A 4x4 Platform 2

A Four by Four Platform

By Robert B. Martin Jr.

“The American Rose Society exists to promote the culture and appreciation of the rose, through education and research, to members, to local rose societies and their members, and to the public.” That is the mission statement of the American Rose Society. Our purpose is to promote roses through education. 

My vision of the future is that we should try a little harder to do a little better to carry out our educational mission. Specifically I have in mind a four by four platform:

1. Improve our Delivery of Educational Content

(1) Overhaul Our Website. The ARS website has had the same four boxes on the front page since June 2013. It is also exceptionally difficult to navigate. For example, I challenge a user to find the calendar of events. It is buried in fine print at the bottom of the front page. At the same time, clicking on the largest box at the top center of that page produces nothing. I served on the first Online committee for six years (1995-2000) and have maintained my own website at roseshow.com for 14 years. I believe there is a wealth of volunteer website talent within the ARS and that talent should be tapped to overhaul our website. 

(2) Revise the Articles on our Website. The articles that appear alphabetically on our website are dreary in their format, lack photographs and many are out of date. We should ask authors to update the articles, remove any that are out of date, and add articles including those that have been awarded the Award of Merit. I have authored more than 600 articles on roses, 45 of which have received the Award of Merit. Several of my articles are on the website, however I have never been asked to update those articles or to illustrate their content. The articles on the website also need to be formatted in an attractive manner and color pictures added. The ARS Facebook page should also regularly highlight articles and provide links.

(3) Improve the American Rose Magazine. Although the Magazine has improved in recent years, I believe we can do better by asking our Editorial Advisory Committee to actively seek out articles for publication with a high educational content about roses. I served on the Editorial Advisory Committee for six years (1995-2000) and have authored a record 39 articles in the Magazine, and 11 for the Annual. I know we can do better.

(4) There’s an App for ARS. There are 1.2 millions apps on the Apple App Store. There are even more available for Android users. None have any application to growing roses.  I believe we have the volunteer talent available to make an App that will advance our educational mission and encourage membership in the ARS.

2. Increase our Support of Local Societies

(1) Make Every Member a Member. We should make all members of local rose societies affiliate members of the American Rose Society at no additional charge. An affiliate member would receive monthly electronic delivery of ARS & You, access to the MR 12 database, and access to the Members Only Section of the website, including the quarterly publications. They would also receive a printable card with reciprocal garden privileges and periodic emails promoting regular membership in the ARS.

(2) Promote Local Society Membership. Individuals who become regular members and do not list a local society should be automatically referred to the nearest local society in their area based on zip code by direct email to that society’s membership coordinator.

(3) Consolidate and Deliver the White Book. The Guidelines for Local Society Leaders, aka the “White Book”, now maintained in eight pieces at an obscure corner of our website needs to be combined into one pdf publication that is automatically delivered to a local society whenever the society renews its membership.

(4) “Roses for Every Garden”. In 1937, J. Horace McFarland and Robert Pyle published a small book titled “How to Grow Roses” which promoted the American Rose Society and was widely circulated to local societies. It went through at least 24 printings. More recently, in 2011 Dr. Tommy Cairns authored a 44 page brochure sponsored by the Rose Hills Company and published by the ARS, titled “Growing Beautiful Roses.” Multiple copies of this book were distributed to local rose societies. The ARS should continue to make multiple copies of this book or a similar publication available to local societies each year for delivery to new members. 

3. Improve our Consulting Rosarian Program

(1) Make Consulting Rosarians Available to Consult. The practice of hiding CR email addresses on “privacy grounds” must be ended. CRs should be available to consult, should be identified on the ARS and district websites, and inquiries on roses directed to local CRs.

(2) Waive the Three-Year Requirement for Qualified Individuals. A CR must be a member of the ARS. However, the requirement of three prior years should be waived for qualified candidates, such as individuals who are Master Gardeners or have been active members of a local rose society for three years.

(3) Add Master Rosarians. The appointment of Master Rosarians who qualify varies greatly between districts and years. In the last three years, there have been 15 years in which districts have had none appointed. We need to encourage and assist our district CR Coordinators to seek out qualified candidates. And, we need to remove obstacles to their appointment such as opening the “window” for appointment to a narrow time frame each year, and requiring Master CRs to have participated in the Roses in Review program.

(4) Publish the Consulting Rosarian Manual. The excellent Consulting Rosarian Manual, updated in 2014, should be electronically published and made available to all CRs and prospective CRs, as well as the general public. I am the National Editor of Horizon Roses that I self publish for Kindle at Amazon.com. We should do the same thing with the CR Manual. We should also explore the electronic publication of the Handbook for Selecting Roses.

4. Support Our Local Rose Shows.

(1) Publicize our Calendar of Local Rose Shows. This can be done by making the calendar more visible on our website, and by adding a calendar and advance notice at the ARS Facebook page. I publish a calendar at roseshow.com that is based in part on the ARS calendar. Other information is obtained from examining local society websites. I have a list of societies that sponsor a show each year, which can serve as the backbone for that research.

(2) Reduce the Cost of Certificates and Awards. ARS rose show certificates are too expensive but still look cheap. I suggest we standardize the printing stock with logo and signature, and then and make available an electronic template that will permit societies to print their own. 

(3) Publish a Guide on How to Conduct a Rose Show. Such a guide would expand on the content of the White Book, as well as the series of articles by Don & Mary Meyer. That guide should be electronically delivered to the rose show contact whenever a rose show is calendared. As the Author of the book, “Showing Good Roses” and the long-time editor of Rose Exhibitors Forum, I could be instrumental in this effort.

(4) Publicize the Show Results. Other than my annual feature on top exhibition roses, the Magazine rarely runs articles about exhibiting. The website has little information on show results and you have to search to find a link to my website, roseshow.com that has published such results for 14 years. We need to do better.

My friends – I have been growing roses for 43 years. To learn more about roses, and to share what I have learned, I joined the American Rose Society. For the last 33 years, I have devoted my attention to the service of the American Rose Society at the national, district and local levels. My record of service to the rose – outlined in my campaign flyer – has few parallels. It has been recognized by my receipt of the 2009 ARS Klima Medal for my lifetime contribution to rose education, the 2007 ARS Guy Blake Hedrick Jr. Award for lifetime achievement in rose exhibiting, the ARS Silver Honor Medal for outstanding service to the Pacific Southwest District, and the ARS Bronze Medal for outstanding service to three local rose societies, including most recently the San Diego Rose Society.

I believe the American Rose Society needs effective communicators in order to carry out its mission to promote the culture and appreciation of the rose. I have demonstrated that I know roses and I am such a communicator. I ask for the opportunity to do continue my work as Vice President, and later as President of the American Rose Society.

Thank you for your support.