JARS v48n4 - An ARS Retrospective: Our Second Decade, July 1954-July 1964, Part III

An ARS Retrospective: Our Second Decade, July 1954-July 1964, Part III
Franklin H. West
Narberth, Pennsylvania

Following is the third of a six-part series on the history of the American Rhododendron Society, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 1995.

In his annual report to the membership, President C. I. Sersanous said early in 1955: Ten years have brought forth a great many accomplishments, starting from a local entity to now a full fledged national organization, the highlight being the formation of seven chapters to further the interest in the genus Rhododendron on a local level, creating opportunity for meetings, shows, and (discussion of) anything and everything pertaining to rhododendrons. Our membership has increased from 821 to 914 currently. I sincerely hope our goal of 1,000 members for 1954 will be reached in 1955. Our financial position continues to improve and is wholly owned by the membership. Our total assets amount to $9,706.33. (1955, p. 22)

The following selections from the Quarterly Bulletin reflect the diverse energies, activities and interests of the membership in our second decade: Ben Lancaster, in an article “About Selecting Seedlings”:

Selection begins when the plants are in their third or fourth year. (Any showing unfavorable tendencies had been discarded before this.) Selection is made for excellence of foliage, habit of growth, vigor, dwarf character or whatever ideal we are striving for: colors of bloom must be clear and definite, two or more colors are acceptable if they blend well. Little things like leaf persistence, color and texture and general growth habits are deciding factors in choosing. We just prefer beautiful blooms on beautiful plants. (1954, pp. 158-160)

Among the new members for 1954 were: Edgar L. Greer, Joseph F. Rock, Leslie Hancock, W. L. Tolstead, Edwin Beinecke, John Schamenek, Radcliffe Pike, E. M. H. Cox, H. L. Larson, Walter Kern, Matthew Nosal, David Wagner, and K. E. Duncan.

Among the plant awards given in 1954 was R. 'Anna Rose Whitney' P.A. by W. E. Whitney ( R. griersonianum x 'Countess of Derby').

An invitation from Frank Kingdon-Ward to garden lovers to take up shares in his expedition to Mt. Saramati, Burma, in return for a proportionate share of seed collected. "Individual subscriptions of less than £100 cannot be accepted..." (1954, p.208)

E. H. M. Cox of Perth, Scotland, spoke to the Seattle Chapter on Oct. 18. He came as an "apostle of the species" rather than of the hybrids. In his opinion some people spend too much time, space and money growing hybrids, while the Scots, with less space and money, spent more time on first quality species. (1954, p. 7)

The Portland Chapter held a nine-day show, the largest single plant society show ever held in the world - the competitive portion was held for the first two days. Cut blooms were replenished constantly during the week and the second weekend another complete cut truss exhibition, with a greater variety of blooms, filled the tent. (1954, p. 14)

R. 'Cynthia' on April 1955 cover. The 45-year-old specimen was one of the first to be planted in the trial garden: originated by Standish and Noble, introduced at the 1900 World's Fair at San Francisco, parentage unknown. 1

Among the new members for 1955 were: Norvell Gillespie, Clive Justice, Emil Vandermeulin, Mrs. Clarence Bledsoe, Mrs. Prentice Bloedel, Mrs. Lawrence Peirce, Arthur A. Wright, Emil F. Hagar, Dr. Ernest H. Yelton, Carl Luenenschloss, and B. Pecherer.

Vancouver, B.C. Chapter, D. Muirhead, president, was approved by the Board on March 16,1955, our eighth chapter, the first on an international basis. (1955, p. 70)

Reprint of R. E. Cooper's "Occurrence of Rhododendron Species in Bhutan" including detailed tabulation of which species were found at various altitudes and according to compass orientation. I. B. Balfour's letter discusses Cooper's collection and identifies two new species. (1955, pp. 90-108)

Grays Harbor Chapter organizes April 5, 1955. Marvin Hansen, president. The ninth chapter in the ARS, the Portland Chapter, was organized effective July 1, 1955. (It had been counted as a chapter since May 1952.) The national membership exceeds 1,100 and total assets $12,230. (1955, p. 142)

Among award winning rhododendrons for 1955: 'Snow Lady' P.A. ( R. leucaspis x R. ciliatum ) from Edmund de Rothschild; 'Bacher's Gold' P. A. ('Unknown Warrior' x 'Fabia') by John Bacher; and 'Lake Labish' ('Lady Bligh' x 'Loderi Venus') by Rudolph Henny.

