. Reeder, Dr. Henry R. Schroeder, Jr., Tony Shammarello, and Dr. Henry T. Skinner; $1,000 to the Cecil and Molly Smith Garden Endowment Fund; $1,000 to the ARS Research Foundation and $1,000 to the ARS Endowment fund.

The Western Hybrids and Hybridizers Committee with Ted Van Veen Chairman is taking on a new life and a broader view to include Pacific Rim countries, specifically now New Zealand, Australia, and Japan.

The International Rhododendron Union concept fostered by Ralph Sangster of Australia from its beginning in Edinburgh promises to become a reality in the not too distant future.

Would that I could name all the individual members who have served faithfully and well on the numerous committees. My many thanks to all of you.

The Honors Committee this year, Austin Kennell, Chairman, has proposed that two Silver Medals be awarded. With our customary practice will Ned Brockenbrough, Past President, please be brought forward by Bob McNulty and Robert Badger, District Director for District 2 by Mike Zimmerman.

At this point I wish to single out one man beloved by us all. Will Graham Smith, Pukeiti, N.Z. please bring Cecil Smith up to receive the Pioneer Achievement Award. The selection is made by a committee of three designated by our Policies with two overseas members: Hideo Suzuki, Japan and Graham Smith, N.Z. and your President.

In conclusion we have an Award of Gratitude to Fran and Ed Egan who have served us so diligently and well; Fran as Executive Secretary and Ed as Editor of the Journal.

Onward we go from here with our newly elected officers: William Tietjen, President; Western Vice President, Harold Greer; Eastern Vice President, Austin Kennell; Ted Van Veen, Treasurer; and Mrs. Dwight Cash (Paula), Executive Secretary. Also we have Mrs. Joe W. Jones (Adele) who will be our new Editor. Will they all stand please. I wish all of them and all of you a most promising New Year for the ARS.

In closing I wish to thank Bob and Marge Badger and their excellent committee for this Convention which is without a doubt one we shall long remember as outstanding.

Fare thee well. May you have no garden enemies but slugs and bugs, plant diseases, and winter and rough weather.

See you next year in Cleveland, Ohio with the Great Lakes Chapter.