JARS v51n1 - Vancouver '97 - Where East Meets West

Vancouver '97 - Where East Meets West
Ray Talbot
West Vancouver, British ColumbiaCanada

Welcome to "Vancouver '97 - Where East Meets West." In 1970 the Vancouver Rhododendron Society hosted the first ARS Annual Convention ever held outside the United States. In 1979 once again Vancouver was honoured to be host city for the ARS convention. Now, this year, we are looking forward to hosting you once again in Vancouver to celebrate the 52nd Annual Convention of the American Rhododendron Society, May 7-11, 1997.

We have a dazzling choice of events for you to enjoy: speakers from around the world to listen to; an amazing selection of gardens for you to see; superb plants to buy; a photography contest to enter; old friends to meet and new ones to discover - all in the idyllic setting of the Westin Bayshore resort on the shores of Burrard Inlet. This lovely waterfront complex has been our meeting place on each previous occasion that we have hosted the convention. Previous visitors here may not recognise the hotel with its newly completed facilities and decor. The stunning views across the water to Stanley Park and the snow-capped Coast Mountains are even finer than before, and we are confident everyone will be delighted with the luxurious rooms, lounges and resort atmosphere.

If you were in Vancouver for previous conventions, you will be amazed at all the changes. Celebrating 100 years since its incorporation as a city in 1886, Vancouver's World Fair, Expo '86, invited the world to come and discover this vibrant city on the Pacific coast. The world came and has been coming back in increasing numbers ever since. New buildings and redevelopment brought increased trade, tourism and immigration. Vancouver went into the '90s with a great flourish and has not looked back.

Today Vancouver has become both the physical and cultural crossroads between East and West. Tourists come in the thousands, from across North America, from Europe, from Asia and the South Pacific to enjoy the unique blend of cosmopolitan amenities, natural splendours and cultural attractions to be found in this spectacular city.

As a bustling port of 1.7 million and a hub for Pacific trade, Vancouver enjoys a rich ethnic diversity. Here you will discover the second largest Chinatown west of the Rockies. It is a fascinating area with much to see, including the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden. This tranquil haven, the first Ming Dynasty garden built outside China, was constructed by craftsmen brought from China for this purpose.

There is so much to see and to do - old Gastown with its boutiques, restaurants, antique stores, art galleries and quaint old Steamclock; picturesque Granville Island with its unique shops, waterfront restaurants, theatres, and the Granville Island Public Market, stocked with everything from Tai lemon grass to Fraser Valley strawberries and B.C. oysters. Museums and interpretive centres such as Science World with its Omnimax theatre, the Planetarium, the magnificent new civic library (complete with sushi bar), the new General Motors Place stadium - are but a few city highlights.

Vancouver Planetarium
The Planetarium.
Sketch by Janet Primmett

The new Ford Centre for the performing arts adds a new dimension to the theatre scene. At convention time the Vancouver Opera presents The Mikado May 10-13,15, and the Vancouver Symphony holds performances May 11-12.

Getting around is easy. There is a good bus system, or you can take a Skytrain, a SeaBus, a trolly, a mini ferry, a horse and buggy, even a Skyride! For a "do-it-yourself" tour there's a British double-decker bus which will take you to major city sights. Tickets are valid for two days and allow you to board anytime and to hop on and off as many times as you wish.

Vancouver's scenery is unmatched as are its recreational opportunities. No matter what the season, you can golf, sail, bike, hike and kayak. In winter there is snow skiing at three different mountains on the North Shore, with world class Whistler/Blackcomb (voted North America's best ski resort) just a 90-minute drive from Vancouver on the breathtaking Sea-to-Sky highway. The Blackcomb Ski area will be in daily operation until May 26th.

