by Colby Feller, Northeast Region President.
A week has passed since hurricane Sandy blew through our Northeast region, so first and foremost, I hope this finds everyone safe, with minimal damage to your homes and gardens. On the Lower East Side of Manhattan where we live, the storm surge washed down the streets and cars floated by, but electric and heat have finally returned. I hope everyone is reading this by electric light in a warm home. During the deep winter months I will be pondering where to begin on the garden at a new home that my wife, Christine, and I are purchasing, an old Saltbox circa 1716 located in the historic district of Setauket, Long Island.
Right now, with winter approaching, tropical plants are cut back and brought into the cold room, flowers have gone to seed, the skeleton and foundation of the garden emerge more clearly. At this time of year our cherished conifers move to the forefront providing color and continuity while the rest of the natural world slumbers.
In many ways our Northeast Region is like a landscape, and as winter approaches I want to take a closer look at the foundation on which we are built. This is my first experience holding a position in an organization such as ours and I have truly begun to appreciate the amount of time and effort it takes to keep the ACS going. All of the fun stuff from plant sales, con-ventions, to Conifer Quarterly, requires the hard work of a dedicated group of folks. I will not attend a convention again and just sit back and take for granted the lectures, tours, and meals with friends, both old and new. I will wonder who composed a budget, made the phone calls, arranged plant donations, located tour gardens and vetted them in person beforehand, indeed, this sentence could run on. It’s clear that a core group of folks work ex-tremely hard to bring all of this about, and they deserve a tremendous THANK YOU!
I want to particularly highlight the hard work of Suzanne Mahoney, who took the lead on the NER meeting in Rockland, MA. On top of organizing a great and successful event for over 100 members, the Mahoneys’ also opened their garden and arranged for a wonderful lunch. Of course, there are many more people that deserve tremendous thanks, which would be an article (or three!), unto itself, and I intend to highlight their contributions in future Newsletters. During this season of giving and thanks, with fond memories of the NER meeting lingering in my mind, I would ask the membership for help; and one way to help is to consider joining the NER Advisory Board.
The board is composed entirely of volunteers, a few officers and is open to any member who wants to lend a helping hand. The Advisory Board meets twice a year: once at our annual meeting, and another time, in the winter, to break bread, discuss business matters, and plan the upcoming year. Members of the Advisory Board serve in a range of capacities. Whether you have been an ACS member for a month, or many years, your participation would be most welcome. Let me know if you’re interested or I can answer any questions.
Indeed, like our own gardens, there are the established specimens that add a sense of maturity and structure, but there is something to be said for the new additions. They often need some TLC to flourish, but with time, the garden as a whole develops an enhanced new form. Right now the weight of leadership falls on a few, and we need new specimens for our garden.
I would like to wish everyone a wonderful holiday season and express my appreciation to all who have helped me learn and grow as the new NER President. I look forward to exciting things in the New Year. – Colby Feller