American Rhododendron Society Website

September  2001


Bronze Medals

     Dr. Michael Beale

     F. Raymond Brush

     Stu Imrie

     Fred and Ann Whitney

     Al Muller

George Vasey--an Email Conversation

A Northern Light

Chip Lima Improves and Maintains Vireya Garden

Here's the New ARS Secretary

Links to About People Sections in Past Issues  

In Remembrance

[Editor: Articles and information about people involved with rhododendrons and the Society should be sent to bettyspady@aol.com.]


Bronze Medals

Dr. Michael S. Bale

Fraser South Rhododendron Society awarded the ARS Bronze Medal to Dr. Michael S. Bale with the following citation:

"At the centre of almost every activity of Fraser South Rhododendron Society you will find Mike Bale, either as instigator or enthusiastic supporter.  He has been incredibly generous to our club and its members. Videotapes of many of our programmes have been taken by Mike and made available to members.  Mike's enthusiasm is infectious, his tour organization legendary, and his own garden an on-going labour of art and beauty.  It is as a small token of our enormous gratitude to Mike that we are pleased to present to him the American Rhododendron Society Bronze Medal."

June, 2001. 

Fraser South Rhododendron Society is a chapter of the American Rhododendron Society located in Eastern Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  They meet at St. Andrews Anglican Church Hall, 20955 Old Yale Road, Langley, British Columbia, on the third Wednesday of every month from September to May at  8 PM.


Middle Atlantic Chapter Presents Bronze Medal to Ray Brush

At the meeting in Gloucester, the Middle Atlantic Chapter presented F. Raymond Brush the Bronze Medal in recognition of his active participation and service to the Chapter for many years. Ray and Betty Brush came to us on Ray's retirement from the American Association of Nurserymen where he had been corporate secretary. He had also been active in the International Plant Propagators Society. He is a horticultural graduate of Michigan State University. Ray and Betty have been active in the chapter holding the offices of Secretary and Treasurer at various times and with Ray holding the office of Treasurer for many years. Ray computerized chapter membership, financial, and budget records for greater ease of handling and understanding. From the May 2001 Mid Atlantic Newsletter, Sandra McDonald, editor.

Tacoma Chapter awarded two Bronze Medals to three chapter members. Tacoma Chapter is located in the Tacoma, Washington area. They meet at Puyallup Research & Extension Center, Pioneer and Fruitland (7612 Pioneer Way), Puyallup, Washington on the second Wednesday from September to May at 7 PM.

Stuart Imrie

Tacoma Chapter awarded Stuart Imrie a bronze medal for his many instances of support for the chapter both in plant materials and show displays which have been proffered. Stuart is owner of Lake Tapp Rhododendron Garden and Nursery. The citation was not available.


Fred and Ann Whitney

Tacoma Chapter also awarded a shared bronze medal to Fred and Ann Whitney for their many services through the years to the chapter and rhododendrons. Fred said in his President's Message (Tacoma Chapter Newsletter, June 2001) that this was a complete surprise as he thought that the only bronze medal recipient this year was Stu Imrie. The citation was not available. 

Al Muller

The New York Chapter awarding the Society's Bronze Medal to Al Muller highlighted the annual dinner. Al joins a select group of the chapter's number who has been so recognized. The following is from the award certificate: 

"The N.Y. Chapter is pleased to award the Bronze Medal of the American Rhododendron Society to Albert J. Muller. You have supported the efforts of the Society and our Chapter in serving capably and cheerfully in many capacities. You have been intimately involved in the activities of the Chapter. You have chaired the Public Education and Publicity Committees for a number of years, contributed greatly to the operation of our Annual Plant Sales and manned our information booth at Planting Fields Arboretum Fall Garden Shows. You have represented the Chapter as a lecturer and Flower Show Judge, contributed numerous articles to the New York Chapter newsletter and the A.R.S.Journal. You were and are currently a member of the Board of Director and served the Chapter as Vice-President and President. In recognition of your many contributions, we are pleased to honor you for your devotion and service to the New York Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society." June 1, 2001. 