Cruise boat heads out to sea under
the Lions Gate Bridge.
Cruise boat heads out to sea under the Lions Gate Bridge.
Sketch by Janet Primmett

Just a short walk from the hotel is the lovely wooded playground of Stanley Park, one of the largest urban parks in North America. In 1889, Lord Stanley, Governor General of Canada, dedicated 1,000-acre Stanley Park "to the use and enjoyment of people of all colours, creeds and customs for all time..." A picturesque drive encircles the park with various stops at viewpoints along the way. This lovely rainforest peninsula has lakes and beaches, beautiful gardens, including the Ted and Mary Greig Rhododendron Garden, the Vancouver Aquarium, tennis courts, playing fields and miles of trails. The six-mile seawall pathway starts close to the doors of the Westin Bayshore hotel. This scenic path goes right underneath the Lions Gate Bridge and around the perimeter of the park. It is a mecca for walkers, joggers and cyclists. During the convention "earlybird walks" will head for the park. Across the Lions Gate Bridge on the North Shore three mountain playgrounds offer skiing in winter and sightseeing, picnicking and hiking in summer. Cypress Provincial Park has both downhill and cross country skiing areas and many summer hiking trails. This rugged mountain park is home to Rhododendron albiflorum and some magnificent old trees. Rugged mountain trails lead to some of the mid mountain "snow forests" where ancient 1,000-year-old yellow cedars ( Chamaecyparis nootkatensis ), western hemlocks, and mountain hemlocks, some over 800 years old, can be seen. An easier way to see one of the big trees is to drive up the Cypress Park road; near the top one can park right beside a 1,200-year-old yellow cedar. The road has some superb viewpoints with magnificent vistas across the city to the waters of Georgia Strait and the Gulf Islands.

This spectacular city by the sea offers dining for all tastes. You can indulge your taste buds in our unique West Coast cuisine, or try one of the many delightful specialty restaurants representing just about every country of the world. There are many internationally acclaimed restaurants such as Star Anise, recently voted top rating by readers of Gourmet Magazine. You can even breakfast with the whales at the Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park! Or try out any one of hundreds of cozy cappuccino bars.

A whale.
A whale.
Sketch by Janet Primmett

Vancouver is easily reached by air with over 17 major international airlines serving the Vancouver International Airport. Airporter buses serve all the major hotels including the Westin Bayshore, departing approximately every 15 minutes.

Our convention hotel, the Westin Bayshore, lies on the shores of scenic Coal Harbour, surrounded by pleasure and cruise boats at the waterfront marinas. You will find everything here from restaurants to boutiques and a splendid health club with saunas, whirlpool, gym, and swimming pool. The marina can arrange fishing trips or dinner cruises, and the hotel's complimentary shuttle bus will take you uptown and back whenever you wish.

Convention activities include a flower show which you will find in the hotel's Cowichan Room. Everyone is invited to bring their best trusses for display. This will be a non-competitive show, designed to display the very best we have in our gardens.

The plant sale will have an exciting collection of plants coming from a variety of local growers. There will be a great selection of rhododendrons and azaleas, both species and hybrids, including unique Northwest hybrids developed locally such as 'Burnaby Centennial'. Kalmias, perennials and an assortment of attractive shrubs and trees, such as Japanese maples, will also be found. A complete list of the selections available will be included in the registration package. Canadian Department of Agriculture plant inspectors will be available to issue certificates for American and overseas visitors.

Don't forget to bring us your favourite photos of rhododendrons or azaleas for the Photo Competition. Both black and white or colour photos are eligible for the two classes: Close-up and Landscape. Photographs will be judged for technical expertise and artistic expression. We have great prizes for both categories and a special prize for the People's Choice.

Visit the Discovery Room at the hotel and enjoy the art display. Original watercolours by local botanical artists and ceramic pots, the work of some of our talented members, will be on sale here, and the lovely rhododendron painting by renowned artist Mary Comber-Miles, generously donated by her for our grand raffle, will be on display. A splendid selection of gardening books will also be available.

Program and Speakers

The convention will be opened on Wednesday evening, May 7th, by Bruce Macdonald , Director of the University of British Columbia Botanic Garden, of which the most prominent feature is the Asian Garden, filled with species rhododendrons. Our first featured speaker will immediately follow. This is Professor Richard Pearson , a highly distinguished archaeologist at UBC, who has also been a plant explorer in East Asia and the Pacific, is a keen gardener in the Vancouver area and is a dynamic speaker when he talks about plants in the wild and also emphasizes their geographical and anthropological contexts. His title is "Rhododendrons and Their Home in Asia's Misty Mountains," and his talk is likely to be as poetic as its title.

