Eureka >> The Eureka Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society will meet on Thursday, March 26. The meeting and program will be held at the Eureka Woman’s Club 1531 J Street in Eureka beginning at 7 p.m.

The informative program, provided by Tim Walsh, in his inimitable entertaining way, will tell of the acquisition of the whole of rhododendron sub-series maddenii for Humboldt Botanical Garden. The climate in Eureka is just possibly the best place anywhere to grow Rhododendron maddenii (…and a few other special plants as well)!

Timothy Patrick Walsh is a born and raised 4th generation Humboldt County, Eureka native. After attending University of Southern California, Tim became a “sheep boy” on the Southern Humboldt ranch of his dad’s long-time friend.

He thought his prospects of making a living as ranch-hand were poor so he became a real estate broker and finally settled in as a stock broker and certified financial planner for more than 30 years.

Tim had an epiphany in Hendrick’s Park Garden in the late ‘80s when he discovered Rhododendron Loderi King George. He had no idea they were scented rhododendrons. Before that he had grown up with many Eureka yards planted with rhododendron Countess of Derby, which in Eureka were sold by Cottage Gardens Nursery in the early 1900s under the name R. ‘Eureka (how is that for marketing?) As a little boy he would break off branches of the pink flowers from his aunt’s house up the street and sell them to the neighbors for candy money (his dad was a dentist).

As the rhodo-bug hit him hard, he spent many Saturdays at Westgate Garden Nursery with Catherine Weeks who passed away recently. One day she said that he needed to join the American Rhododendron Society to learn more about rhodos and meet other people who had the same affliction. Thus began a long relationship with the Eureka Chapter. He was awarded the ARS Silver Medal in 2008. Tim is a confirmed rhodoholic. He has served in ARS local and national leadership positions over the years.

In 1991 a Eureka lady, Irene Van Natter, called several of the garden/plant societies together to see if there were enough people interested in exploring and creating a botanical garden in Humboldt County. Tim was on the founding board of directors for the newly formed Humboldt Botanical Gardens Foundation.

Tim and other Eureka Chapter ARS members have been instrumental in developing, selecting and caring for plants in the Moss Family Temperate Woodland Garden at Humboldt Botanical Garden.

The March 26th meeting is open to the public. Don Wallace of Singing Tree Nursery will provide a power point, introducing the rhodos/rhodies that will be part of the evening’s “opportunity drawing,” held following the refreshments and program. Someone will go home with a lovely door prize. Come enjoy the friendship and camaraderie, the hallmark of this group.

Questions about the group, meeting or program, call 707-269-9533.

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