JARS v50n3 - From the President

From the President
Herbert A. Spady
Salem, Oregon

While flying over the North Atlantic I am reviewing in my mind the events of the last week. The meeting in Scotland was the most activity filled that I have ever attended. The emphasis was on gardens. There were great estate gardens, small personal gardens, gardens with famous plants and gardens with new and interesting introductions from the wild. Our hosts and hostesses were concerned that their season was about three weeks late. That was an advantage to most of the visitors from North America, because we were able to see many of the early blooming, large-leafed and tender (by North American standards) species in full bloom. Words are inadequate to describe the glory of nearly 150-year-old specimens coming from all over Asia. The difference between a visit to China, Nepal or Northern India and a visit to the West Coast of Scotland is that the visitor can see plants from all over the world. That includes many things other than rhododendrons. One can only feel sorry for those who were unable to attend this meeting.

Even those who could not attend should be grateful to the Scots for being such good hosts. They showed us that a small group can put on a great meeting with good lectures, well coordinated tours and amazing community support.

Awards Night festivities at the ARS Annual 
Convention in Oban, Scotland
Left to right: Hubert Andrews, John Hammond, Scottish Rhododendron
Society President Mervyn Kessell and ARS Executive Director Barbara
Hall take part in Awards Night festivities at the ARS Annual
Convention in Oban, Scotland, in May.

Several things happened at the Board meeting that are important to members. Perhaps the most important is our entry into the electronic age. The Board approved the initial expenditure to place an American Rhododendron Society home page on the Internet. We hope to tie it to other rhododendron information on the "net" and expand our home page resource as funds and ideas develop.

The Board approved an increase in dues but postponed that increase until 1998. We hope that the advance information will decrease the number of people who might react negatively to the increase. There has been no increase in dues since 1986, and recently we have been living on the edge of a negative budget in spite of considerable cost savings by both the editor and executive director.

I thought that the comment by Torbin Stein, the president of the Danish Chapter, was very perceptive. "Is that three dollars a day or three dollars a year?” When one thinks in an amount less than a penny a day it is hard to refuse what will be a big help to our Society.