In "Better Than Expected" David Leach reports his finding of certain species in English collections "which are really not well known, that deserve a prominence which they do not now enjoy." He praises R. hylaeum , R. planetum 2 , R. fulvum , R. eclecteum , R. glischroides 3 , R. uvariifolium , R. tsariense , R. vellereum 4 , R. aperantum , R. desquamatum , 5 and R. bauhiniiflorum . 6 He gives two examples of the fluid merging of forms within a species and adds: There are innumerable similar cases between species. I am convinced that there are literally scores of natural hybrids presently enjoying distinction as species. Yet the plant explorers stoutly maintain that they have never seen a wild hybrid in Asia. The progeny of natural crosses between two species occurs in hybrid swarms and (are mistaken for new species). Dr. Henry Skinner, Fred Galle and others have proved beyond doubt the abundant presence in nature of hybrids among our native azalea species. Classification is at best a sorry compromise with reality in many cases...we are dealing with the plastic and dynamic...our conception of rhododendron species should fit the facts as they are. (1955, pp. 188-198)

Planning meeting for the New Jersey Chapter was held April 20, 1955 in Guy Nearing's home area. This chapter is formed on Oct. 19,1955, the tenth in the ARS family; B. Pecherer, president.

The inventory of plants in the ARS test garden (1956, pp. 99-106) includes 300 varieties of hybrid rhododendrons, numerous azaleas and close to 250 species of the genus, over 2,500 plants. In the "Exhibition-cool house Story," Ruth Hansen described how this new addition came to be at the test garden - "A steel frame Quonset hut covered with corrugated plastic costing $6,250; a 17-foot porch on each side will serve for exhibition and shows until we can afford to enclose it with glass or plastic." (1956, p. 145-149)

First A.E. granted to a compact dwarf form of R. degronianum , from Mrs. A. C. U. Berry. The second A. E. was given to R. 'Mrs. A. F. McEwan', a Loderi hybrid seedling.

A fine bibliography of the earlier rhododendron literature by J. Harold Clarke.(1956,pp. 163-168) Cecil Smith's article " R. williamsianum and Some of Its Hybrids" (1956, p. 181): "To this date, williamsianum is the parent of the best group of dwarf hybrids that we have for the Northwest climate," Cecil stated.

Identification of Joseph Rock's 1950 expedition seed numbers by R.B.C. botanists. (1956, pp. 204-212)

Among the new members in 1956 were James P. Beury, Jr., J. Clarke, Wm. H. Frederick, Jr., Henry F. Dupont, Frank L. Doleshy, C. B. VanNes, Wm. Effinger, Jr., and Henry R. Fuller. President Sersanous' report for 1956 mentions our membership of 1,150. The cost of exhibition cool house was in excess of $10,000, raised by donations and show proceeds. He visited the new Tacoma rhododendron garden in Point Defiance Park during the year.

Warren Baldsiefen in his "Let's Keep the Facts Straight" praises Guy Nearing's propagating frame, perfected in Arden, Del., in 1928. "Nearing was the first successful commercial propagator of Catawba hybrids from cuttings. In over 10 years, involving 75,000 rooted cuttings we experienced first winter losses of only 1.1 to 1.0%." In "More About Rhododendron Cuttings," Guy Nearing explains why grafted plants outgrow cuttings until the fourth year, when the cutting normally surpasses the graft: cuttings lack a crown, where the graft already has a crown. Forming the crown "is a major task, requiring a great deal of energy just at a time when the plant is handicapped by the fact that the crown is not there. Let the newly rooted cutting rest and take its own time." (1957, pp. 36-39)

In Rhododendrons 1956 , David Leach, after stating that it takes 28 to 30 years before the breeder can see the product of his project ready for general distribution, gave his opinion that "R. yakushimanum has thus far been a great disappointment as a parent," and presented a list of 71 American rhododendron breeders. (1956, pp. 94-126)

Among the new members for 1957 were: Dr. Clarence Bledsoe, C. W. Fenninger, F. W. Schumacher, A. D. Childers, A. W. Kraxberger, Ted I. Sorensen, Fred J. Nisbet, R. E. Comerford, Lawrence T. Blaney, Lewis S. Rathbun, F. M. Kluis, Robert Ticknor, Alfred Raustein, H. R. Yates, and Dietrich Hobbie.

