2017/2018 Events

Meetings are held at 7:30pm  at Beban Park Recreation Centre, 2300 Bowen Road.

Guests are welcome to attend.

 September 14, 2017. First meeting of new season.  6:30 PM
 Early start for potluck finger food before the meeting.
 Paul Wurz – Creating a rhododendron garden

The presentation explores the changes that have taken place on our property over the past 45 years. Although they have few pictures of the early years, they have documented many of the changes that have taken place in the last 15-20 years. Hopefully, the talk will encourage the audience to monitor the growth and changes in their own gardens.

Paul Wurz is a retired school teacher who developed a serious interest in rhododendrons 25-30 years ago. Paul and his wife Lynn live on 8.6 acres just north of Campbell River. They have a small specialty rhododendron nursery and a large display garden called Hidden Acres Rhododendrons.  Most of the plants they sell are propagated on site. Paul is also very active in the North Island Rhododendron Society and has been president several times as well as a Bronze Medal recipient. Lynn is an avid collector of many plant cultivars including: dahlias, ferns, begonias and many other shade plants. Many of you will know Paul and Lynn’s garden through our annual bus tours.

October 12, 2017.   Ian Efford –Public Rhododendron Gardens of Vancouver Island

Dr. Ian Efford taught ecology at U.B.C. for 15 years before joining the federal Dept of Environment to direct its programs in energy conservation and renewable energy. After leaving government, he became a consultant on science policy and international development, particularly in Africa.
Now retired, Ian is an avid gardener with a keen interest in rhododendrons, irises and plant propagation. He is an active member and former president of the Cowichan Valley Rhododendron Society. In 2015, Ian published “The Public Rhododendron Gardens of Vancouver Island” (with Susan Lightburn as photograph editor).

November 9, 2017.  Geoff Ball – Intro to Milner Gardens & Update from the Species Garden 

Geoff is Executive Director of Milner Gardens & Woodland, a position he has held for eleven years. He has a B.Sc. in Microbiology from UBC and subsequently completed the Horticulture Technician Program at Malaspina University College. He worked as an instructor & technician in the Horticulture Technician Program until he moved to Milner to take on the role of Horticulturist in 1998. Geoff is currently president of the board of Gardens British Columbia.
His presentation will give an overview of Milner Gardens & Woodland and an update on the new species garden.

December 14, 2017  Christmas Potluck & Auction  6:30 PM

January 11, 2018.    Rose McCulley.  Mason Bees.

My presentation outline will be “how to get your yard started with the amazing Mason Bees – this will include from the beginning to the end of the Mason Bee season.
My normal seminar is 2 to 2 ½ hours, but due to your time limit it, will be much shorter – more like a “Reader’s Digest” version. I will also have a sales table which is wonderful, thank you.
As for a short bio: I first got interested in pollination about 10 years ago when we first arrived in Nanaimo from Victoria. We found our dream home and I wanted a garden and needed pollination.
After doing some research, I realized that Mason Bees would be my best option since we had just lost a large portion of our honey bees – which in turn led to our Mason Bee business.
I started a breeding program and now have 80 people growing bees for me. We sell Mason Bee boxes, tubes, cocoons, books and I give seminars.
We attend as many Seedy Saturdays and Sundays as possible. Any group that invites us for a seminar, I offer to return and do a hands-on cocoon washing workshop in October. We have been dubbed- “Mason Bee Specialists” – it’s a free title so I’ll take it – smile!
Enjoy the seminar & bring your questions.
Rose McCulley  J&R Farm  2370 Godfrey Road.

February 8, 2018.  Ann Allen & Ian Duncan  Wildflowers of Switzerland & Austria by bike

Members of the Victoria Rhododendron Society, Ann & Ian will present on their tour of Switzerland and Austria by bicycle.  The five week trip provided a wondrous
array of forest and lakeside trails, wildflowers, panoramic views, river paths winding
ahead and constant interruptions for “Photo Stops”.

March 8, 2018.  Diana Walker – Growing Clematis

A member of our club, Diana moved to Nanaimo in 2000.  She acquired a much smaller garden with one clematis in very bad shape which she brought back to life and which she blames as the start of her obsession, as the total count in her urban garden is now at 166. They are literally draped around, hanging from, climbing on, and winding through anything and everything she can find. There is always room for one more!!
She graduated from the Master Gardener course at VIU in 2008 and completed the Advanced MG Course at Van Dusen Gardens in 2014.

April 6 & 7  Rhododendron Species Symposium
Hosted by the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden.  Click here to go to RSF website.

April 12, 2018.  Both speakers bringing plants for sale

Lois Blackmore: “The Birds and the Bees” – The Art, Research, and Science of Hybridizing
Lois Blackmore and her husband Roy live on a large, mountainous and rocky property on Triangle Mountain in Langford. They have been fortunate to become friends with Jim Barlup, a world-renowned rhododendron hybridizer from Bellevue, Washington. This friendship has blossomed into an extensive collection of Barlup hybrids, both on their property and in many containers located on an expansive deck overlooking the western foothills.
The Blackmore’s association with Barlup hybrids is well established. At her first American Rhododendron Society Conference in 2003, Lois bought five small plants. Unknowingly, the plants were all Barlup hybrid rhododendrons, and as they began to bloom, she realized that there was something special about them.
Many Barlup hybrids can now be found in gardens in and around Victoria, but Blackmore’s garden contains the largest number of them in existence today.

Lloyd Gilmore: Propagating Rhododendrons
Lloyd is a skilled rhodo propagator from the Victoria Rhododendron Society and will share his extensive knowledge with members. “I have had a strong interest in plants my whole life. My first serious hybridization started about 40 years ago with orchids. After moving back to the island about 20 years ago, I read an article by John Lofthouse on his rhododendron hybrids and visited him four or five times over the next few years in the Oakridge area of Vancouver. I have always liked rhododendrons so a new passion evolved.”

April 22, 2018.  Official opening of the Greig Species Rhododendron Garden at Milner Gardens & Woodland  1 PM

May 10, 2018.  Annual General Meeting.
John Brimacombe –  Pacific Northwest Palm & Exotic Plant Society: Not just palms, but a palette & a paradigm

John is vice-president of the Pacific Northwest Palm & Exotic Plant Society and lives in Vancouver.  He will be speaking on the practical use of hardy palms & other exotics (such as hardy succulents, citrus and eucalyptus) to create Mediterranean or subtropical style gardens outdoors in coastal BC (hardiness zones 7b – 9). John is a retired physics teacher who has been dabbling in Mediterranean style gardening for over 30 years, and  president of the Pacific Northwest Palm & Exotic Plant Society for 6 years

May 12, 2018.  25th annual Flower show & Plant sale.

May 20-27, 2018  International Rhododendron Conference, Bremen
(Click here to go to conference web page.)

June 16, 2018. 4:30 PM Wind-up garden party hosted by Chris Southwick.

September 13, 2018.  TBA

October 11, 2018.  Harry Burton – apples

October 28, 2018.  Rhododendron miniconference, Parksville.
The theme is “Navigating Garden Myths” 
Because seating is limited, participants are urged to register early by sending a cheque to 2018 Conference, mailed to MARS PO Box 342 Qualicum Beach V9K 1S8.

Click here to go to conference page on MARS website for full details.


September 27 – 29, 2019 ARS Fall Conference, Parksville


Comments are closed.