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 2019 – 2020 season

September 20th, 2019

Tim Walsh, Eureka Chapter-ARS
The Humboldt Botanical Garden

Tim Walsh is a 4th generation resident of Eureka, in Humboldt County, California. He attended the University of Southern California, and then spent 30 years as a stockbroker and certified financial planner. Tim grew up surrounded by thousands of Rhododendron 'Countess of Derby', which were planted for the cut-flower trade and sold as R. 'Eureka Maid'. As a boy, he sold branches with the pink flowers to earn money for candy. (His father was a dentist). Tim joined the ARS, soon became President of the Eureka Chapter, then later Treasurer of ARS. He is currently Director for District 5. Tim and his wife, June, hosted the 2017 ARS International Convention Rhododendrons in the Redwoods in Eureka.

The Humboldt Botanical Garden occupies 44.5 acres, adjoining the College of the Redwoods campus, about 5 miles south of Eureka. The Garden enjoys a combination of Mediterranean and Pacific Marine climates, allowing a diverse groups of plants to thrive, with many species unique to the region. The Garden features rhododendrons and their companion plants prominently. The Garden succeeds with outreach to the community by hosting events like the annual Garden Gala, which features local food, wine, art, and music, along with children’s crafts and activities. The 10th Annual Gala will take place on September 7th. Tim was on the first board of directors for the Humboldt Botanical Gardens Foundation, a charitable foundation which formed in 1991. He and June have been actively involved at all levels of the Garden, extending from the board to hands in the dirt. As of 2014, they were spending more than 600 hours volunteering. Tim will walk us through the garden’s development and highlight some of the notable plants featured there.


October 17th, 2019

Jeanine Smith, Seattle Chapter-ARS
Using Rhododendrons in the Landscape

Jeanine Smith joined the Seattle Rhododendron Society in 1971, served as President from 1985-87, and again from 2017-2019. She has also served as ARS District 2 Director, Western Regional Vice President for two years, on the Meerkerk Rhododendron Gardens Board and on the Executive Board of the Rhododendron Species Foundation.

Jeanine and her husband, Rex, have spent 43 years building a large garden on three acres in Woodinville, WA. Plants have interested her since childhood, and she was blown away by the variety of wonderful plants that grow in the temperate climate of the Northwest when she moved here fifty years ago. Being especially drawn to rhododendrons, she soon joined the Society. Her involvement in the ARS has led to forays into collecting, propagating, and hybridizing, along with plant trips to Asia to see the species in the wild. She and Rex are proud of the many rhododendrons they feature on their property. The challenge has been to place these rhododendrons in the sites that suit them, as well as integrating them with trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants to create a pleasing landscape. Jeanine finds it fortunate that the large genus of rhododendrons has such a great variety of sizes, shapes, foliage, sun tolerance, and times of flowering. Her program will demonstrate how she has used rhododendrons in the landscape in combination with other plants.


November 21st, 2019

Bill McNamara, Quarryhill Botanical Garden
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: the trials and tribulations of plant hunting

Bill McNamara recently retired from the Quarryhill Botanical Garden in Glen Ellen, California. He began work there in 1987 and became Executive Director in 2007. In company with horticulturists from Kew, the Howick Arboretum, and others, Bill has botanized extensively in the wilds of Asia, venturing into the mountains of China, Japan, India, Nepal, Vietnam and Myanmar. Among other accolades and appointments, Bill became an Associate Member of the joint Chinese-American Committee for the Flora of China. He has published numerous articles and lectured widely. His talks are well-known for featuring his exceptional photographs of both the plants he has botanized and the local cultures where they are found. He has received wide-spread recognition, including the prestigious Garden Club of America’s Eloise Payne Luquer Medal in 2009, the 2010 Scott Medal and Award from the Scott Arboretum, the California Horticultural Society Annual Award, the Award of Excellence from the National Garden Clubs, and in 2017, both the Veitch Memorial Medal from the Royal Horticultural Society and the Liberty Hyde Bailey Award from the American Horticultural Society. He welcomes interactions during his presentations, but for our more direct members, please remember: along with his master’s degree in Conservation Biology, he holds a third-degree black belt in Aikido.