In "Nature Can Protect Small Seedlings," Guy Nearing reports: There is more than just chance in the relation between mosses and rhododendrons. As soon as my seed pots show a green tint on the surface, these are moss protonema, which protect seedlings from the dread damping off. There are half dozen species of moss which will develop under my conditions; the larger kinds are too vigorous and tend to smother young plants; (these) I pull out as soon as they appear. (1957, pp. 197-199)

Cover of October 1957 Bulletin: R. lacteum . "Young plants are difficult to handle; this plant was grafted on R. ponticum . It cannot be excelled in foliage or flower," said Del and Ray James.

In the president's last report in January 1958: We have gained from 1,150 paid members to 1,300 as of December 1957, which is very gratifying. We gained another chapter, which will be known as the Southeastern Chapter, becoming the eleventh member chapter. We hope to welcome Philadelphia, Penn., as another new chapter, the twelfth chapter of the ARS. (Philadelphia formed on Nov. 11,1957, at Morris Arboretum.)

Paul Vossberg's article "More on Dexter Hybrids" reports on their hardiness, and mentions three named clones: 'Mrs. Henry B. Gardner'*, a red from Halesite, Long Island; 'Mrs. W. R. Coe', purchased by the Coe estate; and 'Scintillation' named by Vossberg. (1958, pp. 11-13)

To Endre Ostbo Oct. 2, 1957: "A Gold Medal for meritorious horticultural achievement, in appreciation of the highest esteem held by all (who have known him). Through the years he has ably done so much for the genus." (1957, p. 30). On Feb. 26, 1958, the Society's Gold Medal was given to Guy Nearing in New York, with words of praise from Joseph Gable, Paul Vossberg, John Wister, Clement Bowers and David Leach. (1958, p.71)

Charter granted to Indianapolis Chapter April 1958 (number13!).

Alleyne R. Cook discussed three distinctive forms of R. 'Elizabeth' ( R. repens 7 x R. griersonianum )and praised the F.C.C. form from Wisley. (1958, pp. 64-67) John C. Wister's "The Present Status of the Dexter Rhododendron" (1958, p. 68) begins: I will start with the only real facts. There is a place called Sandwich. There was a man named Dexter. He did produce seedlings in great quantities. No one actually knows what the crosses were, or how good they are. The committee visited 19 collections of Dexter and labeled and described one-half to two dozen outstanding clones at each garden. More than 100 clones are being studied at four different locations. The best dozen or two will be named.

Wister continued: In the meantime we are faced with the situation that an untold number of thousands of Dexter seedlings are in (other) hands and will be propagated and sold in good faith as Dexter hybrids...the vast majority will be quite ordinary. It will take another 10 years before (our named clones) can be (widely) distributed. (1958, pp. 68-70)

Frederick P. Lee, reacting to David Leach's (January 1958) comments on wild hybrids of native azaleas being "so inadequately studied by botanists and seemingly shunned," presents work by Wendall Camp (1938), E. Lucy Braun (1941), and Henry T. Skinner who published in the Morris Arboretum Bulletin in 1955 accounts of his studies and conclusions with respect to these species and their hybrids. Dr. Hui Lin Li of the same arboretum published studies of the species and intergrades and their chromosome counts in the American Journal of Botany , 1957.

1958 brought the unexpected deaths of two major figures in the Society. Endre Ostbo died on May 16 after judging the Seattle show. He was a charter member of the Society, Gold Medal recipient and leading hybridist. C. I. Sersanous died in early July, after almost 10 years as president of the ARS. He worked tirelessly in establishing the Crystal Springs test garden (and lived only two blocks away). He received the Society's first Gold Medal and was a major contributor to the garden's fund. "He led the Society through its best years," J. Harold Clarke said.

