Meeting Archives

MARS Meeting Archives


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May 2024 MARS meeting:  The George Fraser Project
Presented by David McIntosh

David McIntosh presents the fascinating history of George Fraser, the hybridizer of Rhododendron fraseri.  David’s presentation traces George’s life in Scotland and his emigration to Canada, where George established himself as an expert hybridizer and nurseryman.

Rhododendron fraseri is an historic low shrub of twiggy habit featuring unusual free-flowering small purple-pink flowers in May.  The shrub was originally raised in 1912 by George Fraser in British Columbia (from Millais Nurseries in England).

David McIntosh was born in Victoria but has spent the last 50 or so years in Ucluelet. He taught history at Ucluelet Secondary School for 33 years, and local history was his gateway to George Fraser and his work. In the 1990s, David helped with the George Fraser Memorial Project, sponsored by the local Lions Club. He also met Bill Dale at that time and saw his presentations about George. Since then, David has been looking into George Fraser’s life. He claims not to be a rhododendron expert but he has come to appreciate these amazing plants, and his Ucluelet garden now contains about 60 rhodos.

Click here to download a PDF version of the slide show, complete with notes

Click here to download a PDF list and locations of rhododendrons hybridized by George Fraser

March 2024 ARS District 1 talk:  Ludlow and Sherriff plant expeditions 1930-40
Presented by Ken Cox

Ken Cox from Glendoick, Scotland, speaks about the expeditions and plant introductions of Ludlow and Sherriff, two great plant hunters, in Bhutan, Tibet and India in the 1930s and 1940s. He displays their photographs and film footage as well as his own photos of virtually all the areas they visited.

Ken Cox is:
• A world recognised expert in Rhododendrons, azaleas and woodland gardening
• Managing Director Glendoick Gardens and Garden Centre
• Author of Woodland Gardening. Winner of the European Gardening Book of the Year 2019
• Author and co-author of 6 books on Rhododendrons
• Plant Hunter and Explorer, discovered new rhododendron species.
• Breeder of many rhododendron and azalea cultivars.
• Advisor and consultant on all aspects of woodland and rhododendron gardening.
• Advisor to National Trust (England, Northern Ireland) on woodland garden restoration and planning.
• Experienced lecturer on Scottish gardens & gardening, woodland gardening, plant hunting, rhododendrons and azaleas.
• Songwriter and Musician


January 2024:  MARS Member Photo Night
Presented by Dr. Glen Jamieson

This presentation features MARS members’ garden photographs.  (Note:  There is no audio narration with this slide show.  Slides advance automatically every 5 seconds.)


November 8, 2023: Small Ferns for Gardens and Rockeries
Presented by Master Gardener Margot Moser

Master Gardener Margot Moser presents an overview of ferns suitable for even the smallest garden.

This presentation has been archived and is unavailable to be viewed.


February 23, 2023: Far Reaches Farm and Botanical Conservancy
Kelly Dodson and Sue Milliken of Far Reaches Botanical Conservancy offer us a look at uncommon to very rare introductions in the FRBC collection which are suitable to accompany Rhododendrons in the woodland garden.


April 13, 2022: Monet’s Garden
Presented by Dr. Glen Jamieson

Dr. Glen Jamieson presents photos of Monet’s Garden.  (Note:  There is no audio narration with this slide show.)


April 13, 2022: Favourite Plants of the Pacific Northwest
Presented by Dr. Glen Jamieson

As a species plant collector, Dr. Glen Jamieson will showcase many of the trees and shrubs that are growing in his Vancouver Island garden. Each plant is illustrated and described, with its unique and or special garden features pointed out.

Glen says, “The plants in our garden are not necessarily as handsome as some of the specimen plant images , as our garden is still relatively young, small and, somewhat crowded! Nevertheless, it shows what plants can do well in our climate and will hopefully provide some ideas on how one can make our gardens more interesting!”

(Note:  There is no audio narration with this slide show.)


March 17, 2022:  Mushrooms of British Columbia
Presented by Andy MacKinnon

More than 3400 mushroom species have been recorded for our province, and likely many more remain to be discovered. This talk is an introduction to mushrooms, their life cycles, their myriad dazzling forms, and their ecological roles in BC’s forests and fields (and rhododendron gardens!).


January 15, 2022:  In the Shadow of Mighty Kangchenjunga — A Botanical Expedition to the Bhutan and Sikkim Himalaya
Presented by Seamus O’Brien

In 2014 Seamus O’Brien led an expedition of Irish horticulturalists and tree enthusiasts to the mountains of Bhutan and Sikkim, following the routes of early botanical explorers such as William Griffith, Joseph Hooker, Frank Ludlow and George Sheriff. His travels took him from tropical valleys to icy glaciers, to woodlands and  mountain  tops. Seamus will entertain us with his recollections of these adventures at this talk.