A busy day of tours on Thursday will be rounded off with an exhilarating Theme Night. After a special "East Meets West" buffet dinner, the featured speaker will be Chris Brickell , one of the most renowned names in modern horticulture. A past curator at Wisley in England, retired Secretary General of the Royal Horticultural Society, current president of the English Alpine Garden Society, recipient of the Victoria Medal of Honour by the RHS and the George Robert White Medal of Honour by the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, Commander of the British Empire in the Queen's Birthday Honours List, plant explorer, and the author of more horticultural works than we are able to list here, Chris will speak on "A Chinese Odyssey: Plant Hunting in Yunnan."

Friday is the day for lectures and for the ARS annual meeting and luncheon to which everyone is warmly invited. There will be six lecturers in all on this day, who will speak in the morning in two concurrent sessions and then again in the afternoon, when some will repeat their morning lectures for those who selected other options earlier and others will give new lectures. The speakers are: Hideo Suzuki , one of the best known and most well informed authorities internationally on both Japanese rhododendrons and maples, president of the Japanese Rhododendron Society and a director of the Royal Horticultural Society, who will speak on "A Selection of Japanese Rhododendrons and Maples"; The Lady Anne Berry , former chairman of the International Dendrology Society, who created the famous garden at Rosemoor in Devon, England, and then donated it to the Royal Horticultural Society as a western counterpart of Wisley, and who now, with her husband Bob, is the proprietor of Hackfalls Arboretum in New Zealand, will speak - with a most appropriate East Meets West theme - on "Amateur Gardening Experiences: Rosemoor and Hackfalls"; Dr. Charles Nelson , an authority on Irish gardens and plants, senior research botanist and horticultural taxonomist for nearly 20 years at the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, just outside Dublin, will speak on "Irish Gardens and Their Plants" in the morning and "The Burren," especially of interest to those keen on alpines or wildflowers, in the afternoon; Dick Van Hoey-Smith , proprietor of the famous Trompenburg Arboretum in Rotterdam, Holland, which specializes in Rhododendron , Quercus , Ilex , Japanese maples, Sempervivum and succulent Euphorbia , one of the founding members and currently president of the International Dendrology Society, will speak on "Arboretum Trompenburg, Rotterdam and Its Rhododendrons"; Peter Wharton , curator of the David C. Lam Asian Garden, a 15-acre woodland garden in an existing native coastal forest, with an extensive collection of species rhododendrons, which is part of the UBC Botanic Garden, will discuss "Rhododendron Species for Larger Landscapes in the Pacific Northwest"; and Dan Hinkley , who presently gardens on 7.5 acres on the North Kitsap Peninsula across Puget Sound from Seattle, and with his partner Robert Jones operates a small mail order nursery called Heronswood, who though he has deliberately remained a generalist, has his greatest interest in trees, shrubs and vines, which he assimilates into his garden of unusual herbaceous perennials - Dan will speak on "Tree and Shrub Companions for Rhododendrons in the Shaded Garden" in the morning, and on "Unusual Herbaceous Plants for the Shaded Garden" in the afternoon.

On Friday evening be sure not to miss our gala Sunset Dinner Cruise on Vancouver's only authentic paddle wheeler, the M.P.V. Constitution. This fascinating double decker-vessel departs just outside the hotel at 6 p.m. We will cruise the waters of Vancouver Harbour, sail west out under Lions Gate Bridge into English Bay to cruise the waterfront of West Vancouver, enjoying the sun setting over Vancouver Island whilst enjoying a super buffet dinner.

Saturday, like Thursday, will be a day for garden tours, to be followed by the Saturday evening banquet. Our speaker for this festive evening will be the New York born Nova Scotian Professor Walter Ostrom , who is chair of the Craft Division and head of the Ceramics Department at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax, and who has developed a garden on the coast of Nova Scotia which concentrates on plants native to that province, especially lepidote rhododendrons. Returning from several months teaching in China, his banquet lecture is entitled "Developing a Garden on the North Atlantic," the pitfalls and triumphs of which should strike a note of sympathy among people gardening in the harsher climate of the North Atlantic seaboard.

The final morning, Sunday, before the official convention closing at noon, the Hybridizer's Round Table will take place with Don Martyn as moderator, and, concurrently, two final lectures: Walter Ostrom, assuming he has enough strength following his banquet lecture the evening before, will speak on "Seaside Rhododendrons"; Chris Brickell will then pick up where Lady Anne Berry left off on Friday, to speak about Rosemoor since the RHS acquisition of it - "Rosemoor - Present and Future."