Congratulations Al.


George Vasey
An Email Conversation

This is an E-Conversation between several people on the Azalea Mail List. This editor had planned to use the research to make a story about George Vasey. It was decided that the research findings, comments and observations be used just as it was presented. Much of the information below has been "Quoted under the fair use provisions of U.S. copyright law" The participants, Bob Barry, Tom Hughes, Bill Miller and Bob Stelloh, have granted permission to use this information to help to find out  "Who was George Vasey?"


Robert K. Barry wrote to the Azalea Mail List,
"Rhododendron vaseyi [vay-zee-ee (Azalea)].
After George R. Vasey (1822-93) who discovered it in 1878. North Carolina.

Did Mr. Vasey live in North Carolina?
Did Mr. Vasey propagate and distribute vaseyi?
Did Mr. Vasey hybridize using vaseyi pollen?

Does anyone have more information about Mr. Vasey than the above statistics ?"


Tom Hughes, Editor of the ARS Tennessee Valley Newsletter, answered,

"Here are some unevaluated search results. It could be a start. If this information is about our man, then it looks like he was in charge of the National Herbarium under the Smithsonian Institution. A grass expert, he accompanied John Wesley Powell on his exploration of the Colorado River.

George S. Vasey Herbarium (ISU)
The herbarium at Illinois State University (ISU) was established soon after the founding of the university in 1859. George Vasey was ISU's first botanist established and was first curator of the herbarium, which was part of a natural history museum. This museum gave rise to the Illinois Natural History Survey. Presently ISU's herbarium houses some 50,000-60,000 specimens representing over 4000 species. The primary purpose of this collection is to support the educational and research function of the Department of Biological Sciences.

In addition to extensive collections of central Illinois prairies and woodlands dating to the middle 1800s, the herbarium has many collections from the mountains of western United States and from California. The historically most important specimens were collected by George Vasey who accompanied John Wesley Powell on his geological expeditions exploring the Rocky Mountains (Lat. 40-41 N) and Grand Canyon area in 1868. These specimens represent the earliest scientific collections from this area. The herbarium also contains European exchange specimens dating to the early 1800s

Smithsonian Institution--Systematic Biology: Botany/ National Herbarium
"According to latest [as of 1966, ed.] figures, plant specimens in the Department of Systematic Biology - Botany number well over 3,000,000 divided among the divisions about as follows: These collections are housed in well over 2,000 storage cases. From its beginnings the U.S. Department of Agriculture has had a special interest in grasses and other forage plants.

Under the leadership of the eminent agrostologist George Vasey, a large grass collection was assembled which was increased by his successors, Frederick Lamson-Scribner and Albert S. Hitchcock. In recognition of the size and importance of the grass collections which ultimately came to the Smithsonian, the Division of Plants formally set up a Section of Grasses on October 10, 1912, with Professor Hitchcock as Custodian.

George Vasey
"Catalogue of Plants Collected on the Expedition of Major J. W. Powell in Colorado," 1868.
Journal. Missouri River West to Washington, 1899.
Journal. Southwestern United States, 1884-1886.
Field notes. California, Arizona, New Mexico, 1880.
Also Miscellaneous I, #3 George Vasey. California trees, 1894


Reference to Rhododendron vaseyi in Wilson and Rehder
Wilson and Rehder says "It (Rhododendron vaseyi) is restricted to higher mountains of western North Carolina, where it grows at an altitude of from 3000 to 5500 feet on mountain slopes, in ravines and sometimes in swamps. It was first discovered in 1878 on Balsam Mountain near Webster, Jackson County, by George Vasey and soon afterward was introduced into cultivation, for in 1880 the Arnold Arboretum received a living plant from G. C. Woolson & Co. of Passaic, New Jersey. ("Webster, NC is an estimated 35 miles Southwest of Asheville and nearly the same distance due West of Hendersonville.)


