Portland Chapter ARS – General Information

Portland Chapter Meetings

Portland ARS chapter meetings are held on the third Thursday of each month, September through May.

Meetings are held at All Saints Episcopal Church, 4033 SE Woodstock Blvd, Portland, Oregon. The location is one-half mile east of Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden.

Meetings begin with an informal social half-hour at 7:00 PM. There is short business meeting at 7:30 PM, followed by our featured presentation.


Programs for the 2017 – 2018 season

September 21st, 2017

Dennis Bottemiller, RSBG
Rooting the Proverbial Pencil: tricks of the trade for propagating difficult rhododendrons.

Dennis Bottemiller’s presentation will use standard methods for propagating cuttings as a basis for experimenting with plants that are known to be difficult.  He will discuss some of the biological reasons that plants form roots, and how that information can lead to experimental approaches from the mundane to the bizarre.  Dennis’ style of presentation encourages participation by the audience unusually well.  Come armed with questions and we will have a fun and lively discussion.

Dennis began propagating rhododendrons at the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden as an undergraduate intern in 1987.  After graduating from Washington State University in 1989 with a degree in production horticulture, he joined the RSBG full time.  With the exception of a brief hiatus to manage the W.W. Seymour Conservatory in Tacoma, he has remained at RSBG, where he is now Manager of the Nursery & Propagation Manager.  He was also heavily involved in building the Rutherford Conservatory at RSBG, and in maintaining it since.  He is widely known for his corny sense of humor – corn was his original botanical fascination – and for his exceptional skills as a propagator.


October 19th, 2017

Maria Stewart, Dover Nursery
Indumentum: Persistent, Plastered, Woolly, Tomentose.

Maria Stewart will explore the wonderful world of indumentum displayed on rhododendron foliage. Species rhododendrons have adorned themselves with attractive indumentum through the ages. Some hybrids have inherited these trichomes, which is the botanical term for these fine hairs. Maria will use photos and commentary to explain how nature has provided protection for rhododendrons that, at the same time, adds to their beauty.

Maria first encountered her love of plants in her grandmother's flower garden. She has nurtured plants for all of her life, and students as a teacher in elementary school for 31 years. She is co-owner of the Dover Nursery in Sandy, which grows over 1,000 varieties of rhododendrons to supply garden centers and landscape companies. She has made numerous contributions to the ARS. Since she joined the Portland Chapter in 1980, she has held almost every position available, including two years as President. She has participated in organizing several Western Regional Conferences. She was Co-Chair of the 50th Anniversary Convention in 1995, and is now planning the 75th Anniversary Convention for 2020.


November 16th, 2017

James Cassidy, Department of Horticulture, Oregon State University
Soil: what it is and how it works.

Most people have only a vague idea of what soil is and how it works.  James Cassidy will discuss the fundamentals that all of us should know.  His talk will include what nutrients are, how soil stores water and nutrients, and the reason that we and our rhododendrons are alive.

James Cassidy comes from a decidedly non-traditional background.  His 30 years in the music industry included cofounding the band Information Society (InSoc), for whom he played bass and keyboards from the early 1980’s to 1992.  He then diverted to fisheries science, earning degrees at Mt. Hood Community College and Oregon State University, followed by his master’s degree in crop and soil science at OSU.  He has now been an Instructor of Soil Science at OSU for over 12 years.  His dynamic presentations and passion for soil have made his introductory class heavily subscribed, with over 200 students enrolled each term.  He is also the faculty advisor for the wildly popular OSU Organic Growers Club.  At the beginning of its 17th season, more than 300 student volunteers run a farm that cultivates over 50 different fruits and vegetables.


December 21st, 2017

Portland Chapter Winter Solstice Party
Potluck Dinner and Gift Exchange


January 18th, 2018

Wally Reed - Salem Chapter, ARS
Mapping Your Garden.

Any of our more experienced members will tell you that the best place to start a garden is with a good map. Wally Reed agrees, and elaborates. Regardless of your level of experience, you have to know first what to map. The raw land, or the previous user’s plant layout, most often defines what you have to work with in making a garden. Producing a map at any stage of your garden’s evolution – before you start, during its development, when you think you’re done, as well as whenever change occurs - involves the same procedures, but with much more data and data-revisions as time proceeds.

Wally brings particular expertise to this subject. We all know him as President for life of the Willamette Chapter-ARS, and a major force in the development of the Rhododendron Hillside in Bush’s Pasture Park, across the street from his home is Salem. Before moving to Salem, he enjoyed a long career conducting research and teaching at the Environmental Sciences Department of the University of Virginia. His research focused on the management of land use and air quality, but also on geographic information systems. He is unusually well qualified to discuss an issue that is fundamental for anyone seriously interested in gardening.


February 15th, 2018

Loren Russell - Oregon State University
Kalmiopsis - Lilla Leach's 'Azalea'


March 15th, 2018


April 19th, 2018

Mike Stewart, Dover Nursery
Dwarf Rhododendrons.


May 18th, 2018

Awards Banquet