QBARS - v4n2 The American Rhododendron Society

The American Rhododendron Society
Ruth M Hansen

In the Summer of 1944 when a new interest in the Genus Rhododendron was taking place a small group of amateurs and growers met for the purpose of forming an organization to promote the growing and culture of this remarkable plant group. As word of this embryonic organization filtered throughout the United States many requests came in from ardent admirers of the Rhododendron that this newly formed organization be made a National Society rather than a local or State unit. At the Fall meeting the name of "The American Rhododendron Society" was adopted and under this name the Society was incorporated as a non-profit Society early in 1945. From its inception the Society has grown first from a tiny nucleus of a few local enthusiasts to a well rounded cell of international fame.
With the growth of the organization it has become necessary to establish Chapters where increased membership is centralized. With the constantly increasing interest in rhododendrons more chapters will be added as needed. To date our centers of interest lie along a narrow strip of the W. Coast from British Columbia to S. California, and along the East Coast from Massachusetts to Georgia, with a good representation of states between. Some 23 states being represented in the membership as well as Canada, England, Holland, and New Zealand.

Purpose Of The Society
To promote and develop the growing of rhododendrons throughout the United States and to associate together in membership persons interested in promoting and developing the growing of rhododendrons.
To disseminate information relative to the development and culture' of rhododendrons; to operate test gardens and exhibition gardens; to catalog named varieties of rhododendrons; to register names of new rhododendron hybrids and in general to do any and all acts or tidings necessary in the promotion and development of the growing and culture of rhododendrons.

Service To Members
All members of this organization shall be entitled to receive publications issued by this organization (with the exception of cloth bound books), to vote at all meetings of the membership and to participate in exhibitions.
A Quarterly Bulletin is published by the Society which contains current information on meetings, items of interest, articles by well known authorities and many fine illustrations: It also contains advertising by Rhododendron growers and other garden specialists.
A Year Book was printed for every year from 1945 to 1949; however at the Fall meeting of 1949 it was voted on to discontinue the Annual publication and to concentrate on a larger Quarterly Bulletin. A cloth bound book to be printed only every three years. This new book will contain reports from the Test Gardens, the award winners, new plants ready for awards, hardiness reports, etc. All past Year Books are available to members for $2.50 a copy.

Test Gardens
Since the inception of the American Rhododendron Society it has been deemed necessary to have a Test Garden; however it was not until this past year that plans were formulated for this undertaking. Official Test Gardens are to be established at the Arboretum of the University of Washington at Seattle, at the Morris Arboretum, University of Pennsylvania, and one at Portland, Oregon. All three Test Gardens are to be open for acceptance of plants by late Fall 1950. Entry requests should be made to the secretary.
For the first time in the History of the A. R. S. a system of awards has been established whereby recognition to worthy new varieties of Rhododendrons and Azaleas and to the breeders who have produced them has been developed. An Award Committee will function at the May 1950 Show for the first time. Awards will be made to Clonal varieties, not "Group" varieties.
The first Award shall be entitled "Preliminary Award" (P. A.). This may be granted to a single complete plant growing in a garden or exhibited at a show, or under special circumstance to a truss with foliage in a show.
The second, and higher, award shall be called "Test Garden Certificate" (T. G. C.) and will be awarded to worthy plants which have been propagated vegetatively and are growing in a recognized test garden. A variety must have been observed in bloom in the test garden by the judges for at least two years before the T. G. C. is awarded.

Accredited Shows
Since May 1945 the American Rhododendron Society has held an Annual Rhododendron Show in Portland, Oregon. The Arboretum Foundation of Seattle has held three Rhododendron shows co-sponsored by the Society and last year Tacoma, Washington, held its first Annual Rhododendron show. All three shows are accredited by the Society and give the public a fine exhibition of plants and cut blooms.

Membership Open
Membership in this society is open to all persons interested in the growth and culture of rhododendrons. Membership shall be conferred upon a written application to the Secretary, endorsed by one member and accompanied by remittance for dues. Regular members shall pay annual dues for each calendar year in the sum of $5.00 (Payable January 1st). Life Membership dues are $100.00.
No person shall be entitled to any of the rights and privileges of membership until his dues have been paid for the current year.
Those interested in joining the Society may send their application to the Secretary, Portland, Oregon.