Progress in the Rhododendron Garden at Horticultural Centre of the Pacific

by Ted Irving

The garden was started in 1985 and suffered from poor drainage - perched water tables in Saanichton Series clays. Renovations were started in early1995 with advice (there is a VRS advisory group) and much appreciated financial help from the VRS. The main renovations should be completed by about March 1998, although outstanding tasks will undoubtedly remain. Then we hope the garden will evolve to a slow development-maintenance mode, with emphasis on development, as choice older forms and new cultivars are added.

All beds have been properly drained and raised by repeatedly digging in sand and leaf mulch, more than I care to think about. An irrigation system has been installed. Tilth has been further improved by successively sowing and turning in winter rye and buckwheat. We have made a large holding bed for growing on small plants. the last beds to be amended will be planted from the holding bed in the next month, and the general layout of the entire garden then established.

There is an inventory of about 400 plants, some large, and many new, small ones. We are always looking for new plants - especially smaller forms with proven resistance to disease. Perhaps you have plants that you would be prepared to donate?

I shall be organizing a sale of surplus rhododendrons in the fall or early spring, mainly duplicates in the original 1985 plantings, of which there were many.

I hope to have a sale list at the next meeting. This is a good opportunity for anyone starting a new garden. There are several large plants at good prices, well budded to bloom next year.

If you have plants to donate, are interested in the sale, or would like to volunteer your time and expertise to the garden, please ring me at 656-9645.