"There is a lot of information on Dr. Vasey,  gleaned from the Internet. He seems to be variously George R. Vasey and George S. Vasey. The overview article pretty much covers his life and times. I have not found anything about his discovery of R. vaseyi other than the two short references shown."


From <http://www.chicagowildernessmag.org/issues/winter2001/editorsnote.html> and <http://www.chicagowildernessmag.org/issues/winter2001/vasey.html
A discussion of the article, and a feature-length article "Searching for Doctor Vasey", with complete details of his life and work, but no mention of Rhododendron vaseyi.

From <http://torreybotanical.com/tbshist/earlylif.html>
In 1838 the first parts of volumes 1 & 2 of the "Flora of North American" came out. George Vasey (1822-1893) and George Thurber (1821-1890) were contributors to Torrey and Gray in the field of grasses. George Vasey was born an Englishman but came to the United States as a child. He first became interested in botany while living in New York through Dr. P. D. Knieskern. He accompanied Major John Wesley Powell in 1868 on an exploring journey to Colorado. He was curator of the Natural History Museum of the State Normal School of Illinois. Starting in 1870 he was the associate editor of the American Entomologist and Botanist. In 1872 he was appointed as botanist of the Department of Agriculture and its herbarium. (Denny 1968:49)

From <http://www.rootsweb.com/~nyoneida/miscmarriage/citizenmarr47.html>
From ROMAN CITIZEN newspaper, Rome, Oneida County, New York, Friday, January 1, 1847 (Marriage Announcement)
On Tuesday evening, December 22, 1846, by Rev. B. J. Diefendorf, Mr. GEORGE VASEY, to Miss MARTHA JANE SCOTT, both of Oriskany, New York. (RCJan01/1847) 

From <http://www.tjhsst.edu/~dhyatt/azaleas/vaseyi.html>
Discovered by George Vasey in 1878, this native azalea has a relatively restricted natural habitat in four mountainous counties of North Carolina. Growing at elevations of 3000 to 5500 feet, plants can be seen in bloom along the Blue Ridge Parkway in early spring.

From <http://www.crosswinds.net/~rosebay/specvaseyi.htm> LINK NOW BROKEN
The species was discovered by George Vasey, the botanist in charge of the United States National Herbarium, in 1878 in North Carolina and was named after him by the botanist Asa Gray. R. vaseyi is found in nature only in six counties in the mountains of western North Carolina. It was introduced into cultivation by the Arnold Arboretum and is now widely grown as it is quite hardy (to -15F) and is much easier to grow than its cousin, R. canadense. It is also a much larger plant than R. canadense, attaining heights of as much as 15 feet.

From <http://www.state.tn.us/environment/tn_consv/archive/roan.htm
In 1885 the Cloudland Hotel was completed on the summit of Roan, a three-story, sky-high Victorian way station that made the mountain accessible and attractive to upper-class summer guests and allowed the investigation of mountain ecology to proceed with little discomfort. Already described in 1880 as "an almost continuous scientific convention," the traffic in prominent scientists simply increased: George Vasey and F. Lamson-Scribner of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and professors J. W. Chickering, John Harshberger, and J. K. Small were among the well-published botanists to visit.

From <http://www.ventanawild.org/news/ws98/slfirs2.html>
At some time during the mid to late 1800's George Vasey, an agrostologist (botanists who are primarily interested in the study of grasses) of the U. S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, DC., who also had a strong interest in conifers, made an expedition to the Santa Lucia Mountains, but the only citations that I have found about his observations of Abies bracteata are limited to brief statements in two non-referenced articles (Masters 1889, Hansen 1892).