'Mrs. E. C. Sterling' won best truss in the 14th Annual Portland Chapter Show, and at Tacoma 'Betty Wormald' won the same honor. Among the new members for 1958: Milton V. Walker, M.D., E. A. Skonieczny, Roy R. Clark, Gordon E. Jones, Carmine Ragonese, Paul Sleezer, T. Coleman Andrews, Mrs. Chas. D. Owen, James Bush-Brown, Wm. E. Hubbard, Mary O. Milton, Gertrude M. Smith, Henry Dumper, A. S. Martin, James F. Nelson, and W. J. Germain.

Guy Nearing in "A Defense of Rhododendron catawbiense" calls it the toughest of all big leaved rhododendrons, given no awards, no stars, no honors, not even any courtesies by most of those who write on the subject." (1958,pp. 135-139) Frank Doleshy in his article "A New Guinea Rhododendron" describes the first of many hoped for New Guinea introductions. "Botanists are going to have their problems with these rhododendrons." (1958, pp. 179-180)

David Leach's "The Recreation of a Species": R. furbishii 8 was described by Lemmon in Bartonia 1950; the plants were discovered at Neel Gap, Ga., in 1934. Suspecting that they were early generation hybrids between R. arborescens and R. bakeri , Leach says, "I crossed bakeri with arborescens in an effort to duplicate furbishii . The (cover) picture is furbishii , but not as it is found in the wild. It is the same species, recreated synthetically to demonstrate it is not a valid species at all!" (1958, pp. 188-191)

Chas. A. Dewey's "Experience with Rhododendrons in Southern Red Clay": My method of planting, which I am sure is not original with me, is to plant the rhododendrons on the ground rather than in it." (and surround the root balls with a humus-soil-sand mixture). (1958, pp. 194-197)

Rhododendron yakushimanum received its first featured article by Maurice Sumner: If you could grow but a single rhododendron, which would it be? After viewing a great many rhododendrons in English gardens, I find it fairly easy to select one above all the others. That one is R. yakushimanum . The finest specimen (I have seen) was a three-foot plant just breaking into bloom at the R.H.S. gardens at Wisley, growing with other members of the Ponticum series. The delicate tints of its flowers held so proudly are those to stir a poet's heart or inspire an artist's hand. (1958, pp. 205-206) He went back to see it three times. Alleyne Cook provided "some additional notes on R. yakushimanum " (1959, pp. 15-17) from the R.H.S. Journal article by J. M. Cowan, in 1947: Mr. de Rothschild obtained the first plant from the late M. N. Wada of the Hakoneya Nurseries in Numazushi, Japan. The first R. yakushimanum had only four small leaves when received; grown under glass, later planted in a small rock garden on the north side of the Rhododendron House at Exbury. It is now 2 feet high and about 3 feet through. The Wisley plant is a layer from the original introduction. It is a native of Yakushima Island, south of Kyushu, and named by the Japanese botanist Nakai who described it in the Tokyo Botanical Magazine in 1921.

J. Harold Clarke, in his first President's Report in 1959, eulogized Sersanous, Ostbo and Prentice. "Membership has increased to over 1,400, we have welcomed three new chapters, 14 in all, but we are still small. A successful year is due to the combined efforts of a host of people." (1959, pp. 18-19) Olympic Peninsula Chapter, approved Nov. 23, 1958, our fifteenth chapter, headquartered in Port Townsend, was headed by William Glenn, president.

Board approves J. Harold Clarke's proposal of an International Rhododendron Conference in Portland in May 1961. (1959, p. 77) In response to Frank Doleshy about New Guinea rhododendron taxonomy, J. S. Wormersley reports: "H. Sleumer at Leiden has been revising the Ericaceae for the Flora Malesiana, soon to be published. There will be some 200 well defined species from the New Guinea mainland." (1959, p. 94)

Mid Jersey Chapter being formed. (1959, p. 101) Five members were listed (p. 163), but the chapter was rarely heard from again. They lacked a critical mass? In 1959 our officers were J. Harold Clarke, president; E. B. Dunn, vice-president; Ruth M. Hansen, secretary-treasurer; J. H. Clarke, yearbook editor; Rudolph Henny, editor; the Board: R. M. Bovee, Dr. C. Phetteplace, H. Slonecker, W. Wood, J. M. Bates, Dr. A. Lindren, C. Smith, C. T. Hansen, J. Henny, D. K. McClure, G. Grace, C. Fawcett, plus the 17 chapter presidents who were regional directors.