Gardens and Tours

A wide selection of tours have been carefully chosen to demonstrate the diversity of this far western region with its mountains, rivers and sea. Most of these are private gardens belonging to members of Mainland chapters, several carved painstakingly from the wilderness. These gardens contain an amazing collection of plants, species and hybrid rhododendrons, many hybridized right here in the Pacific Northwest, some by members of our local chapters, and rare species discovered recently in China by local plantsmen, plus many old favourites. Some of our members garden on steep mountainsides, others on the banks of the mighty Fraser River, in the woods and farmlands of the great Fraser Delta, or by the seashore.

Be sure to register early as some tours are strictly limited so we must operate on a first come, first served basis. Also PLEASE NOTE - Free raffle tickets will be sent to the first 250 people to register!

If you want more than gardens, then we have tours to show off the highlights of our Pacific coast city, and the magnificent vistas to be seen from the North Shore mountains on the far side of the Inlet, or a fascinating visit to old Fort Langley.


The VanDusen Botanical Garden , started in 1971, is located on the higher slopes of Vancouver. A vast selection of plants representing various areas of the world are planted in a series of special gardens. Of particular interest is the Sino-Himalayan garden, which at 450 feet is one of the highest points in Vancouver, with lovely views of the city and North Shore Mountains. The theme is a rhododendron woodland and features a fine collection of species grouped to give the impression of a natural hillside in China. Collections of Primula and Meconopsis enhance the plantings. A collection of hybrid rhododendrons and companion plants is found along and adjacent to the rhododendron walk.

Captain George Vancouver at Point
Grey, 1792.
Captain George Vancouver at Point Grey, 1792.
Sketch by Janet Primmett

Set on a spectacular promontory known as Point Grey (named by Captain George Vancouver during his search for the elusive Northwest Passage in 1792), the David C. Lam Asian Garden was started within the confines of the UBC Botanical Gardens in 1975. The garden covers some 35 acres; 17 have been developed to date. The native West Coast setting of western red cedar, hemlock, grand fir and Douglas fir provide a protective cover for a superb collection of species plants of Asian origin. These include some 400 different species, subspecies, varieties and forms of rhododendrons, one of the largest collections in North America. Many of these plants have come from the wild. Curator Peter Wharton has collected seed and plants in China and Korea. A fine collection of understory trees, shrubs and vines include some lovely species Magnolia , Davidia involucrata (the handkerchief or dove tree), various Stewartia , Gingko biloba , to name but a few. Massed plantings of bulbs and perennials such as Meconopsis , Primula and lilies add colour and interest as do the many vines and climbers to be seen climbing with abandon up and over many of the big trees and shrubs.

Old Fort Langley
Old Fort Langley.
Sketch by Janet Primmett


Situated on the banks of the Fraser River, the charming village of Fort Langley is the birthplace of British Columbia. Here in November 1858 Governor James Douglas established British Columbia as a Crown colony and Fort Langley became the first capital. The Big House where the ceremony took place has now been reconstructed as the centrepiece of an 8-hectare national historic site. Step inside the palisade and one experiences the sounds, smells and activities of life during the fur trade and the gold rush at a Hudson's Bay Company trading post. The village of Fort Langley itself is an historian's delight. St. George's Anglican church has been in use since 1901. A charming gothic-style church with fine stained glass windows, it has one of the finest interiors in the Fraser Valley; heritage houses, museums, antiques and curio shops, gift and clothing stores, art galleries as well as some delightful restaurants will be found here, and the tour allows ample time for exploration and cosy dining. This tour concludes with a visit to a local winery.


South across the Fraser River is a lovely rural area where many of our members garden. On this tour we visit four of these gardens. Darts Hill is a lovely 7.5-acre garden of exotic and rare plants with over 3,000 different species and over 2,000 trees and shrubs including a fine collection of both species and hybrid rhododendrons. The garden was started in 1943 by Ed and Francesca Dart . It began as an orchard and was replaced by an ever increasing number of trees, shrubs and perennials. Francesca fell in love with species rhododendrons at a show; hybrids were included later. Magnolias are a particular love, and Francesca has many lovely species and is now planting a magnolia walk which will have rhododendrons on the perimeter. Francesca has developed a "passion" for propagating plants from seed and grows several hundred new plants each year. She is renowned at chapter meetings for her delightful "show and tell" sessions when she shows us some of the lovely plants she grows. The Darts gave Darts Hill Garden to the people of Surrey in 1993. Francesca continues to plan and plant new areas amongst the lovely mature trees and shrubs. This is a wonderful opportunity to see one of the most admired private gardens in British Columbia.