From <http://www.bio.ilstu.edu/armstrong/herbarium/isuherb.htm>
George S. Vasey Herbarium (ISU)
The herbarium at Illinois State University was established soon after the founding of the university in 1859. George Vasey was ISU's first botanist established and was first curator of the herbarium, which was part of a natural history museum. This museum gave rise to the Illinois Natural History Survey. Presently ISU's herbarium houses some 50,000-60,000 specimens representing over 4000 species. The primary purpose of this collection is to support the educational and research function of the Department of Biological Sciences. In addition to extensive collections of central Illinois prairies and woodlands dating to the middle 1800s, the herbarium has many collections from the mountains of western United States and from California. The historically most important specimens were collected by George Vasey who accompanied John Wesley Powell on his geological expeditions exploring the Rocky Mountains (Lat. 40-41 N) and Grand Canyon area in 1868. These specimens represent the earliest scientific collections from this area.

From <http://www.ilstu.edu/depts/biology/General_Information/tradit.txt> 
Illinois State University was founded in 1857 as the first public institution of higher learning in Illinois. The University has a proud heritage in that the charter documents were drafted by Abraham Lincoln, then a well-known Illinois lawyer. Research and teaching in the Biological Sciences have been built on a strong early tradition at Illinois State University. During its formative years, ISU enjoyed an enviable reputation in natural history, with the State Natural History Society of Illinois (now the Illinois Natural History Survey) and the State Museum being located at that time in the "Old Main" building on campus. Foremost among the natural scientists at ISU during its early years were John Wesley Powell, Professor of Geology and Curator of Museums, who is well known for his explorations of the Colorado River; Dr. Thomas J. Burrill, Bacteriologist and Plant Pathologist; Dr. Joseph A. Sewell, Professor of Science; Dr. George Vasey, Curator and Botanist; and Dr. Stephen A. Forbes, Curator and Entomologist. 

Fom <http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/np/systematics/arboretum.htm>
The earliest herbarium in the USDA dates from 1868, when the U.S. National Herbarium of the Smithsonian Institution was transferred to the USDA. During the 1880's and 1890's, the herbarium was staffed by George Vasey, William E. Stafford, and Frederick V. Coville, who were the principal botanists at that time.

From <http://download.franklin.com/cgi-bin/franklin/ebookman_free_preview?nasoc10>
In the fall of 1890 Dr. George Vasey, then Botanist of the Department of Agriculture, arranged with me to prepare a revision of North American Cactaceae.

From <http://nmnhwww.si.edu/botany/plantpress/vol3no1.htm>
George R. Vasey (1822-1893), curator of the U.S. National Herbarium, who collected in California in 1880 and wrote "Grasses of the Pacific Slope" (1892)

From <http://www.ecu.edu.au/pa/rswa/Books/bookv.htm>
WRS 173 Vasey, George|Richardson, Clifford|United States. Dept. of Agriculture. Botanical Division The agricultural grasses and forage plants of the United States and such foreign kinds as have been introduced ... with an appendix on the chemical composition of grasses / George Vasey, Clifford Richardson Washington : Govt. Print. Office 1889 147 p. : ill. Special bulletin / United States. Department of Agriculture Botanical Division 

From <http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/print/RR/fri32.html>
During the 1870s and 1880s Richardson published a number of papers on his work, including articles in Texas Farm & Ranch and the Annual Reports of the United States Commissioner of Agriculture. He also collaborated with George Vasey on his "Grasses of the South," which appeared in the Bulletin of the United States Department of Agriculture.

From <http://www.nmnh.si.edu/botany/colls/us-hist.html>
Under the leadership of the eminent agrostologist George Vasey, a large grass collection was assembled which was increased by his successors Frederick Lamson-Scribner and Albert S. Hitchcock.

From <http://www.tulane.edu/~eeob/Facilities/Herbarium/herbarium_history.html>
Tulane's Joor specimens, largely unduplicated at Missouri, are particularly rich in southern grasses, many specimens annotated by George Vasey (J.B.S. Norton, Bot. Gaz. 26: 271-274. 1898).