David Leach in "Native Eastern Azaleas" provides an easy way to keep them in mind by classifying them in color and seasonal groups: the early whites ( alabamense, atlanticum ) the early midseason pinks ( canescens , nudiflorum , 9 roseum ) the red-yellow-orange group ( austrinum , speciosum , 10 calendulaceum , bakeri , prunifolium ), and late whites ( arborescens , viscosum , oblongifolium , and serrulatum ). (1959, pp. 140-145)

Great Lakes Chapter is formed on April 29, 1959, with David Leach, president, Noel Farr, vice-president, and O. S. Pride, secretary-treasurer. They boast 60 members at the start. Board approved June 28, 1959.

Among new members in 1959: Mrs. Robert Berry, Robert O. Hungerford, Roy J. Kersey, Ross Davis, Alec C. Marchbank, Mrs. William S. Paley, John C. Cowles, Walter Daggett, Frank D. Mossman, M.D., John P. Evans, M.D., Warren Stokes, and John Ravenstein.

A. F. Serbin, M.D., describes his interesting trip to see R. yakushimanum and its home, Yakushima. He opined: "The species to date by far excels in beauty any of its hybrids." (1960, pp. 9-15)

Carl H. Phetteplace, M.D., wrote a fine biographic study of James Barto. (April 1960, pp. 67-73, and June 1960, pp. 147-153) California's Francis W. Mosher, Jr.'s, provocative "Opinion of Dutch and English Hybrid Rhododendrons”: I still like my rhododendrons "big and red" with high trusses. To the Dutch hybridists go most of the credit. A few stand-outs: R. 'The Honourable Jean Marie de Montague', R. 'Britannia', R. 'Earl of Athlone', R. 'Scandinavia', R. 'Langley Park', R. 'Hollandia', R. 'Borde Hill', R. 'Kluis Sensation', R. 'J. H. Van Nes' and R. 'Peter Koster'. (1960, pp. 44-45)

'Rhododendron 'Cotton Candy' judged Best in Show at Portland's 16th annual. New members in 1960 included: Sylvester Hubbard, Anthony Consolini, Merle Cisney, Elizabeth McClintock, Fred W. Coe, M.D., Philip A. Livingston, Mr. and Mrs. William Guttormsen, Jan deGraff, Forrest E. Bump, M.D., Mrs. Leon Heuser, and Gustave E. Landt.

Cover picture of R. yakushimanum , April 1961. The ARS lost one of the most distinguished plant pioneers of the Northwest, when John G. Bacher died Jan. 19, 1961. He was one of our founding members, and chaired the test garden committee for its first five years. The entrance garden at the ARS National Test Garden is developed and named the Jane R. Martin Entrance Garden in memory of A. S. Martin's late wife. Martin said, "I am overjoyed to find a project that will bring me such complete satisfaction and sense of creative pleasure." (May 11, 1961, p. 147). Ruth Hansen said, "We began to visualize this area planted to big-leaved rhododendron species." (1961, p. 143)

Two Gold Medals were awarded at the International Rhododendron Conference: to George Grace, first secretary of the ARS, and to Del James, pioneer rhododendron collector and breeder. Grace contributed to the history of the ARS in two articles in 1961 (pp. 67 -73 and 175-180). James was a major influence in the development of Eugene Rhododendron Garden at Hendricks Park.

Our seventeenth chapter, Shelton, organized March 21, 1961; president, Mrs. S. W. VanderWegen.

