Category Archives: rhododendron

A Garden for Life: Mary Greig & the Royston Rhododendrons by Judith Walker

Published this May 2015, was A Garden for Life: Mary Greig & the Royston Rhododendrons by Judith Walker.

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In the summer of 1919, newlyweds Ted and Mary Greig motored from Portland to a small cottage by the ocean in Royston, on Vancouver Island. This became Mary’s home for the next 70 years of her life.

They began a garden, using local sandstone to build rock walls and seaweed and peat to build up the soil. The twins were born in 1920 and two more children by 1925. It was a lean time for the young family.

The Greigs love of the mountains, native plants and gardens led them to meet some extraordinary people, including George and Suzanne Simpson of Cowichan Lake. When the Simpsons suggested that the Greigs purchase all the stock of the Simpson’s alpine and rare plant nursery, the Greigs were astonished- “to think they thought we could manage to keep things alive”.

But manage they did. And when alpines proved a challenge on the wet west coast, Mary quickly focused on the rhododendrons which thrived in the cool summers and the moist winters. The species rhododendrons caught Mary’s attention with their infinite variety of leaves, colours and forms. She proceeded to propagate only the best.

And a tiny nursery on BC’s coast caught the attention of the rhododendron world.

So although Mary is the focus of this story, there are many characters. One cannot appreciate Mary’s work without knowing of Kingdon-Ward’s expeditions, and one cannot fully appreciate a rhododendron flowering in August without following Ted and Mary through their nursery.

The old gate is still there- please, come in.

Canada West Landscape Architecture Book Launch

Canada West Landscape Architecture – 1888-1999

Canada West – Landscape Architecture first printing was 50 books in September 2014.

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Canada West Landscape Architecture is a historical reference book – it’s huge and belongs in libraries and universities throughout western Canada. We printed 50 copies. Any of you who would like to give us $250 to give a copy in your name to your favorite LA Alma Matter or Library, we are offering a complimentary DVD of the book for your personal use and enjoyment.  Over half of the book is imagery from the Author’s own collection of photographs from Western Canada’s natural landscapes and designed works of art and gardens from western Canada’s founding plantspeople.

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Garden In Memory

This is our story – mostly our firm Justice  Webb & Vincent and our experiences and projects are well covered between these pages, with stories of the founding fathers of this movement: Frank Buck, David Douglas, Isabella Preston, Frank Skinner, Henry Marshall, George Fraser, Ed Lohbrunner, Mary Greig and more are woven throughout the text and photographs, and will be of specific interest to members of the BCSLA, AALA, SALA, MALA & NWTALA. Appendix 4 includes a complete plant list for the Tundra.

Both Harry Webb and John Vincent were artists as well, their artwork is also included. John Vincent currently lives in Parksville. More from Harry Webb can be found through his daughter Adrienne Brown’s 2014 book: Art in the Age of Jazz: Harry Webb and Jessie Webb by Adrienne Brown. Her book is being released and shown Sept 16th to Dec 6th, 2014 :: Exhibition at the West Vancouver Museum.

Clive’s book launch for Canada West Landscape Architecture 1888-1999  will be held in January or February 2015.

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CW-LA Job Numbers Appendix

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Dr. Clive Justice’s work is documented in this appendix, detailing jobs throughout his career. His firms were the first of their kind and so they got many of the jobs around town. This list offers a look at sites throughout the city of Vancouver, Richmond, and beyond.

Enjoy

http://bcbigleafmaplebooks.ca/blog/Appendixjobnos.pdf

Keshab Receives ARS Pioneer Award 2006

ImagePictured in the middle is Keshab Pradhan, retired Chief Secretary and Chief Forester of India’s smallest Himalayan mountain State, Sikkim, at the bottom Streetside of Ken Gibson’s garden in the Village of Tofino, on Vanisle’s West Coast. Gibson on left, Justice on right.Ken’s  and wife Dorothy’s home crowns the top of the hill surrounded by hundreds of hybrid and species rhodos like the size and colours to those pictured. It happens like this  during April and May  every spring !