From <http://www.wssa.net/subpages/weed/weedstoday/WT11.htm>
In 1874, John Haralson, Selma, AL, first used the name, "Johnson grass." He submitted a letter and grass sample to agrostologist George Vasey, requesting an identification and analysis. Haralson remarked, "The name (of the grass) given here is from the man who brought it to this country many years ago, whose name was Johnson."

From <http://huntbot.andrew.cmu.edu/HIBD/HIBD-T/HI-HitchcockChase-T.html>
In 1901 Hitchcock became assistant chief in the U.S.D.A.'s Division of Agrostology in Washington, D.C., and in 1905 he was promoted to systematic agrostologist at the U.S.D.A. and also appointed custodian of the newly established Section of Grasses; Chase assumed the custodianship of the grass herbarium at Hitchcock's death (see also: Morton, C. V. and W. L. Stern. 1966. The United States National Herbarium. Pl. Sci. Bull. 12(2): 18). U.S.D.A. made the grass collection a priority, and Hitchcock built upon the work of his predecessors George Vasey and Frederick Lamson-Scribner.

From <http://web.nmsu.edu/~kallred/herbweb/12.htm>
Penstemon spinulosus was described by Wooton and Standley (1913) on the basis of a George R. Vasey specimen (U.S. National Herbarium no. 156865), which was said to have been collected in June 1881 in the Magdalena Mountains, Socorro County, New Mexico.

From <http://www.grandcanyonbiblio.org/memlsubj.htm>
Vasey, George (1822-1893) [decedent] 1893 George Vasey: a biographical sketch. Botanical Gazette, 18:170-183. William M. Canby and J. N. Rose 1981 Vasey, George 1822-1893. In: Biographical dictionary of Rocky Mountain naturalists; a guide to the writings and collections of botanists, zoologists, geologists, artists and photographers, 1682-1932. Utrecht and Antwerpen: Bohn, Scheltema and Holkema; and The Hague and Boston: Dr. W. Junk, p. 227. Joseph Ewan and Nesta Dunn Ewan 1998 Vasey, of Paradise. Boatman's Quarterly Review, 11(1)(Winter 1997-1998):47. [Excerpt from Canby and Rose (1893).] [Issue mailed late January or early February, 1998.] 


"When we flew into Portland for the ARS Convention in Eugene, Oregon we went straight to TIMBER PRESS where we had a pre-arranged appointment to visit their Display library and sales area, (if you have never been, GO) to see the proofs of the revised edition of Japanese Maples by J.D. Vertrees. What a thrill that was. We ordered copies for several friends as gifts. While there, we were surrounded by their Display Library.  I got weak in the knees. Of course I am a 'book nut' anyway. One of the books I bought was a new Dictionary of Plant Names. Last week I got chance to look at the Plant Dictionary (by Allen J. Coombes). Naturally I got around to looking up azaleas, and it referred me to Rhododendrons. I must have spent a half hour looking at the different references of certain azaleas, and it gave the hybridizer and information on some of them. As I was turning my way through the pages I spotted Vasey. And of course you saw what they had. Discovered the azalea in N Caroline 1878, and it said George R. Vasey (l822-93). And suddenly it was like a bolt of lightening, struck my memory.

"In 1945-46, I can't remember the exact date, but I was in the 11th grade and our Civics class was going to play host to another 11th grade Civics Class from a High School in Charlotte, N.C. that was coming to Washington, D.C. to see the Cherry Blossoms. I went to school in D.C. from the 7th to 12th grade. We took them from our school where their bus brought them, On Capitol Transit Street Cars which ran right in front of our school, all the way down to the tidal basin. Well, I don't think I have to tell you that we all had a ball. Some of us made some lasting friendships. I found a Buddy named Johnny Wilson. We corresponded. He knew that I was going to be part of a group that was going to Virginia Beach, Nags Head and back to Elizabeth City NC Well, he and his family asked me to come spend a few day with them in Charlotte before I headed North again. I did.

