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 2016 – 2017 season

September 15th, 2016

Steve McCulloch, Mountain Shadow Nursery

Tissue Culture and the Micropropagation of Rhododendron. Steve McCulloch has been propagating ericaceous plants professionally for over 35 years. He became interested in tissue culture of plants while majoring in horticulture at the University of Wisconsin. Following a brief stint in a research lab, he has worked in industry ever since. After working for companies such as Briggs Nursery, he and his wife have established their own nursery, Mountain Shadow Nursery, where they conduct contract propagation for breeders, universities, farms and nurseries.

Steve will discuss both the basics and the current status of propagating rhododendrons by tissue culture.


October 20th, 2016

Luurt Nieuwenhuis, Portland Chapter, ARS

Close-up Digital Photography: Theory and Practice. Luurt will discuss how to take better close-up pictures, including photographs of rhododendrons. His presentation will explain how digital photography works, with some technical aspects of digital imaging, and how that information can help take better pictures. He will describe how tripods, different lenses, strobe lights, and computer programs can contribute to the difference between great and mediocre pictures. He will also illustrate with some close-up photographs how all of these factors contribute to the final pictures.

Luurt has belonged to various chapters of the ARS since 1977. He has been a photographer since 1960. In the days of silver halide film, he emphasized outdoor photography, particularly underground in caves. He now shoots only digital pictures, with particular emphasis on the small and very small. His current interests include subjects that are close at hand but rarely seen, including slime molds, insects, fungi, and, of course, flowers.


November 17th, 2016

Wally Reed, Willamette Chapter, ARS

The New Rhododendron Hillside in Bush’s Pasture Park, Salem, Oregon. Oregon has two new public rhododendron gardens, under development since 2010: Portland Parks Cloud Garden in Washington Park; Salem Parks Rhododendron Hillside in Bush’s Pasture Park.   Developing these beautiful gardens has involved various opportunities and challenges.  Salem’s Rhododendron Hillside has been a “science project”, a “public sector management project”, and a lot of fun from the beginning.  How it got started, and how the Willamette Chapter of the ARS has managed it without a formal design or plan to achieve year round color and variety has been a step by step process. Managing torrential rains, preserving the white oak canopy while not over irrigating, keeping plants happy within 5 distinct environmental areas, and finding out what visitors really like will be explored.  And, year round color will be featured, fun for all.

Wally Reed enjoyed a long research and teaching career with the Environmental Sciences Department of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.  His research focused on land use, air quality, and geographic information systems.  He joined the Willamette Chapter of the ARS on a gift-membership after retiring in 2001.  He was promptly elected President of the chapter, and subsequently President for Life, 10 years and counting.  For the past 6 years, he has been deeply involved in the subject of his presentation, which is located in front of his home in Salem.


December 17th, 2016

Portland Chapter Winter Solstice Party
Potluck Dinner and Gift Exchange

The Solstice Party is cancelled because of the weather.

Members and guests can show their slides instead at the Awards Banquet in May.


January 19th, 2017

Norm Jacobs - Arbutus Garden Arts

Japanese Maples: their use in mixed plantings. Norm Jacobs is the co-proprietor with Deb Zaveson of Arbutus Garden Arts. The nursery emphasizes woodland gardens. Norm favors a more formal Japanese style and approach, while Deb's view is more eclectic. While their nursery focuses on Japanese maples, small conifers, and Epimedium, they use a much wider palette of plants, including rhododendrons, to build the over-story, mid-story, under-story and ground-cover tiers of a naturalistic woodland. Japanese maples take a significant role in all four tiers, thanks to their diversity of size, growth rate, form, foliage texture, and seasonal color. Norm will present a synopsis of this diversity in the various species known as Japanese maples, Acer palmatum and beyond, with views of woodland gardens.

