NARGS 2021 Year-End Report Letter


A Look Back to 2021

Rock gardeners possess a sort of magic wand in our art that has guided and perhaps protected us through the COVID-19 era of the last two years (and counting). Our gardens, troughs, and seed pots (not to mention our fellow gardeners) have provided a haven from the plague that those who aren’t so connected to Nature may not have. Those of us who love to travel found time to catch up on neglected chores at home, and through the mixed blessing of Zoom, have found powerful new ways to connect and communicate with friends near and far. NARGS had the temerity to even schedule a LIVE annual meeting (“Edge of the Rockies”) last August in Durango, Colorado, with over 200 participants and local volunteers that was a resounding success.

Despite COVID-19, the year 2021 has so far been a good financial year for NARGS; however, we will still be dependent on membership renewals and year-end donations to cover our expenses for the remainder of 2021 to get 2022 started. The Crevices and Woodlanders study days were great successes and brought us new members and additional funding. Continued postponement of the Traveling Speakers Tour cut our expected expenses. Postponement of the members’ Tours and Adventures program for 2021 because of COVID-19 has, however, left a financial hole as the year closes. We intend to return to both activities—in much the same fashion—as soon as feasible. Whether we can regain some of our tour revenue in 2022 remains uncertain.
There were no NARGS tours in 2021 due to ongoing concerns about COVID-19. However, there are three tours planned in 2022, organized by David White (North Carolina). These include a three-day tour of the Adirondacks in upstate New York, a twelve-day tour of the Bernese Oberland region of the Swiss Alps (currently full), and a seventeen-day tour of Argentine Patagonia. The Adirondacks tour is scheduled for June 12 - 14 (immediately before the Annual General Meeting in Ithaca) and will open for registration at the same time as registration for the AGM, planned in January. Registration is currently open for the Argentina tour, which is scheduled for November 28 – December 14, 2022. If you would like more information about these tours, have suggestions for future tours, or would like to join the Tours and Adventures Committee, send an email to nargstours /A/
The Traveling Speakers Program will emerge from pandemic-induced dormancy in 2022, starting with talks planned from the spring though the fall 2022. The program is funded by an anonymous, generous donor and headed by Rosemary Monahan (Massachusetts). Our website and the Quarterly will contain details of the 2022 program. Or check with your local chapter leadership for speakers in your area.

Seed Exchange

Preparation for the 2021 - 2022 Seed Exchange has been going on for the past few months, led by Laura Serowicz (Michigan), Joyce Fingerut (Connecticut), and the many chapter members who volunteer to sort, pack, and mail the seeds that you order. Under the duress of the COVID-19 restrictions, the Siskiyou Chapter (Oregon) and the Great Lakes Chapter (Michigan) volunteers safely handled a total of 824 orders (an increase over last year’s 771) for the 2020 - 2021 Seed Exchange. After which, thirty chapters received a portion of the remaining seed to share among all their chapter members, as well as some community groups. After months of preparation, the 2021-2022 Seed Exchange is now in progress with Main Round ordering beginning December 15th. The Delaware Valley Chapter has stepped up and volunteered to handle the Main Distribution for the next two years, and the Great Lakes will do the Surplus Round once again. We are very grateful to all the seed donors and chapter members and volunteers who have made the Seed Exchange the successful asset that draws in new members each year.

...and Look Forward to 2022

Annual General Meeting Ithaca 2022

Looking ahead to 2022, the Adirondack Chapter is hosting the NARGS annual meeting in Ithaca, New York, on the campus of Cornell University (June 14 – 16) and spearheaded by Carol Eichler (New York). The conference is titled “Alpine Visions: Exploration and Inspiration.” Information has been published in the Rock Garden Quarterly with registration opening in January 2022.

RGQ Redesign

Joseph Tychonievich (Indiana) is excited that the journal is still evolving and growing. As you will see in the January (winter) 2022 issue, Matt Mattus (Massachusetts) and Joseph have finished a redesign of the look of the Quarterly’s cover and pages, and there are new projects in the works. The summer 2022 issue is going to be a special extra-length issue focused on the basics of rock gardening for beginners to serve as a tool to introduce this wonderful form of gardening to new growers. That is, this will be a new “Beginners” handbook.

Website News

Our past president (and current webmaster) Elisabeth Zander (Connecticut) inaugurated the first Winter Webinars (virtual conferences) via Zoom that have garnered a tremendous international audience. The conference recordings will remain on the website for ticket holders to view at their leisure. Gradually after two years, they will all be free for the entire membership. Some talks, like those from the Durango 2021 Annual General Meeting, are currently free now to all members. Have you checked them out yet? We thank all those panelists who made these programs possible. And we plan to present two more virtual conferences this winter 2022: January 15 (succulent plants) and February 19 (meadows). They may be viewed live but will be recorded for later viewing.

The NARGS website is in the midst of a complicated software upgrade from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9, a website content management system. In addition to publishing the Rock Garden Quarterly on the website, we have added custom programming for our Tours and Adventures and also tapes of our virtual conferences. We anticipate easier future access to these events on our website.

Your Continued Financial Support is Appreciated

Each year many of us have watched as this or that magical woodlot where we once marveled at the trilliums or trout lilies transform into another subdivision. Our gardens are a haven for forms of all manner of choice plants, even whole species that may no longer be found in the wild. Gardens become an anthology of plants one cannot live without—and for many of us our fellow gardeners we meet at chapter meetings or at Study Weekends and Annual meetings become as precious. These are a sort of family gathering—a family that one picks rather than one you happen to be born into! We believe the extended family of NARGS, with your help, will embrace new generations of gardeners who will be committed to preserving Nature in the wild, and cherishing her wildlings in our home gardens. Your year-end gift will accelerate this vision and help it come about. Should you have any questions or concerns, please get in touch with us via our CONTACT form located top right on our home page,
Under the pandemic relief program (CARES Act), U.S. taxpayers can deduct up to $300 and those filing “married filing jointly” up to $600 given to a nonprofit organization and take the standard deduction as well. NARGS is a qualified 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Taxpayers who donate up to $300 or $600, as appropriate, now can typically deduct that amount in addition to taking the standard deduction. Individual taxpayers are eligible for their cash only (credit card, check) donations in the spring when they file their return for 2021. Consult your tax professional for further details. Act now before the year closes. Help us balance our budget. This deduction may not be around for 2022.
Your continuing individual membership helps support the seed exchange, annual meetings and study weekends, traveling speakers, and our publication, The Rock Garden Quarterly. However, your membership dues don’t fully cover these activities that you value. We hope you will make a donation on-line  You may donate on-line using your credit card or your PayPal account. Or you may donate by check in U.S. funds (payable to NARGS) or by mailing credit card information to: NARGS, POB 18604, Raleigh, NC 27619-8604 USA.
Thank you for helping NARGS remain a champion of the North American gardening community.

Administrative Committee
Panayoti Kelaidis, President
Todd Boland, Vice President
Richard Lane, Treasurer
Brendan Kenney, Director-at-Large
Sarah Strickler, Recording Secretary

Board of Directors
Cyndy Cromwell
Brendan Kenney
Jerry Rifkin
Edward Glover
John Willis
Susan Schnare
Tony Avent
Mariel Tribby
Peter Zale
Betty Anne Spar, Past President
and Staff