Spring, and another growing season is upon us. I hope that all of your viola collections, large or small, are in good condition. This is always a time for optimism and expectation; and I am looking forward to a year in which, hopefully, the Society will achieve two things. The first is a modest increase in membership; the second is to see more violas on the Show bench from a larger number of exhibitors. Both of these issues I have given further space to later in this journal, but both are important to the continuing welfare of the Society.
A subscription form is enclosed with this issue, and I hope that all existing members will renew their membership. Although there has been an increase in the annual amount, I am sure that you will agree that it remains good value. The subscription is one of, if not the lowest for any National Floral Society. The reasons for this are really twofold. Our most able Treasurer, Gerald Barber manages to keep running costs to a minimum. Secondly the generosity of a number of members, both in terms of financial and of time.
Postage remains a large outgoing, and will always remain so. However, while on this subject. I have been made aware that a number of members had to pay an excess charge, and make a journey in order to receive the last newsletter and diary. I have spent a good deal of time trying to get some sort of answer from the Post Office. The envelopes were weighed, and for convenience sake were overpaid for the 2nd Class rate. Someone at the sorting office took it upon themselves to declare them underpaid 1st Class. My question "Why did they not then go 2nd Class, after all if they were not marked 1st Class" has met with a stonewall response, and the most cursory of apologies. I trust that you will have all received this without any such trouble.
I hope that there will be something of interest for all in this edition. I try to reflect the facts that we are now a Society that is interested in all aspects of the genus Viola, and that our membership is spread the length and breadth of the country.
As ever I make my annual plea for contributions on any aspect of violas and pansies. I should very much like to experience compiling and editing. As much as I enjoy writing I am aware of the need for this publication to be a channel for the ideas and experiences of a wide number of growers. This is a genuine plea for more members to forsake the potting bench for the writing desk for just a little time, in order to make a contribution.
It is with great sadness that I must report the passing of Richard Cawthorne. His contribution to both the conservation and furtherance of the genus viola can never be underestimated. An appreciation of his work is printed in this journal. It is a precis of a much longer article written for Plant Heritage, and is reproduced here by kind permission of Mr Gerald Goddard.
Finally I have reproduced an historical article that I found in one of my many trawls through the horticultural shelves of bookshops. It is a very early piece circa 1840. No author is given, but it does make for an interesting comparison with modern cultural methods.