His talk will focus on a particular aspect of collecting plants in the wild. Human beings have moved plants around the globe for thousands of years. Although this activity has not been without problems, usually it has provided great benefit. Today the little-mentioned but severe extinction-crisis has generated particular urgency to get plants and their seeds to botanic gardens and seed-banks.


December 19th, 2019

Portland Chapter Winter Solstice Party
Potluck Dinner and Gift Exchange

Members' Presentations


January 16th, 2020

Bruce Palmer, Eureyka Chapter
The Plant Hunting Tradition and Joseph Rock


Charles H. (Chip) Muller, Ph.D. Second Vice President, RSF, who was scheduled to speak at the January meeting, was incapacitated by illness, and unable to come. We look forward to his postponed talk next year concerning
Sikkim Himalaya Revisited: Family, Friends and Rhododendrons 1943-2015

Dr.  Chip Muller has a long relationship with mountains, and with mountain people and plants.  He has hiked, climbed or trekked in the major ranges of the U.S., the Alps, Mt.  Kilimanjaro, and the Himalayas.  Chip grew up in Pennsylvania, where his father, George, was active in the American Rhododendron Society (ARS) and president of the Philadelphia Chapter.  George traveled in India, China and Sikkim in the early 1940s, and returned to these areas with his son, Chip, and daughter, Sue Muller Hacking, up to his 83rd year.  Chip may have acquired his love of rhododendrons from his father, but his own enthusiasm for collecting species dates from his first plant-exploration trip in the Himalaya in 1986 with his father and Warren Berg.  He has sought and photographed rhododendrons on trips to Western China, Tibet, Sikkim, Nepal and Japan.  These adventures have provided the basis for articles in the ARS Journal and for numerous slide presentations, including his talk tonight.

Chip has been thoroughly involved in organizatoins related to rhododendrons.  He serves the Rhododendron Species Foundation as Second Vice President, and as a member of the Board of Directors, the Executive Committee and the Photography Committee.  At the Seattle Rhododendron Society (Seattle chapter of the ARS), he is president for the second time.  He served many terms on their Board of Directors.  He chaired both their Early and May Rhododendron Shows, their Species Study Group, and was Chair of the 1999 ARS Annual Convention.  Chip was editor and publisher of Seattle Rhododendronland, the Chapter’s newsletter, for four years.  He received the Bronze Medal from the Seattle Chapter in 1997. 

Chip and his wife, Angela Ginorio, tend their wooded city garden of rhododendrons and companion plants.  Besides species rhododendrons, his favorite plants are Meconopsis, Primula, Arisaema, and "almost any Himalayan perennial, shrub or tree".  In his professional life, Chip is on the faculty of the University of Washington as a reproductive biologist.  


February 20th, 2020

Bob Zimmermann, Chimacum Woods
Arunachal Pradesh, Wilderness Untouched (with Rhododendrons)

Bob Zimmermann fell in love with rhododendrons over fifty years ago. He began propagating them on his kitchen stove and now grows species rhododendrons from seed in his greenhouse at Chimacum Woods on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. Some 300 species populate the collection in his garden, providing a reliable source of seed for the plants he makes available to gardeners in both the US and Canada. Bob first joined the ARS as a member of the Portland Chapter in 1973 and is a past president of the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden.

Bob has traveled with botanists, five times to China, once to Tibet, once to Japan, and, most recently, to Arunachal Pradesh in NE India. Arunachal Pradesh is one of the 29 states of India and is the northeastern-most state of the country. Arunachal Pradesh borders the states of Assam and Nagaland to the south, and shares international borders with Bhutan in the west, Myanmar in the east and is separated from China in the north by the McMahon Line. Itanagar is the capital of the state. Bob will share his experiences from that trip – the botanical, cultural, political and spiritual.