"What can East Coast growers do to extend their season by producing more and finer April blooming varieties, and many more, much finer kinds that bloom from mid-June to mid-July or later?" asked John Wister who was busy doing just that. (1961, pp. 213-215)

An impressively detailed survey of the Best Rhododendrons and Azaleas in the Great Lakes Region. (1961, pp. 226-233) David Leach declares in "Not to be Mythed": It is not a matter of indifference which parent in a cross bears the seeds. The mathematical odds favor a predominant influence of the female parent. If a choice can be made between two parents, the plant with the majority of good characteristics might well be chosen to bear the seeds. (1961, pp. 250-253)

Among the new members in 1961: Mr. and Mrs. Fred V. Cummings, Frances H. Sholomskas, G. A. Arrington, J. Judson Brooks, Robert D. Gartrell, C. Gordon Tyrrell, Mrs. Thomas Binford, Mr. and Mrs. Harold R. Johnson, Louis Politi, Mr. and Mrs. Ben Briggs, Ralph VanLandingham, Wells Knierim, and Lloyd E. Partain.

President Clarke's yearly report (Jan. 1962, pp. 20-21): Total membership 1,754, our 17 chapters almost evenly divided, nine west and eight east. The western chapters have 932 members, eastern members total 678, the rest are non-chapter. The highlight was the successful International Rhododendron Conference held in Portland.

Announcement of the annual meeting in the East at Winterthur, Del. Articles by C. Gordon Tyrrell and Henry F. DuPont describe the gardens at Winterthur in the January 1962 Quarterly Bulletin. P. H. Brydon describes the proposed Rhododendron Garden at Strybing Arboretum in Golden Gate Park. (1962, pp. 37-41) Milton V. Walker, M.D., discusses the beginning of the ARS species project - a pilot study to find the best forms of 10 species. (1962, pp. 93-95)

In early 1962 two new chapters joined the ARS: Midwest Chapter, Dale McCurdy, president, and Tappan Zee Chapter, Henry Fleming, president, became number 18 and 19.

A basic cultural tenant was challenged by Alleyne R. Cook in "Liming Rhododendrons" (1962, p. 101): "It is quite likely that the acidity of the soil had increased until the elements needed for growth were not becoming available; the resultant increase in growth after the lime was put on was caused by release of these elements." This provoked much discussion in subsequent issues.

The 18th Annual Meeting of the ARS at Winterthur, Del., was the result of Henry F. DuPont's proposal to the president of the Middle Atlantic Chapter, Dr. Tom Wheeldon. Seven chapters contributed to the planning (summary report on pp. 159-163). A Gold Medal was given to John Wister. Three hundred twenty-one attended from 16 chapters.

In the 1962 Plant Registry were R. 'Betty Hume' (Dexter), R. 'Cream Crest' ( R. chryseum 11 x R. 'Cilpinense') and 'Riplet' PA. ( R. forrestii repens 7 x 'Letty Edwards').

Best truss in Eugene Show May 6, 1962, was 'Blue Peter'. The cover in October 1962 was of R. 'Bow Bells ( R. 'Corona' x R. williamsianum ).

On Sept. 9, 1962, the directors of the ARS accepted two more new chapters for a total of 21 :Olympia, Mrs. F. G. Kearns, secretary, and Princeton, Leon Heuser, president. Among the new members in 1962 were: Gustav A. L. Mehlquist, John Boeggeman, Elmer Lapsley, J. Franklin Styer, Mr. and Mrs. Jonathan Benjamin, Edward Marshall Boehm, and Dr. Donald S. Pierce. The first woman recipient of the Gold Medal was Mrs. A. C. U. Berry "for her devotion to the cultivation of the species and her unfailing support of our Society." Oct. 18, 1962.

Alvin K. Chock presented a biography of Joseph F. Rock including a bibliography of his publications (1963, pp. 67-72, pp. 131-137). Rock had died on Dec. 5, 1962, in Hawaii.

In 1963 two Gold Medals were presented in New York on May 26 to Clement G. Bowers and Paul Vossberg, "honoring two elder statesmen in the world of rhododendron pioneers who made the path so much easier for the rest of us," said David Leach. On May 11, at Seattle, a third Gold Medal was presented to Halfdan Lem, "for those years which you have given to rhododendron culture and improvement."

