JARS v58n3 - From The President

From The President
Mike Stewart
Sandy, Oregon

The month of May was highlighted by two major ARS events that I had the pleasure of participating in, one on the East Coast of the U.S., and the other on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, Canada.

The Annual Convention in King of Prussia, PA, was an extremely well planned and executed event. If you wanted to see an array of exquisite gardens and nurseries, hear expert speakers, and share in the experience of witnessing five ARS members receiving Gold and Silver Medals, this was the place to be. I congratulate the entire convention committee for the wonderful experience they worked so hard to provide.

Near the end of the month, in the village of Ucluelet, BC, a committee of hard working members organized the celebration of the early West Coast rhododendron pioneer George Fraser. The George Fraser Days, as it is known, honors his legacy as a horticulturist and major influence among those who were working to introduce rhododendrons to this continent. This year marks the date of his 150th birthday. Almost the entire town of Ucluelet, and many from far away, participated. The event was highlighted by the attendance of BC's Lieutenant Governor, The Honourable Iona V. Campagnolo. What is so noticeable is the sincere enthusiasm and commitment that the people of Vancouver Island have for growing rhododendrons. I have rarely been made to feel so welcome as my visit to Ucluelet and surrounding areas. I highly recommend that you take every opportunity to visit Vancouver Island and share in the hospitality and knowledge of these wonderful Canadian ARS members.

My travels to both the East Coast and West Coast once again reminded me of some of the best reasons for belonging to the American Rhododendron Society: gaining knowledge by traveling out of your area, and making friends with those who share in a common interest.

I look forward to seeing you In Hawaii Sept. 22-26 for the next Western Regional Conference.