Norm began gardening under his grandmother's tutelage in New Jersey sometime around age 6. In high school, he moved to California's Bay Area, where he landscaped the lot of his family’s tract home. College at Berkeley emphasized math and physics, but fledgling programs for public "pension" gardens drew his involvement, as well as Alice Waters' first "edible classroom" a few blocks from where he lived. A few years after college, he met Deb - a botany grad from UC Santa Barbara and lifelong ornamental gardener whose father grew the edibles. That they would garden was a foregone conclusion, and partnering in Arbutus Garden Arts a natural outcome. They moved onto 20 acres of bare land in Yamhill in the early 1980s, where they immediately began a garden under a canopy of Quercus garryana with limited water and poor soil. Beginning in 2009, they began to develop a new garden in SE Portland with more sun, water, and alluvial soil, moving themselves and their nursery in mid-2015. Deb has retained an eclectic taste in plants, while Norm’s interest has been drawn to Asian plants, gardens, and garden design in which he has some formal training.


February 16th, 2017

Harold Greer, Eugene Chapter, ARS

How the West Was Won: the History of Hybrids and Hybridizers. Harold Greer has been interested in rhododendrons longer than most of us can remember. He was the owner, along with his wife, Nancy, of Greer Gardens in Eugene for 50 years. He was the youngest person to receive a Gold Medal from the ARS, and the youngest president of the ARS. He served on the Board of Directors for over 25 years. He is the organizing founder of the Western Regional Conferences some 37 years ago. He is internationally recognized for his expertise concerning rhododendrons, for his books on the subject and his plants, and for his service and dedication to rhododendrons. He is an accomplished photographer whose pictures have been published widely, including on the cover of the Smithsonian Magazine. The combination of his extensive knowledge, his excellent illustrations, and his engaging style invariably make for informative and enjoyable presentations.

Harold will discuss how and why the rhododendrons that we grow today have roots in the west.


March 16th, 2017

Richard Murcott, New York Chapter, ARS

East Coast Rhododendrons: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. Dick Murcott has been involved with rhododendrons since 1962 when he joined the New York Chapter of the ARS.  He became friends with Sid Burns, then the Chapter President, who showed him how to root rhododendrons, how to make crosses, and how to grow seed.  Dick started hybridizing in 1964 and has never stopped.  He is also an enthusiastic propagator, contributing his plants to chapter sales and using them as gifts.  He gardens on three acres in East Norwich, NY, a suburb of New York City rated as climatic zone 7b.  In addition to rhododendrons, he grows, exhibits, and judges chrysanthemums.  He speaks frequently about rhododendrons to garden clubs, ARS chapters, and national and regional ARS meetings.  He maintains an informative website, and has published several articles in the ARS Quarterly Bulletin.

Dick is reluctant to provide more than the title of his talk, which he will modify in real time as the spirit moves him.


April 20th, 2017

Ned Brockenbrough

Adventures in Hybridizing. Ned Brockenbrough’s success with rhododendrons makes it difficult to remember that these plants have been his avocation rather than his profession. He practiced as a thoracic and vascular surgery in Seattle for over fifty years. He has worked with rhododendrons and the American Rhododendron Society for almost as long. He served as President of both the Seattle Chapter and the national ARS, which awarded him its silver medal. The list of his creations that many of us grow in our gardens includes Paprika Spice, the Horizon series, and Bambino, among many others. Ironically, perhaps his most famous hybrid, Nancy Evans, is now arguably better known than Washington’s former first lady for whom it was named. His most recent efforts have emphasized the use of the ancient Greek gout-remedy and mitosis-inhibitor, colchicine, in the generation of polyploid hybrids. On the night of our annual hybrid auction, his title couldn’t be more appropriate. We look forward to an entertaining and informative evening.


May 18th, 2017

Awards Banquet

Members Presentations: The Members' Presentations, which normally occur during the Winter Solstice Party that was cancelled, will shift to the Awards Banquet. Our traditional program consists of slides and digital images shown by our members and/or their guests. We recommend no more than 12 slides per person. These slides can be of plants, gardens, travels, and memories you would like to share. We will have a laptop with a digital projector. If you need a projector for traditional slides, please bring your own, or let us know, and we will do our best to provide one.