Keshab Pradhan and his wife Shanti (not pictured) were on a 2006 visit to BC’s American Rhododendron Society (ARS) District I, Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland ARS Chapters prior to his being presented with the ARS Pioneer award at award at  the Societies Annual Meeting held in Victoria  He joins a select group of amateur & professional nursery and plantsmen whose passion was growing and breeding the genus rhododendrons as garden and landscape plants. Previous Pioneer Award winners were Britt Smith of the Tacoma Chapter and posthumously to George Fraser Rhododendron nurseryman in the 1920s& 30s in Village of  Ucluelet down Vanisles West Coast from the Gibson Garden inTofino. In those days there was no road the West coast. Day trippers used used to come up from Victoria on the  steamer Maquinna on her weekly voyages to Ucluelet to buy his hybrid, azalea fraseri and Waterer hybrids shipped in from England.. It was the very first nursery in the Province to markert Rhododendrons and Azaleas.

Pradan , President of Sikkim’s J. D. Hooker Chapter of the ARS was honoured for his pioneer work in recognizing and classifying Rhododendrons as trees in Sikkim and creating sanctuaries for Rhododendrons in forest areas throughout this mountainous state in northeast India, where the states of West Bengal, Nepal on the west, with the Kingdom of Bhutan on the east & in the north; Tibet, claimed by China.

The reason why the Sikkim ARS Chapter is titled the JD Hooker Chapter is that Joseph Dalton Hooker was son of William Jackson Hooker, Director of Kew Gardens the premier world’s depository of plants from 1820 until JD succeeded him as Head of Kew 1868.  Previous to this, Hooker senior had taught Botany at the University of Glasgow in Scotland where he qualified his son Dalton and others (David Douglas, John Scouler & William Fraser Tolmie) as Surgeon-Botanists or Surgeon Naturalists for the Navy of King George III.  Those men trained to serve as surgeons in times of war, especially the Napoleonic Wars with France from 1898-1815 and as  Botanists/Naturalists in times of peace.  This was especially true after 1815, when  the sailing ships of the English navy were given the tasks of charting the world’s as yet unmapped coastlines.

JD’s Dad secured a position for him on the Navy ship Endeavour, charting and botanizing the Antarctic islands, peninsulas & continent. He next tackled the Indian subcontinent by mapping and botanizing in Eastern India from Calcutta to Tibet by way of Bengal, Daarjeeling, Assam and Sikkim . While in Sikkim he discovered, described ,sending seed back to his father at Kew, 28 Rhododendron species of the 32 found in this alpine Himalayan kingdom. In 1848, before colour photography Hooker senior commissioned a double elephant size (coffee table) book with full page full colour stone lithographs of the 28 Sikkim Rhododendrons that Hooker Junior described and sketched. in the field.  The Hookers were both Knighted by Queen Victoria for their work.

JDH hired plenty of ‘coolies’for his collecting safaris, sat times there were 80 in his entourage: collectors, dryers, cooks guards & porters. He alone  wrote his discoveries up in his Journal (2 volumes). The fact that he was forbidden by the Sikkim king from even being in the country. He and is English Political liason Officer, Campbell were captured and imprisoned for 6 months, at last being only released to his friends in Daarjeeling still arrogant and hard done by, on Christmas eve 1850.

This was forgotten 125 years later when the Chapter was formed. One dark night in a rest house at Sandakpu(12000′ ) were Sikkim, Nepal and West Bengal meet , we were stranded at the top overnight with no lights, no food and no kit.  14 of us sat on the floor with our backs to the three walls of a back room with a smoky fire of on the fourth . It had a hole in the wall fireplace with recently cut rhodo grande tree limbs sputtering giving off little flame and less heat .  It was cold.  We passed around a bottle of Jack Daniels ‘Old No 7 Tennessee whisky singing songs and telling stories. Jack Daniels became our First JD Hooker Chapter Member. Our kits food, guides and carriers arrived in the morning to begin the first trek by ARS members . There were 2 Canadians on the trek the rest were from Seattle & Tacoma.  One of those Canadians is pictured on the Photo above.