March 19th, 2020

Glen Jamieson, Editor, JARS
Highlights of the Danish/Swedish/German 2018 ARS Tours

Glen Jamieson achieved his B.Sc. in Agriculture from McGill University and a M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Zoology from UBC. He worked for Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) as a research scientist for 31 years, both in the Maritimes (5 yrs.) and at the Pacific Biological Station in Nanaimo, BC (26 yrs.). He specialized in Metacarcinus magister, also known as our beloved Dungeness Crab. He retired from DFO in 2008.

Glen joined the ARS in 1995 and became editor of the Journal of the American Rhododendron Society (JARS) in 2009. He has travelled extensively, exploring for plants worldwide: in Yunnan, China (2005); Borneo (2008); Ecuador and Peru (five trips between 2008-2014); and in Sikkim, India (2015). With his wife Dorothy, he lives and maintains a garden in Parksville that is periodically on the garden tour for his local chapter (Mount Arrowsmith; MARS). He has an extensive vireya collection, possibly the largest in Canada. He is currently in his third presidency of the MARS Chapter, and was a member of the MARS committee that organized the ARS Conference in Parksville, BC, held in Fall, 2019. In addition to JARS, he edits the new online journal that he created, "Rhododendrons International”, which can be accessed on the ARS website.

Dr. Jamieson was a member of the ARS contingent to the 2018 ARS Spring International Convention “North America meets Europe” in Bremen, Germany. He elected to travel to Denmark and Sweden with the group that chose that optional pre-tour, preceding the convention itself. Glen will share some sights and insights from the beautiful gardens and rhododendrons at this unique convention shared with the German Rhododendron Society (Deutsche Rhododendron Gesellschaft).


April 16th, 2020

Ella May Wulff
Heathers for Year-Round Color

If heather might be considered the queen of the Ericaceae – admittedly debatable in our society – then you might consider Ella May Wulff the queen of heathers. Ella May was president of the North American Heather Society from 2001 to 2004. She writes often for the North American Heather Society's Heather News Quarterly, and has given lectures to numerous garden club on various horticultural subjects. She wrote the well-known book on the genus, “Gardening with Hearty Heathers”, published in 2008.

The sight of a wild landscape covered with heathers in full bloom is breathtaking, so there is little surprise that people have found ways of introducing these rewarding plants into their gardens. A garden filled with well-chosen heather cultivars can be colorful every month of the year, and blooming in every season. To paraphrase that old expression, the heather only blooms when kissing is in season. Yet landscapers, big box stores and most garden centers offer a limited selection of heathers and even less information about how to care for them properly. With more than 700 cultivated varieties of Calluna alone, selecting the right heather for the right place can be daunting. Ella May will take us on a brief exploration of the world of hardy heathers and explain what is needed to keep these valuable shrubs ornamental assets to your garden for decades.


May 21st, 2020

Jack Olson, Eugene Chapter
Rhododendron Trivia

Jack Olson is one of those increasingly rare specimens, a true native Oregonian. Born and bred here, he graduated from Willamette High School before joining the National Guard, in which he was voted outstanding soldier in his company at Ford Ord. He attended Southern Oregon University before transferring to Oregon State University, lettering in wrestling at both institutions. He graduated with a BS and then a MS in education, and taught for 34 years, coaching football, track, and wrestling. Jack was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame as a coach.

Jack’s interest in rhododendrons started with his father, who collected over 250 specimens from nearby nurseries. When Jack bought his first home, his father provided 25 rhododendrons to get him started. Jack credits Gladys and Willard at Swenson’s Nursery for being early mentors. He has been hybridizing for over 25 years and has registered four rhododendrons to date—R. Kahlua, R. Mead, R. Glady, and R. Prism—all of which have won trophies. He grows thousands of rhododendrons at his home in the foothills of the Cascades at Fall Creek. He is an avid runner and collects antique cars, including three Model A’s. He is a member of the Eugene Chapter - ARS, which awarded him their Bronze Medal in 2009.

Jack has kept track of a variety of interesting facts about rhododendrons from his life with the genus. He will share some of those with us relating to his experience in the garden, both planting and hybridizing.