ARS Editor Rudolph Henny died June 3, 1963, a few months after he has asked R. M. Overstreet, M.D., to write of the work of the late Delbert W. James, who had died Jan. 9. Del James had formed the "Men's Committee on Rhododendron Society" in Eugene a few years before the 1944 start-up of the ARS. Del was an avid hybridizer, and Gold Medal recipient. The death of Rudolph Henny, our first editor, was a stunning blow to his friends and the Society. A founding member and editor of the Quarterly Bulletin almost from its inception, he was also a breeder with 80 named varieties to his credit. He had flowered over 30,000 seedlings, selected 300 and destroyed the rest, according to H. R. Fletcher, keeper of the R.B.G. Edinburgh.

Word from Gustav A. L. Mehlquist revealed the planning of a rhododendron group in Connecticut, our twenty-second chapter. "Talk about a useful hobby with a long-time challenge, this would be hard to beat: this business of finding superior forms of the species could go on almost indefinitely," said J. H. Clarke in commenting on M. V. Walker's Species Project Reports. (1963, pp. 150-154)

Among the new members for 1963 were Mr. and Mrs. Howard Phipps, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Bagoly, Jonathan Shaw, Dr. Laura Barnes, David W. Goheen, Warren E. Berg, Mr. and Mrs. Bill Nelson, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Badger, John G. Lofthouse, Mrs. Raymond Jefferis, Dr. Richard H. Washburn, and Arthur Hadley Osborne.

Listed in the Plant Registry for 1963 were 'Kimberly, PA. ( R. williamsianum x R. fortunei ) by Harold Greer and 'Starlet', P.A. ('Diva' x R. williamsianum ) raised by Halfdan Lem and introduced by C. P. Fawcett.

The proposal of a seed exchange evoked much discussion on how it should be conducted: pricing, purpose, who gets first preference, who donates to it, whether open-pollinated, or hand-pollinated, etc. (Molly Grothaus, 1963, pp. 164-165; David Leach, 1963, pp. 30-31; Gordon Emerson, 1963, pp. 97-98; and J. A. Witt, 1963, pp. 111 -112). Finally Esther Berry announced that the exchange would begin receiving seeds in 1963, limited to seed of species, to be sold at a charge of 50 cents a packet. (1963, p. 113)

David Leach closes the debate on liming rhododendrons with "Those Lime House Blues": It would be prudent to think twice about reducing the acidity of any soil if it tests pH 4.5 or above. Recent research at Michigan State by W. J. Haney suggests it is the carbonate rather than the calcium which is injurious to rhododendrons. Between pH 5 and pH 10.0 carbonates pick up a hydrogen ion and become bicarbonates (which) are a specific enzyme poison toxic to rhododendrons. If an actual calcium deficiency exists, it is much safer to remedy it with gypsum. There are (sporadic, exceptional) circumstances (excessively acid soil) in which limestone can be used to advantage on rhododendrons. (1963, pp. 92-95)

In "Dwarf Rhododendrons at Media, Pa." Virginia Jefferis reports that her dwarf varieties were evenly divided between lepidotes and elepidotes: A few general truths about their culture: almost all of them are plants native to high elevations. Sharp drainage and an airy medium are vital—raising the beds and using large quantities of sand are two essentials. Somewhat less important is keeping them cool during our hot summers—shade is one way, providing air circulation is another; they benefit from sprinkling (or misting) during hot dry spells. Included was an annotated list of 96 varieties in her garden. (1963, pp. 9-17)

In Frank Doleshy's perceptive study of a native population of R. macrophyllum he observed the plant's preference for growing on gravel and old logs, with direct exposure to the sky seemingly critical. He postulates their water supply came from dew, plus water vapor flowing up thru the gravel condensing just below the surface when nighttime cooling occurs: it might explain the healthy little seedlings on open gravel surfaces. Gravel and old logs drain well, have a stable surface, and do not favor lush weeds or grasses to crowd out seedling shrubs. (1963, pp. 3-8)

Reacting to the death of the editor, the Board made the following changes in the leadership of the ARS on Oct. 6, 1963. A new office of Executive Vice-President, a part-time employee, was created. He would edit the Quarterly Bulletin and any other publications; serve as registrar, handle the details of the secretary's office, act as general business manager, build up the membership and promote the Society. It was offered (to the man already doing some of them) Dr. J. Harold Clarke, who accepted. He then resigned as president and Edward B. Dunn, the vice-president, automatically came into office. "Some time in the future full-time employees will be needed. In view of these changes the Board recommended that the dues be raised to $7.50 a year, with $1.50 going to the chapter, as at present." (1963, pp. 216-217) At the Dec. 8 meeting of the Board, Dr. Carl Phetteplace of Eugene, Ore., was unanimously elected vice-president to fill out the term of Edward Dunn. There were now 2,500 members and 21 chapters.

