Welcome to the Cowichan Valley Rhododendron Society (CVRS) based in Duncan, British Columbia on southern Vancouver Island and recently celebrated our 25th anniversary. We are affiliated with the American Rhododendron Society and the BC Council of Garden Clubs. Our Society has about 50 members from the local area who are passionate about Rhododendrons which mean “rose tree” in Latin. There are more than 1200 species of rhodo found in nature, mostly in south Asia but they are found on all continents.
Breeders have taken many species and crossed them to produce more than 20,000 hybrids with every flower colour of the rainbow with different leaf sizes ranging from tiny to half a metre long, different leaf and stem shapes and colours. Most flowering in our climate is early to late May in the spring but there are a variety of rhodos which flower in all months of the year.
One of the best websites available to view thousands of rhodos in full colour is http://hirsutum.info/ . We can help you locate rare and unique plants for your garden. Rhododendrons are a prized plant in most temperate gardens and once established will bring constant annual joy to the gardener.
Rhododendrons, azaleas, vireyas and azaleodendrons are all in the same family of plants that love acidic and woody soils. Rhodos are easy to care for but require regular watering in dry periods and don’t like to have their roots wet in winter. They respond well to fertilizers and mulching. See http://www.rhododendron.org/plantcare.htm for great information on all aspects of rhododendrons and azaleas.
The CVRS publishes monthly newsletters and hosts monthy meetings with educational speakers, presentations and demonstrations. Tours of local and regional gardens are offered to CVRS and affiliate American Rhodo Society members.
The CVRS also sponsors and organizes the annual Cowichan Valley Garden Fair, where members and the general public can purchase often hard-to-find rhodos and other plants to beautify your garden. The Garden Fair is also the venue for the rhododendron Truss (flower) show. Our knowledgeable members are available to share their amazing knowledge of rhodos with you and even teach you how to propagate new rhodos from seed or cuttings. Each year we select a local community garden that we contribute new plants to promote rhododendrons. We would love to have you join our society, meet new friends, have fun and enjoy learning about rhodos. Just send us an email in the contact section.
The Public Rhododendron Gardens of Vancouver Island
by Ian E. Efford
A long time CVRS member has prepared this excellent 2015 book on the Islands rhodo gardens. You can order a copy directly from Ian: firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 250-597-4470. New members receive a complementary copy.
View 25-Year History of our Chapter
Ian Efford has published the “Rhodo Book” (December 2013). This book contains a 25-year history of the Cowichan Valley Rhododendron Society. View the “Rhodo Book”: Celebrating The First 25 Years – by Ian Efford and the first errata.