ARS Victoria Newsletter – December 2023

  • Date: 6th March 2024
  • author: Andrew Rouse


The Australian Rhododendron Society conference, superbly hosted by Emu Valley Rhododendron Gardens, brought together rhododendron enthusiasts from around Australia and New Zealand.

The conference was opened by Jeremy Rockcliff, the Premier of Tasmania, with Leonie Hiscutt, the Member of Montgomery (the state seat that encompasses Burnie and Emu Valley Rhododendron Gardens) also officiating at the opening. Ian Chalk, former chair of EVRG, provided a fitting tribute to Maurice Kupsch, one of the founding members of EVRG and its longstanding curator, for his unstinting service to the gardens.

The conference theme was ‘conservation’ in recognition of the irreplaceable collections of species and hybrids across our public and private gardens, with presentations focussing on current efforts to conserve important
collections along with discussions on how we can better coordinate our efforts to ensure important species and hybrids are not lost to cultivation in Australia.

We were thrilled that Seamus Obrien, Head Gardener at Killmacurragh, Dublin Botanic Gardens, accepted our invitation to be our keynote speaker. Seamus gave two presentations, the first on Killmacurragh, the satellite garden of the Dublin Botanic Gardens, that played an instrumental role in the 19th Century in the establishment of Himalayan rhododendrons in cultivation. His second presentation was on Joseph Hooker, with Seamus providing an account of an expedition he mounted to Sikkim where Joseph Hooker did much of his collecting...

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