JARS v54n2 - From the President

From the President
Lynn Watts
Bellevue, Washington

In this issue we would like to introduce you to some of our British Columbia neighbors. We traveled to "the island," by invitation, to present talks to three ARS Chapters.

For those of you who do not know the Pacific Northwest, Vancouver Island is approximately 150 miles long and averages about 50 miles wide. Victoria, the capital city of British Columbia, is located on the southern tip of the island, Courtney is about 100 miles north of Victoria on the eastern shore, Nanaimo is approximately 60 miles south of Courtney, also situated on the eastern shore and approximately 40 miles west of Vancouver across the Strait of Georgia.

There are five ARS chapters on the island: Victoria, Cowichan Valley and the three we visited on this trip.

The first night we were invited to stay at the home of Harry and Gwen Wright in Courtney. Harry is president of the North Island Chapter and the owner of Haida Gold Nursery. He and Gwen made us feel at home with their warm hospitality. That night we presented a program to sixty-five enthusiastic members of the North Island Chapter. The next morning Harry took us on a tour of his garden where we admired his extensive rhododendron collection. We also visited the garden of Bernie Guyader. Bernie has a fine collection of rock and alpine plants to complement the rhododendrons which he grows so well.

Later that second day we drove down island to the home of Jim and Jean Greig (Jim is the son of the famous Royston Greigs) where we were to be guests for the next two nights, as they are located conveniently about halfway between the meeting places of the Mt. Arrowsmith Chapter and the Nanaimo Chapter. The Greigs have a beautiful waterfront home perched on the rocks on the north tip of Dorcas Point overlooking Little Nuttall Bay. The Greigs have a small collection of choice rhododendrons in a natural setting. That evening we presented a repeat of the previous evening's program to approximately sixty-five members of the Mt. Arrowsmith Chapter of the ARS. Like the previous evening the members were most enthusiastic and asked many questions following the program. The Mt. Arrowsmith Chapter is very capably presided over by Glen Jamieson.

The following day, after a brisk and invigorating walk through the forest along the shore, Jim and Jean took us on a tour to admire the scenery and to visit the beautiful natural garden of Mark and Paddy Nixon. This sheltered waterfront garden is located on a wooded and rather steep slope and boasts some very fine big-leafed rhododendrons including R. sinogrande and R. falconeri . The Nixons have several natural rock outcroppings in front of their house and have taken advantage of this bonus for their rock garden.

That evening we met with the Nanaimo Chapter; their president is Ward Porter, a very energetic, dynamic leader who is ably assisted by his charming wife, Donna. We were greatly impressed by the warm hospitality and the graciousness with which we were received at all three chapters and the lively response to the programs presented.

Each of the gardens we visited is unique and its setting a reflection of its owners' interests as well as their ability to select plants which adapt well to the conditions found in their garden.

We enthusiastically suggest that you plan to attend the ARS Western Regional Fall Conference (September 14-17) sponsored by the Cowichan Valley Chapter and located in Duncan which is about halfway between Nanaimo and Victoria. This will give you the opportunity to meet some of these warm and wonderful islanders and visit other unique gardens which will be on the tours.