Darts Hill Garden, Surrey
Darts Hill, Surrey.
Photo by Paddy Wales

Back in the '50s a tract of wild forest was transformed into a 5-acre garden by Murray Stephen and his wife, Lydia Gyde. They called it The Glades. They planted many exotic trees and shrubs, but rhododendrons and azaleas were their passion. Now owned by Jim and Lefriede DeWolf , they are revitalizing this lovely old garden. A collection of splendid specimen trees and shrubs provide shelter for the collection of rhododendrons and azaleas in a garden once called "one of the finest arboretums in the Pacific Northwest."

Close by is a delightful example of how the native forest can be tamed. Evelyn and Al Morton's garden is a picturesque rhododendron haven today, but a lot of hard work went into its creation. They acquired their heavily wooded property in the mid '60s and began clearing and planting. Ev, a lady of enormous energy, not only worked at clearing and planting but was also chief assistant to the neighbouring carpenter who built their house. Al assisted on weekends. They now have a house and a garden which is totally "them." Many of the original rhododendrons that Ev brought in were from the Goddard Nursery, a well-known Victoria firm specializing in the new hybrids of the day such as 'Virginia Richards' and 'Odee Wright'. These are now lovely mature specimens, some almost like trees. Al has built raised beds to insure perfect drainage and new plants have been added over the years. Ev's brick patio and shade house enhance the delightful forest garden scene.

The Morton Garden, Surrey
The Morton garden, Surrey.
Photo by Paddy Wales

The garden of Arnim and Mary Roeske demonstrates the remarkable tenacity of garden enthusiasts. The 5-acre property was purchased in 1986 and is located on the fringe of a former gravel pit from which most of the topsoil had been removed. Topsoil had to be brought in and an appropriate mix was provided for each group of plants. In addition weed control and moisture retention has been accomplished through the use of a thick layer of cedar shavings. Water is very short in the area and high winds are a major problem. By mulching to a depth of 6 to 10 inches, most of the plants do well without watering. Despite the open exposure, severe winds and lack of water, the garden now flourishes with a lovely collection of rhododendrons fast getting added protection from some fine young trees and shrubs.


(PLEASE NOTE: The two gardens to be seen in Lions Bay are located on steep mountain slopes - only those who are sure of foot should register for this tour.) The splendid drama of Howe Sound and its surrounding mountains is the setting for Richard and Heather Mossakowski's spectacular property. Sited on a rock ridge on the western slopes of the Lions, the garden is home to a remarkable collection of some 1,300 species rhododendrons and azaleas.

Close by is the property of Joe and Joanne Ronsley , another lovely mountainside garden - home to an inspiring collection of some 1,000 rhododendrons and azaleas charmingly sited in the native forest. (Detailed description of both these Lions Bay gardens can be found in the Fall 1996 issue of the Journal under the title "Rhododendrons in the Canadian Rainforest,".) Two West Vancouver gardens from Tour E will be included in this tour.


The gardens to be seen in West Vancouver are located on the lower slopes of the North Shore mountains, often in natural forest settings with lovely views over English Bay or Howe Sound. Geri and Michael Barnes have a lovely woodland garden of approximately one-third acre. Native conifers provide the canopy and a collection of rhododendrons - mostly species - establish the theme and structure of the garden. Many deciduous trees of Magnolia , Cornus and Acer , together with shrubs of Ribes , rose and Viburnum soften and give seasonal interest. The Barnes have been collecting rhododendrons over 15 years. Wide grass paths lead through the garden and on to the decks where many of the small leaf rhododendrons have been assembled in a pot collection. Geri Barnes is a Vancouver landscape designer.

Two acres of lovely forest is the setting for Stan Fleischman's garden. Located on a steep west facing slope, the garden drops 60 feet to a creek at the base. Densely forested with a stand of chiefly western red cedar and hemlock when Stan bought the property, the site required much clearing to get started. Then Stan brought in a few hundred truckloads of fill and tons of rock. A back-hoe was used to terrace the area and retain the soil with walls of rock. In addition the rock was used to construct a series of waterfalls dropping down the slope through several shallow ponds. Some 350 species and hybrid rhododendrons and azaleas have been planted throughout the garden, and a lovely second story has been provided by magnolias and various different trees and shrubs, interplanted amongst the woody material is a wide variety of herbaceous plants.

