Rhododendrons Love the Comox Valley

The North Island chapter of the American Rhododendron Society is based in the beautiful Comox Valley.  Serving the surrounding communities of northern Vancouver Island,  this ARS chapter is a welcoming place to enjoy rhododendrons and azaleas.  Our regular meetings occur on the second Tuesday of each month (except May thru August) at the United Church in Comox – 250 Beach Drive.

Bill McMillan


Our March 13th guest speaker was Mr. Bill McMillan of the Victoria Rhododendron Society. Bill is a past president of the VicRS and has served many years on their executive in one capacity or another.

A retired geologist, Bill now propagates and grows rhododendrons, alpines and other plants from seed and cuttings. He shares his considerable knowledge and experience through presentations to various garden clubs. Bill describes himself as an enthusiast, rather than an expert.

For our meeting, Bill presented the topic “Five Must See Gardens of the Victoria Area.” This presentation was well received and is sure to fire up a lot of our members to take a tour of Victoria during the spring growing season.


Rhododendron of the Month: 
‘Cherries and Merlot’






                     ‘Cherries and Merlot’ is a dwarf rhododendron which grows 3’ tall in 10 years. It has medium-sized round trusses of bright red flowers with white stamens on a bed of pointed green, deeply veined leaves. It blooms early in the season, likes filtered to full sun and is hardy to 0ºF (-18ºC)
A real surprise awaits you though by turning those green leaves over to reveal the bright red, or “Merlot”, colour on this superior plant. Hybridized by Frank Fujioka of Whidbey Is., WA in 2001.