"I was met at the bus station by John and five other boy and girls who had been on the trip to the Cherry Blossoms. Well, they showed me the town. And they said, 'Remember, this is Charlotte, and if you can't trade on Tryon, just try on Trade.' That happens to be the two Main streets that run North and South through the center of Downtown Charlotte. Trivia, but I never forgot the cute little quip. We ended up at Johnny's home. His Mom and Dad were great people, like a second Mom and Dad to all the kids. Mrs. Wilson had all sorts of mini sandwiches and punch, and she had a Garden full of azaleas!!!!! I guess I have known what an azalea was since I was four years old. I admired these beautiful plants, and Mrs. Wilson said; 'Oh thank you. These are very special azaleas. Mr. Vasey brought these down from the mountains of North Carolina!' That didn't mean a thing to me but I said something like 'Oh.' I just figured that he was one of those hucksters that use to come to town with bunches of Mountain Laurel and Rhododendron Foliage that people use to stick in a jardiniļæ½re and put in front of their fireplaces.

"BUT last week when I read that name in my Plant Dictionary, BINGO, THE LIGHTNING FLASHED AND THE NAME 'VASEY' FELL INTO PLACE.

"That is what prompted me to ask if anyone had any information about Mr. Vasey other than what I copied from the Dictionary Book. I thought perhaps he had started a nursery many years ago, had propagated or hybridized the plants or had a patent on the flower. I had a feeling that even today (and I guess I'm right) that people were interested in George R. Vasey.

"God Bless you and have a ball putting together the conversation about such an interesting and diversified man. Wow. I would love to have known him and had him as a friend and colleague. Wow !"
Bob Barry (Who Started It All)

"P. S. Oh, I have had a lot of time to think about what Mrs. Wilson said a bout Mr. Vasey bringing azaleas down from the mountain. She must have been very knowledgeable about them. It was not my 'hobby' then so I never made an effort to find out to what extent she dabbled in azalea-culture. Funny, after about a 100 years they still called him Mr. Vasey and his azaleas. I wonder to what extent that knowledge of the discovery of vaseyi is known in Garden Circles. Almost like saying George Washington's Mt. Vernon after all these years. But it was and still is strange that I remembered the name Vasey. Freda and I still talk frequently about the ARS meeting in Eugene. It was, as I said on the azalea mail list, the best convention we have attended in the last 25 y ears. Lots of very nostalgic and beautiful memories." BB


Rhododendron vaseyi is another azalea that I think is kind of attractive. In addition, the two lower petals are a little different than we are accustomed to finding on the typical azalea.  There is a cultivar 'White Find' that is available in the trade, but the typical specimen has some pink it it. Bill Miller


Just wanted to warn you that George R. Vasey was George Richard Vasey, a son of the Curator, born in August of 1853 according to the 1900 census. George, senior, was essentially a herbarium botanist after 1872, and it was his son who did the traveling. By 1883, George R. settled in Whitman County, WA, and in 1900 is listed at Steptoe. I once came across a reference, which I have lost, to some correspondence between George R. and (I think it was) another Washington state based botanist in 1902, so he was alive then, but I have no later data.

Also, George, Sr., was born near, not in, Scarborough. His death certificate says he was born in Snainton, about ten miles to the southwest, and according to the Mormon's "International Genealogical Index," he was christened at Brompton by Sawdon, about 2 miles closer to Scarborough. David Hollombe

[I hope that this has done justice to the research done by these enthusiasts.  To me it is an interesting bit of information that few know about.  'White Find' is well known in the Pacific Northwest but is difficult to find in nurseries.  