Milton Walker, chair of the Species Project, visited Windsor Great Park in summer 1963, where he saw the famous Stevenson collection of rhododendron species plants - 460 species represented by over 2,000 clonal forms. Dr. Walker was struck by the thought his committee could work for years and not find a fraction as many good forms as were already growing in this one collection. "If material from all these forms at Windsor Park, as well as from Edinburgh could be sent to the U.S., it would represent the greatest possible step in making available rhododendron species to American breeders and gardeners," J. Harold Clarke reported. (1964, pp. 83-86)

In a landmark research report from the Washington Experiment Station at Puyallup, Arthur Myhre and W. P. Mortensen report on the effect of phosphorus on rhododendron flower bud formation: It is evident that phosphorus plays an important role in flower bud initiation in the clone, 'Cynthia'. Poor flower bud formation is highly related to inadequate phosphorus fertilization. Heavy initial applications with soil incorporation were superior to light annual surface applications. Timing of annual treatments was important, with April application superior to June. (1964, pp. 66-71)

In a voting response by less than 10 percent of the membership, an extensive list of by-laws revisions was turned down. (1964, p. 77) A key item in the negative vote may have been the proposal to raise dues, which was a power given to the governing body in the proposed revisions (1964, pp. 18-28). The amount of increase was $2.50 (as reported 1963, p. 217). Apparently only those who were pinched by this proposal bothered to vote!

At our 20th anniversary this Society was led by: Edward B. Dunn, president; Carl H. Phetteplace, M.D., vice-president; Ruth M. Hansen, secretary-treasurer; J. Harold Clarke, executive vice-president and editor; elected directors: Mrs. Robert Berry, Merle E. Cisney, R. E. Comerford, Carl Fawcett, George Grace, C. T. Hansen, John Henny, Donald McClure, Cecil Smith, Dr. Robert L. Ticknor, Milton V. Walker, M.D.; regional directors (chapter presidents): Jas. P. Beury, Philadelphia; Sidney V. Burns, New York; Roy W. Clark, Olympia; E. F. Drake, Olympic Peninsula; John Eichelser, Tacoma; Arthur Elliott, Great Lakes; Henry Fleming, Tappan Zee; David Freeman, Vancouver; Louis C. Grothaus, Portland; Paul N. Harris, M.D., Indianapolis; Dr. F. W. Herrick, Shelton; Dr. Leon J. Heuser, Princeton; Chris Johnson, Seattle; Alfred F. Kelly, Mid-Jersey; Edward H. Long, California; Kenneth Marshall, Grays Harbor; Dale McCurdy, Midwest; Everett Mitchell, Southeastern; Fred Rees, New Jersey; Mervin B. Vater, Eugene; Thomas Wheeldon, M.D., Middle Atlantic.

Dr. Franklin West, Eastern Vice-President of the ARS and a member of the Pine Barrens Chapter, co-edited the book Hybrids and Hybridizers, Rhododendrons and Azaleas for Eastern North America.

Editor's Notes:
* Name is not registered.
1 The 1958 Rhododendron Register lists the parents as ( catawbiense x griffithianum ?)
2 ; R. planetum is now thought to be a chance hybrid of a species in subsection Fortunea.
3 R. glischroides is now classified as R. glischrum ssp. glischroides .
4 R. vellereum is now classified as principis Vellereum Group.
5 R. desquamatum is now known as rubiginosum Desquamatum Group.
6 R. bauhiniiflorum is now classified as triflorum var. bauhiniiflorum.
7 R. repens is now known as R. forrestii Repens Group.
8 The name R. furbishii does not appear among recognized azalea species.
9 R. nudiflorum is now known as R. periclymenoides .
10 R. speciosum is now known as R. flammeum .
11 Now classified as R. rupicola var. chryseum .