I hope that you will find the diary that arrives with this newsletter useful. The first date that you may care to note in it is the 2004 annual show which will be held on Saturday 12th June at St Johns Church Harborne. Schedules will be sent out with the Journal in the Spring, but the classes will remain the same as this year. The only difference is that we would ask exhibitors to name the blooms or plants wherever possible. This is for the benefit of visitors to the show who may wish to know exactly what variety they are looking at. With increased visitor numbers this does become more important. I also am aware that it does have to be done amidst the hurley burley of staging; but it will give a finishing touch to the exhibits.
The AGM held in September was not so well attended as in previous years, however there was a respectable number of members present from various parts of the country. The committee were all due to retire, having done a three year stint. It will hardly surprise you to read that they were all duly re elected for a further three years. However, the call for new committee members did not fall flat as John Towning came forward to offer his services. Those of you who have visited the show will know that John is a fine grower and exhibitor, and yet remains modest and unassuming. It will be good the have another voice in meetings, so he is especially welcome. Ian Pickup of Bristol was elected as our new President. Both he and Sue have been enthusiastic members, and Ian has increasingly turned his talents towards the breeding of new varieties. Our Chairman is John Warmer, while Gerald Barber maintains the Society's funds and I continue to move paper as secretary. We are aided by committee members, Jannette Warmer, Ruth Barber and Sue Pickup.
The Society maintains a steady financial position, and so the subscriptions for 2004 will remain unchanged at a minimum of £5.00. We have recorded a slight drop in membership this year, the first since 1995! While this is not of epic proportions it is to be hoped that it is not the start of a downward trend. While I hope that all current members will renew next year perhaps there are friends or relations who might benefit from being introduced to the Society. We are much more catholic in our approach and welcome all who cherish any of the genus Viola. You may have noted on last years subscription form a list of preferences. It was interesting to note that an increasing number of members have interest in both Species and Sweet Violets. So if any members can spread the word a little it will be of great help to our future.
The current cultural guide issued by the Society is a somewhat spartan affair with the bare minimum of information. This has served its purpose, and it is proposed to replace it with a more substantial publication. I have undertaken the editorship, but I do want to be the editor and not the author. There is a great wealth of experience amongst the membership and I would like to see that reflected in the new guide. I would therefore ask every member to think about just how their plants are grown, favourite varieties and any little snippets of information that might interest other growers. There is no need to write an essay, notes will be fine, the editor will join up all of the bits. The aim is for a society publication produced by the society for both existing growers and hopefully encouraging those who have yet to discover the discrete charm of the Viola. There is no limit on time yet, but the Society has planned to mount a display at the Malvern Spring Show in 2005. This means that everything should be in draft publication form by next autumn. As winter approaches how about jotting any ideas down and sending them to me now so that I can make a start during the long dark nights. Anyone who wishes to go a little further and contribute to the 2004 Journal could you please let me have copy by the end of February. As ever all contributions are welcome. If you have not written before, take up the pen with confidence and think about sharing any thoughts or questions you may have with other members. 0ur show is so much better because of increased numbers of members exhibiting. 0ur Journal will likewise be so much better for a range of contributions.
I trust that everyone has cuttings and seedlings safely framed up for the winter. The hot summer has taken a toll, and I have lost a few varieties. The generosity of fellow growers means that I can expect replacements in the Spring. I shall be mounting a display of florists Violas and Pansies in Telford in early May when the NCCPG hold their AGM. You may or may not be aware that I hold a National Collection of these sorts. This is just a very small part of the great plant heritage and conservation work done by the NCCPG. If you are not already involved and think that you would like to know more do contact me and I will be happy to let you have information and joining details.
Finally I must take this opportunity to send you seasons greetings and wish you good health and spirit for the new year. Kind regards to one and all John Snocken
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Updated February 2004