The conclusion seems to be that most of the information on the Internet is about George S. Vasey not the George R. Vasey who probably was the one who discovered Rhododendron vaseyi. No mention was made of which George Vasey (father/son) the plant was named after. Perhaps it really was meant to honor both men. The conclusion is confusing! If you have more information, please send it to me at bettyspady@aol.com to help clarify the information. BWS]

For info, more commands, e-mail: azaleas-info@azaleas.org
To unsubscribe, e-mail: azaleas-unsubscribe@azaleas.org


A Northern Light

A four-page article written by Susan Davis Price, "A Northern Light," was seen in The American Gardener, July/August issue. The article features Dr. Harold Pellett of the ARS Midwest Chapter. Dr. Pellett is executive Director of Landscape Plant Development Center at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chanhassen, Minnesota. In the article Director of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Peter Olin says that Dr. Pellett's introductions are a tremendous asset to the world.  Rhododendron enthusiasts will recognize his work in the development of the "Lights azaleas." The first "Lights" introduction in 1978 was 'Northern Lights'. This made available a good cold hardy azalea.  Other "Lights" azaleas are 'Pink Lights', 'Rosy Lights', 'White Lights', 'Spicy Lights', Lemon Lights', 'Tri-Lights', 'Plum Lights' and 'Candy Lights'.  In 1990 Dr. Pellett pioneered the formation of the nonprofit Landscape Plant Development Center that now has 80 different institutions involved.  Donated land in the Willamette Valley in Oregon provides a sister research station in the Northwest. Although known for the "Lights" series, he is also involved in research of many other plants other than rhododendrons. Forsythia, dogwood, pine, maples, plums, ash along with others are among those that have benefited the horticulture world.

[Summarized from the article "A Northern Light" in "The American Gardener", July/August, 2001 issue, pages 36-39.]

Chip Lima Improves and Maintains Vireya Garden

Chip Lima, California Chapter, is doing a wonderful job of maintaining and improving Pete Sullivan's Vireya Garden at St. John the Evangelist Church in San Francisco. He has just finished reorganizing the garden and replanting all of the plants. It is a beautiful, unique garden. From the California Chapter Newsletter, June 2001.


Here's the New ARS Secretary!

Frances Burns, a member of the Eugene Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society, was elected ARS Secretary in April 2001 and will serve on the ARS Board of Directors for two years.  It would take a book to tell all about Frances.  But we who know her, can vouch for her dedication and ability to get things done.  No doubt she will be an asset on the Board.  It is fitting that we give you a glimpse of her spirit and humor in this, her last column as editor of the Eugene Chapter Newsletter, May-June 2001. Welcome, Frances, to the American Rhododendron Society Board of Directors in your new office as ARS Secretary.

Editor's Last Byte
Frances Burns

        It's a gorgeous day--birds singing, poppies blooming, old fashioned roses scenting the air, and the late, late rhodies are all abloom. A few still lurk within fat buds. In a rare sight, we watched a bald eagle try to take a fish away from an osprey!
     This has been one of the most delightful springs we've experienced in our garden. There's nothing to compare with the excitement of waiting for new hybrids to pop their buds--some promising and some ho-hum. The ho-hummers shall live to bloom another year before their fate is sealed.
     It's time for hard decisions. What rhodies to remove before they crowd out those we want to flourish? Transplant or find a new home? Dissect, chop and return to compost?
     A non-rhody visitor to the garden asked why I didn't prune the rhodies. Oh, but I do---creating heaps of brush to remove-and big bouquets for the house. Some just beg to stand tall, adding majesty to the woodland background, patiently resist any serious attempt to "midgetize" them.
     This is my last newsletter as editor. Twelve years have flown like the wind, and I have enjoyed creating every issue (well almost!). But when sitting at the computer on nice days, it's hard to resist the urge to escape to the garden, to reacquaint myself with each bed. It changes so quickly from week to week and year to year.
     I have so much appreciated kind comments from readers and the patience of the chapter when I have looked at the wrong calendar and pulled out the wrong date for the calendar. The support of the chapter has been very positive, and I appreciate that no end. But no more spell-checker blues, no more rushing to town to meet a deadline with the printer. Or more running out of colored ink in the middle of printing the center pages on my oh-so-slow-color printer--or staying up all night to finish them in time to insert into the rest of the newsletter. More time for weeding, taking pictures and reading, more time to visit gardens and nurseries, more time for friends. But I will miss many creative aspects of the job, to be sure.
     I especially want to thank those in the chapter whose contributions from time to time have helped fill the pages: Slim Barrett, Dave Williams, Merle Sanders, John Fry, Stan all, Michael Robert, Harold Greer, Gordon Wylie, Rich Aaring, and the Head Gardener (on trapping moles) come to mind. And a special thanks to other chapters whose newsleters have been the source of timely "reruns" of good information or humor to share. The old ARS Bulletins were a source of many an article-the current ARS Journals a source or corroborating future events.
     And so I bid you all adieu, for much as I've loved he job, new challenges lie ahead. Forrest Gump was right when he said, "Life's a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get!"; or as my Grandmother used to say, "All the sugar's in the bottom of the cup!"

