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Ideas for Chapters

Portland Chapter President Irv Snyder appeals...


In recent issues of the R&A News, concern from any number of chapters as been...oh where, oh where have all of our members gone. Statements have been shown of the possibilities to increase membership. It is a major concern of all members...and practically to the chapter presidents who want a larger membership to share the wonders of the world of rhododendrons with.

Shown below is one president's major concern. Suggestion: read it carefully...very carefully.

Yes, Irv Snyder makes a real appeal to the members of the Portland do something...really do something! A bold statement to end his message...but it has been moved from the end to the forefront:

"We are interested in saving the planet, preserving endangered species, living green, enhancing our lifestyle, creating beauty and enjoying leisure time."

Now, let's get started with his words of wisdom. Do read Irv's concerns and suggestions.

"Go back and look at my President's message in the October Newsletter regarding the need for new members in our chapter. Then...remember February when we were all encouraged to bring a visitor...had only three.

we are aging...need youth

We need more people coming to our meetings than there were ten years ago. We are an aging organization and need to gear our activities pertinent to what the younger generations are interested in to see more people in their 20's or 30's joining the Portland Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society.

Certainly the rhododendrons are prettier than ever as I write this message. I am looking at 'Crater Lake'...which is unbelievable this year. There are new hybrids coming out that continuously expand our temperate limits, drought tolerance, and our pallet of available colors. I wish I had started my rhododendron passion 30 years ago...think of all the things I could have tried.

get out and "sell" our passion

We have to get out and sell our passion for rhododendrons, framing it in a manner that appeals to the younger generation. These younger people are also interested in saving the planet, preserving endangered species, living greens, enhancing our lifestyle, creating beauty, and enjoying leisure time.

We rhodie gardeners are doing more to preserve species than many other organizations.

  • We go to the ends of the earth...and then climb up waterfalls to sample some heretofore unseen species of rhododendron.
  • We emphasize that we do not capture a species and bring it home: We take a small cutting or some seeds and leave the prize species intact in its native environment.
  • We support the Rhododendron Species Foundation that collects seeds and send them out to selected growers. This Foundation also grows the seeds into plants and sells them to its members. Younger people also notice these activities, so why not bring some of them to our May meeting and watch them enjoy hearing about the Stewart's trip to China.

touch the schools...

We must help more people get to know about this.
  • We can get more universities involved in American Rhododendron Chapters.
  • We can tell grade school children about adventures with our favorite plants.
  • People get really excited when I tell them that in China rhododendrons grow 100 ft. tall and are used for firewood. Then I show them my 'Yuku Fairy' that is only two inches tall and is five years old.
  • We could regale school children with the adventures of the early rhododendron seed gathers in China. Would you like to invite some grade school classes to Crystal Springs on the Friday before Mother's Day and give them the garden tour, which could end with trusses for them to take home to their mothers?
  • How about working with a high school, suggesting that some student have as a senior project to cut and propagate a rhododendron, to explain the heritage of the new plant and describe other ways to propagate rhododendrons. In addition to getting the student interested, we are also "hooking" his parents and some of his friends.

need more tours...

We need more garden tours...not only for rhodie lovers...but for the general public. I had no idea there were so many beautiful rhododendrons until I visited Crystal Springs. There should be more public tours of: Van Veen, Bovees, and other local nurseries. Guided tours of the rhodies to the Pittock Mansion, Bonneville Dam, and private gardens...with the public encouraged to attend...could also be beneficial to our chapter membership goals.

have a contest...

We could fund a contest in selected grade schools where the Portland Chapter of the ARS gives a prize for the best truss that is brought to school around Mother's Day. The prize could be free passes to Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden for the child(ren) and his parents...followed by lunch at a local restaurant with chapter officers, members, some of our children, some of our grandchildren, and our great-grandchildren, already infused with the wonders of the genus rhododendron.

I will welcome your input and your willingness to volunteer for some of these suggested ideas.

let's set rhodies on fire!

Do we need to set the rhodies on fire to get their attention?

Come to think of it...'Crater Lake' is glowing like a well-tuned blue gas flame and 'Naselle' will radiate color like big bed of burning wood in a few minutes.

Learn a new word

Bruce Palmer, member of the Eureka Chapter, is most interested that the members of his chapter learn new words, his wonderful descriptions are made a part of the chapter's newsletter.

Here's something for you to think about through the winter months. This is what Bruce writes:

the word is...photoperiodism

The annual "redwood rain" when the redwoods drop the ends of their new branches, prompted me to write about the word deciduous. I discovered that was last September's here's a related one: Photoperiodism.

The word is derived from the Greek, as is often the case. Photo - comes from photos or phos, the Greek word for light, -period - stems periodos, meaning a going around, and -ism is from ismos, a combining term giving nouns an action context.

