“Hydrangea Love in the time of COVID-19”, how do we keep the American Hydrangea Society (AHS) going? We are all feeling the constraints of the virus. The American Hydrangea Society, like so many other non-profits, has been exploring multiple options on how to keep our members engaged and involved. Since we cannot physically come together, the AHS Board decided we are going to come to you through the use of technology.
On Monday, October 26, 2020 Carol Reese from the University of Tennessee will be speaking to us through Zoom. Carol’s subject for the evening is “Paniculatas on Parade”. This should be an enlightening and informative talk given all the new panicle hydrangeas coming on the market each year. Carol’s wonderful sense of humor will surely shine through Zoom. In order to attend the Zoom meeting, you will need to pre-register. Registration information will be sent to AHS members via e-mail. Once you have pre-registered, you will receive another e-mail with the Zoom meeting number and password. During the meeting those attending will be “muted”, however, we are hoping to be able to have a brief question and answer session at the end of Carol’s talk. This will most likely be through a chat room. We are still working on the details and hope to have all the kinks worked out prior to the meeting.
With the cancellation of the 2020 AHS Garden Tour, technology came to the rescue. I hope you enjoyed watching the videos we shared with our members of the six AHS board member’s gardens. I am so grateful to Dave and Cheri Felton, Scott Grosse, Joe and Dianne Lazzari, Larry and Melinda Mischik, Bill and Jennifer Petritz, and Duane Stone and Ken Walker for inviting us into their beautiful gardens. It was wonderful to share the beauty of their gardens to members throughout the USA and abroad.
Due to the garden tour not being held, some of our members have not renewed their membership. With the help of Dr. Michael Dirr, we were able to hold two successful membership drives and plant sales in August. As always, our society is extremely grateful to Dr. Dirr. Mike has been an avid supporter of AHS from its conception and continues not only by sharing his abundant knowledge, but also with his donations of plants. For those of you who were able to take advantage of the sale, I hope you are enjoying these spectacular plants. As one member said, “Who wouldn’t want a Dirr plant?”
As we continue to look for ways to help our members through education we also have the challenge of raising funds to support the society. One way is through fundraisers with quality products our members can use. The Soil3 compost fundraiser held in late September and early October was one of those ways. I hope you had a chance to watch the video Soil3 made of AHS’s own Dörte Wohmann-Schmieta in her charming and marvelous garden. Dörte spoke of how she improved her soil through the use of the Soil3 compost. We will be holding another fundraiser with Soil3 in the spring of 2021. If you did not have a chance to order this autumn, I hope you can participate in the spring fundraiser. Soil3 is only available in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.
Looking towards the future, the AHS 2021 Garden Tour is scheduled for Saturday, June 12, 2021. We have five gardens in the Roswell/Alpharetta, Georgia area for you to tour. Without knowing when life will return to normalcy we believe we will be able to conduct the tour safely for our members. So much is learned each day about this virus.
Who knows what 2021 will bring, we hope you will continue to be a part of this wonderful group. With so many forms of social media supplying information, whether correct information or not, we at the American Hydrangea Society try our very best to supply factual and scientific information to our members. Thank you for choosing to be a member of the American Hydrangea Society.
Eva Kinney, AHS President