[Frances Burns has given 'Rhododendron and Azalea News' blanket permission to print her materials from the Eugene Newsletter, but this will be a surprise to her.  I hope it is a pleasant one. Mrs. Burns has recently completed a new 539 page book, "To Have a Friend, An Exchange of Letters on Rhododendrons, Iris, Lilies, War and  Peace, 1945-1951,  Del & Ray James, Northwest Rhododendron Pioneers, and C.P Raffill, M.B.E, V.M.H., Former Assistant Curator of Kew Gardens."  It should also be mentioned that the Head Gardener to whom she refers is husband, Ralph, who manages to keep a low profile. BWS]


Links to About People Sections in Past Issues

January 1998 December 1999
March 1998 March 2000
June 1998 June 2000
September 1998 September 2000
December 1998 December 2000
March 1999 March 2001
June 1999 June 2001
September 1999

In Remembrance

Rorie Heresen, Scottish Rhododendron Society
Robert Mann, Fraser South Rhododendron Society
MaBelle McCornack, Tualatin Valley Chapter
Bob Weatherby, Seattle Chapter

Rorie Heresen, Scottish Rhododendron Society, died on May 12, 2001 at her home Bearsden, Scotland.  She and her husband converted a field that was part of their property into a beautiful garden.  She developed a keen interest in the growing and hybridizing of rhododendrons, which she generously passed on to others.  She was secretary of the chapter during the years leading up to and during the 1988 Glasgow Garden Festival, which would not have happened if she and her late husband were not so dedicated and hard working.  Rhododendrons were her passion for the remainder of her life.

RETURN to Remembrance Index


Robert Mann, charter member of Fraser South Rhododendron Society, died April 14, 2001. Bob and his wife, Alice Mann, had been members of Vancouver Chapter for many years. But since they lived in Surrey, they elected to become members of Fraser South when the chapter began. Bob acted as Treasurer in both chapters.  They grew excellent rhododendrons and won many ribbons and trophies through the years. Bob and Alice came regularly to meetings, picnics and parties until Alice's increasing blindness made things very difficult for them both. No longer able to care for her at home, Bob was forced to have Alice placed in a care facility, where she remains today, a decision he found painfully difficult.  From June 2001 Fraser South Rhododendron Society newsletter, "The Yak.")

MaBelle McCornack, Tualatin Valley Chapter, died on June 18, 2001.  MaBelle was a life member of Tualatin Valley Chapter and a long time associate member of Portland Chapter. She was active in both chapters. She held most of the offices in the TV chapter at one time or another. She was also editor of "The Rhody Runner," the TV chapter newsletter for some time.  Through the years she attended  many of the Society's annual conventions until her recent move to Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Bob Weatherby, Seattle Chapter, died on April 25.  His love of rhododendrons is still seen in his beautiful garden in Kirkland, Washington. Bob was very knowledgeable about rhododendrons and he will be greatly missed. From "Seattle Rhododendronland," Seattle Chapter newsletter.

[The Society wishes to express its heartfelt sympathies to the family and friends of these deceased members. They will be missed.]

RETURN to Remembrance Index
to TOP of PAGE

PLEASE SEND NOTICES TO bettyspady@aol.com.     



American Rhododendron Society Website