Many, if not most plants and animals show physiological responses to light, especially to changes in day length. In plants, photoperiodism influences a lot of things, including seed germination, budding, flowering, and the seasonal loss of leaves.

  • Horticulturists have known for a long time that light and the length of the day affect flowering and fruiting.
  • Commercial flower growers take advantage of this phenomenon to produce plants and cut flowers for market at very specific times with procedures, such as controlling day length by growing their plants in enclosed buildings.

Tricks, such as turning lights on for just a few minutes in the middle of the night, can determine when and how a plant will flower. This activity in plants is controlled mainly by a substance called phytochrome (= plant color). Phytochrome, a blue pigment, absorbs red light to control the timing of flowering. It does it differently in different plants...but we don't need to cover that here.

Phytochrome appears to be the main substance that elongates stems growing in shade, so as is common in many organisms...the same substance is responsible for more than one action.

What's happening with the "redwood rain" and will soon happen with the deciduous broad-leafed plants is that as the day length shortens...the leaves become less efficient and the plant begins to reabsorb the molecules used in photosynthesis.

be thankful for fallen leaves

Auxin...responsible for controlling such other things as bending of plant stems toward light...causes the formation of a hard wall of material, the abscission (Latin: abscissus, to cut off) layer that prevents any further transfer of substance to and from the leaves. Eventually, the dead leaves drop off, forming a great layer of mulch on the ground for winter protection and spring startup. So, as much as we might be bothered by the dropping of redwood material this time of year, it has beneficial effects for all the plants in the forest.

You can help a master's degree candidate

All chapters of the ARS are looking for young people to join the ARS. We have received a special request from a young lady who is in her first year of a master's degree at the University of Washington in Seattle. Let me outline it to you.

Lydia says, The project I am setting up is to examine and identify powdery mildews that are found on rhododendrons based upon anatomical characteristics and through DNA sequencing. I would like to ask for your help in the collection of samples. Am looking for samples of powdery mildew on named rhododendrons.

Labeled samples can be placed in a bag or envelope, with a short description of the plant site. If anyone is interested in participating in my project, I would be very grateful.


Lydia Putnicki
College of Forest Resources

Note: The editor requests if you are interested in helping Lydia with her project to contact the editor at the address shown on the home page. You will be given further information.

Think about it. We can help! Thanks heaps.

Win a rhododendron!

Here's something to think about for your next chapter meeting. In The Yak, newsletter for the Fraser South Rhododendron Chapter in February 2005, was an item that attracts attention and it is still true in 2007. Your chapter may elect the bribe method, too, to get a job done! Listen!

There was much gnashing of teeth at the last executive meeting over the continuing decline of material in The Yak that is specifically about rhododendron species and hybrids. This is a subject which has been tugging at us for some time now...and one about which we received some comments on last year's survey. The problem is, of course, that The Yak is dependent upon the kindness of contributors, strangers or otherwise, to provide the material that we read.

need you and you to write

The answer is simple...more members need to contribute. We dragooned Dalen into initiating our speaker's corner, "Over the backyard fence..." because he was there and unable to escape...but we cannot expect the same people to provide material each month. And in order to facilitate this increase in participation, we decided we should offer...well...not exactly bribes...more like incentives,

subject can be anything...

So...write us a little something dear to your heart on the subject of rhododendrons...and we will provide you with free raffle tickets at the next meeting. It can be on any aspect of rhododendrons you like. Tell us about your favorite rhododendron, or your least favorite one...or the one you loved but lost...your successes, your you first became interested in rhododendrons...who inspired you...whose rhododendron gardens you like...and why.

you can do it...

It doesn't have to be long...a paragraph or so will do it. It's easy. Don't think of it as writing...think of it as talking with a pencil instead of your voice. Just pretend that you are chatting with another Fraser South Rhododendron Society member at coffee time and scribble it down in one swell foop. As an added incentive, this will be the one time when spelling doesn't count...that's my job. I will even take dictation over the phone...if you speak slowly enough.

Have a Toonie Table

The Fraser South Chapter has a Toonie Table to share with others. What do they share? They divide their perennials and bring them to this special table at chapter time...and then other members buy the plants, with the contribution helping to fill the treasure house! Think about it! There isn’t anything nicer than sharing!


Peter Marshall speaks...

"When we long for life without difficulties,
remind us that
oaks grow strong in contrary winds,
and diamonds are made under pressure."

Note: Peter Marshall, the witty, magnetic Scottish-American preacher who became chaplain of the U.S. Senate just two years before his death, was the subject of the 1955 movie, A Man Called Peter, based on his wife's best-selling biography. He was born in Scotland in 1902 and, as a boy, wanted to go to sea; he served in the navy before becoming a minister. His compelling orations and his belief that religion should be fun drew large congregations to his church. He died in 1949.


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