November 17, 2021: Mount Kinabalu:  Southeast Asia’s Kilimanjaro
Presented by Dr. Glen Jamieson

In this presentation, Dr. Glen Jamieson describes his trip to Borneo, featuring Mount Kinabalu.


October 23 and 24, 2021: Fall Into Gardening – A Two-Day Conference
Presented by MARS, NRS, and VIMGA

This presentation has been archived and is unavailable to be viewed.

Offering distinguished experts from all over the world, this two-day conference encompasses a wide array of topics.

From plant-hunting in Sichuan, the science of soil, rock gardening, and rare rhododendron species of the eastern United States; to conservation of heritage rhododendrons, the scientific facts and best practices of mulch, growing rhododendrons in harsh climates, and the art and science of breeding fragrant rhododendrons; this conference includes hours of fascinating and informative speakers and Q&A sessions.


May 6, 2021: The New Zealand Ex Situ Rhododendron Conservation Project
Presented by Dr. Marion MacKay

This presentation has been archived and is unavailable to be viewed.

All the way from Massey University in New Zealand, senior lecturer Dr. Marion MacKay presents a talk on the New Zealand ex situ Rhododendron Conservation Project. The talk addresses what the private collection holder can do or how they can participate (with also a bit on how the NZ work fits with the Global Conservation Consortium).


April 29, 2021: Treasures of the Cloud Forest
Presented by Dr. Brian White

This presentation has been archived and is unavailable to be viewed.

Dr. Brian White describes his expeditions and plant discoveries around Phan Si Pan mountain in Vietnam’s Huang Lien National Park.


April 24, 2021: Rhododendrons:  Beauty, Diversity, and Culture
Presented by Chris Southwick

Master gardener Chris Southwick discusses the amazing diversity of rhododendron species along with tips and tricks on growing these beauties.

This video is available thanks to the generosity of VIMGA (Vancouver Island Master Gardeners Association) and VIRL (Vancouver Island Regional Library).  If you enjoyed this video, click here to check VIRL’s event calendar for more great offerings!

BONUS!  Chris gives us a “One-Minute Tour” of her home garden:


March 20, 2021: What’s New in Edible Gardening
Presented by Brian Minter

This presentation has been archived and is unavailable to be viewed.

Master gardener, author, and media celebrity Brian Minter presents a talk on ‘What’s New in Edible Gardening’.


March 6, 2021: Raised Bed Gardening
Presented by Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott

This presentation has been archived and is unavailable to be viewed.

Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott has a Ph.D. in Horticulture from Oregon State University and is an ISA certified and ASCA consulting arborist.  She is WSU’s Extension Urban Horticulturist and an Associate Professor in the Department of Horticulture, and holds two affiliate associate professor positions at University of Washington. She conducts research in applied plant and soil sciences, publishing the results in scientific articles and university Extension fact sheets.


February 5, 2021: Water Management in the Landscape
Presented by Ken Nentwig

This presentation has been archived and is unavailable to be viewed.

Retired landscape architect and educator Ken Nentwig presents a talk on water efficiency in the landscape, touching on:

  • Collecting rainwater and managing precipitation
  • Collection and storage of rainwater and using it in the landscape
  • Handling runoff from impervious surfaces
  • Natural vs Built Environments
  • Rainwater vs Stormwater
  • Uses for rainwater


January 15, 2021: Year-Round Organic Gardening
Presented by Dr. Linda Gilkeson

This presentation has been archived and is unavailable to be viewed.

Local gardening expert Linda Gilkeson will cover the basics of growing vegetables year round, from fertilizing the soil to planting schedules for winter harvests; she will also include tips on how to make the best use of your space to grow the most food. Gardeners in our mild West Coast climate can harvest fresh food from the garden all year round. To do that you need to choose the right varieties and plant them at the right time.


December 9, 2020:  Highlights of 2020 ‘What’s Blooming’
Presented by Dr. Glen Jamieson, MARS President

(Note:  There is no audio narration with this slide show.)


November 18, 2020:  Expedition to Northern Vietnam
Presented by Steve Hootman, Executive Director & Curator of the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden in Federal Way, Washington

This presentation has been archived and is unavailable to be viewed.

Rhododendron expert Steve Hootman shows images and discusses the amazing plants and sights seen on a two-week expedition to the mountains of north Vietnam.  Included are a few species of Rhododendron completely new to science!


October 14, 2020:  Botanizing in Yunnan, China
Presented by Dr. Glen Jamieson, MARS President

This presentation has been archived and is unavailable to be viewed.

Our President, Dr. Glen Jamieson, presents a talk on his three week exploration for rhododendrons led by Steve Hootman in western Yunnan, China, from Kumming to Lijiang, and then up the length of the Salween River (the Chinese river closest to Myanmar). This area has the most Chinese ethnic minorities and is extremely rich in plant life.

The presentation showcases the regions scenery, plants and peoples living there, and provides a snapshot of what this part of China used to be like, before the recent surge of Han tourists impacted the region.

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