University of British Columbia Rhododendron Species Collection
Roy L. Taylor, Director, U. B. C. Botanical Garden
Reprinted from University of British Columbia News Service
FIG. 41. Rhododendron taliense, the first
rhododendron to set roots in the
nursery, is given thorough and
expert treatment by Dr. Hender-
son (left) and President Gage.
On September 27th, the new Botanical Garden nursery was officially opened in the south campus of the University of British Columbia. The development marks the first major achievement of the new Botanical Garden program initiated in 1969. The nursery will be devoted to the propagation of new material for other garden components soon to be developed. In addition, the nursery will house the foundation collection of Rhododendron species.
To commemorate the opening of the nursery, Dr. Douglas M. Henderson, Regis Keeper of the Royal Botanic Garden of Edinburgh, planted the first Rhododendron of the species collection in the new site. The species was Rhododendron taliense, a plant obtained from the Younger Botanic Garden of Scotland in 1965. This species will be joined by nearly 300 additional species of the Rhododendron Species Collection at U. B. C.
The University Botanical Garden Rhododendron Species Collection was initiated in 1952 by Dr. T. M. C. Taylor and Dr. J. W. Neill when plans were made to bring a major collection of plants from the Royston Nursery on Vancouver Island. During 1952 and 1953, the owners of Royston Nursery, Ted and Mary Greig, donated 1,000 rhododendrons to the University of British Columbia. The collection was placed in a nursery sited in what is now Parking Lot A. The rhododendrons were used for both research and landscaping purposes on the campus.
In 1964, the University entered into an active program with the Rhododendron Species Foundation which resulted in the establishment of many new species in the collection. Recently, a new program has been initiated between the Botanical Garden and Vancouver Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society for the purpose of stimulating interest in rhododendron species and to enable the acquisition of species lacking in the collection. It is hoped that with the aid of these co-operative programs, the U. B. C. Botanical Garden can develop one of the most important collections of species suitable for cultivation in north temperate regions.
1967-68, the Rhododendron Species Collection was moved to the Department of Physical Plant nursery in the south campus. Plants were maintained in the nursery until the development of the Botanical Garden nursery was complete. All rhododendron species will be transferred to the Botanical Garden nursery for foundation stock. Hybrids will be maintained and propagated by the Department of Physical Plant for use in landscape plantings on campus. The Botanic Garden species collection will be used for research, teaching, breeding and propagation of new plant material. A special display garden will be established in the 30 acre Marine Drive Garden in the new garden development on the main campus. Rhododendrons will continue to form an important landscape element on the Point Grey campus.