Located in the western region overlooking Howe Sound, Ron Feicht and Derrick Hoffman were faced with steep rocky terrain with minimal sandy soil when they started their garden in 1990. Planting began on a series of rockeries, with a slightly Japanese influence to the landscape with the addition of a few Japanese lanterns, statuary and some trained trees, in keeping with the house. Native ferns, mosses and other groundcover give an artistic backdrop to a growing collection of rhododendrons and azaleas, protected by native red cedars, firs, spruce, hemlock, arbutus and Cornus nuttallii . Potted plants are featured on two ground level patios and on an upper deck. Although relatively young, this one-third-acre garden already has an established feel that belies its youth.

Lying on the shores of English Bay, Glen Patterson's beautiful garden fronting a waterfront park has been designed to harmonize with the surrounding natural landscape. Towering Douglas firs give a peaceful forest setting for many native and exotic ericaceous plants, primarily rhododendrons. The rhododendron collection includes several big leaf species, such as R. macabeanum , R. falconeri and R. hodgsonii , also some new introductions such as R. kesangiae and R. coeloneurum from Warren Berg's expedition. Glen is an avid plant collector and his garden contains many rare, interesting, and unusual perennials, exotic shrubs, trees and flowering vines. An active member of the Rhododendron Species Foundation, Glen has enhanced the garden with choice plants from their sales. Here is a rare opportunity to view a most unique garden.


A day-long feast of Vancouver's spectacular sights designed more for the non-rhodoholics, but several public gardens will be seen along the way.


Lying on the north banks of the Fraser River across from Fort Langley, two lovely riverside gardens and two in the natural forested woodlands give a delightful look at gardening on the north side of the Fraser Valley. A superb site overlooking the mighty Fraser river is the location of Peter and Eleanore Dempster's 2-acre property - Maple Crest. The Dempsters have been gardening here since 1975. Rhododendrons were introduced into the garden in 1979 when 25 one-gallon shrubs were planted along the South Trail and the task of "beating back the brush" on the west bank and lower acre began. Since then the collection has grown to over 600 plants with very little duplication of varieties. The garden is laid out in distinct areas, containing groups of plants in each section, or room. A system of record keeping and mapping keeps the Dempsters and their plants from becoming lost and helps avoid plant duplication. Serious expansion of the garden began after retirement in 1988 and eventually progressed to the last undeveloped corner where 200 rhododendrons, including many species, were planted in the winter of 1994. Maple Crest is a rhododendron collection among wild things and herbaceous perennials. The Fraser River and Mount Baker provide an exquisite backdrop to a very private garden in Maple Ridge. (Note: there are only two paths coming out of the lower garden; both are quite steep and may not be suitable for some people.)

The Hemminger garden, Maple Ridge
The Hemminger garden, Maple Ridge.
Photo by Paddy Wales

The Silver Valley area of Maple Ridge is home to the garden of Ed and Lilli Ann Hemminger. This lovely wooded 2-acre site contains over 600 different rhododendron species and hybrids. The consuming passion for rhododendrons drove Ed and Lilli Ann to move here several years ago when their collection of plants grew too large for their former property. With over 250 plants to be moved and land to be cleared at the new property, they have been busy. Now they have grass pathways winding past beds planted with rhododendrons and a tasteful selection of perennials, shrubs and trees, especially Japanese maples. In the lower garden Ed has constructed a lovely pond and gazebo. The upper garden has a large rock garden overlooking the lower garden. Large leaf rhododendrons are planted beneath large trees throughout the garden. To the rear of the property is a large woodland garden with rhododendrons, hostas, ferns and native plants gathered in the cool shaded spaces. Winding bark mulched paths and a series of pools complete this sylvan setting. Lilli Ann is a keen propagator and has six small greenhouses where she raises many rhododendrons from seed.

The seven woodland acres of Ted and Ken Ladd offer a tranquil setting to a lovely collection of rhododendrons, shrubs and ornamental trees. Over the past 20 years the garden has evolved from a patch of alder trees. Now the Ladds have about one and a half acres developed; the rest is woods, field and pathways, a wonderful environment for the native birds and animals. Spring bulbs, primulas, iris and other perennials provide interesting contrast in this lovely woodland garden.

Another dramatic riverside garden awaits at the home of Hanna Schlagintweit. Approached through a filbert orchard, the drama of the breathtaking view across the rolling waters of the Fraser River is enhanced by a splendid specimen of Acer 'Brilliantissimum' on the lower slopes of the garden leading to the river. Here many lovely plantings of rhododendrons are gathered. Hanna and her husband came to the property in 1965. Both like gardens but never had had one of their own. Dr. Bob Rhodes, a colleague of Dr. Schlagintweit and a well-known and respected hybridizer and grower of rhododendrons, showed them his garden demonstrating what could be done. They went ahead pulling out the thicket of brambles and native vegetation, bought books on gardening and started their collection of rhododendrons, trees and shrubs. Dr. Schlagintweit learned to graft trees and grafted ornamental cherries on a group of wild cherries growing alongside the river. This makes a spectacular sight in springtime as does the splendid drift of 'The Hon. Jean Marie de Montague'. This lovely mature garden is a wealth of colour in springtime with a truly spectacular setting.

The Martyn Garden, Fraser Valley
The Martyn garden, Fraser Valley.
Photo by Glen Patterson


A garden called "Lu Zhu" - here is a chance in a lifetime to see a dream in the making - the 25-acre rhododendron paradise created by Dr. Michael Bale on a rocky mountain ridge high above the mighty waters of the Fraser River. (See accompanying article in this issue of the Journal.)

On the south side of the river in the heart of the Fraser Valley, Don and Louise Martyn have converted an old cornfield into a lovely garden which contains a collection of fine species and hybrid rhododendrons. For the past 10 years they have worked hard to transform the field into a garden. Seven truck-loads of hog fuel mulch have been added to the heavy soil, and most of the rhododendrons are planted on top of the ground. Full initial sun exposure mixed with the soil conditions have resulted in compact and floriferous plants. Don is a keen hybridizer and is busy growing on some of his new plants. Louise is now joining him in this venture. The current garden is spread over a little more than two acres. Shrubs are interplanted with magnolias, maples, and a growing collection of flowering trees. The rhododendron collection is young. The emphasis is on indumented species, species azaleas, Exbury hybrids, and hybrids which will take the two or three week cold snaps (-14°C to -18°C/7°F to 0°F) with accompanying 30-60 mph winds. A testing program of seedling species and their own hybrids plus seed from Peter Wharton's UBC Botanical Garden Chinese expedition is currently being carried out here.

A little further north and closer to the river is the garden of Dr. Norman Todd. Located in the heart of Chilliwack, this garden is home to a rich collection of rare species plants, trees and shrubs. Dr. Todd is a member of the Rhododendron Species Foundation, and he now has some very fine species rhododendrons from this source. He also has many plants he has brought in from Europe. A fine magnolia collection includes a gorgeous specimen of Magnolia campbellii 'Lanarth' and the lovely yellow flowered Magnolia 'Honey Bee'. Despite his keen interest growing from seeds and cuttings, Dr. Todd has no greenhouse; his small plants and seedlings are grown in cold frames. As his collection grew his need for land increased, so he purchased adjacent properties and now has a lovely mature garden extending around the neighbourhood well shaded by his growing collection of rare trees.


For people wanting more than gardens, a wonderful outing to the North Shore and its mountains provides a look at the magnificent sights and views to be found in this idyllic setting.

Gibson Garden, Tofino
The Gibson garden, Tofino, on the Magic Tour.
Photo by Ray Talbot


A magnificent three-day feast of scenery includes a ferry trip across Georgia Strait to Vancouver Island; a luncheon visit to Macmillan Provincial Park for a look at Cathedral Grove, a wondrous stand of massive Douglas firs, some of which are 800 years old; on past Sproat Lake and over Sutton Pass to the spectacular west coast of Vancouver Island and Pacific Rim National Park; two nights at the picturesque fishing village of Tofino on the park's northern edge, with visits to the lovely rhododendron garden of Dot and Ken Gibson with its soul-stirring views over Clayoquot Sound, and opportunities for a whale watching trip, water taxi across the Sound to Stubbs Island, home of old rhododendron plantings and the area's first trading post.