I write to correct an error that appeared in Coast Reporter on April 18 within the Sunshine Coast community forest’s 2013 report.
Under the heading “wild rhododendrons” the writer said, “In the fall a project by the Sechelt Groves Society saw wild rhododendron plants relocated from the community forest location on Elphinstone to Hidden Grove. These seedlings were removed from Elphinstone, with permission from the community forest, and planted into specific locations within Hidden Grove under the guidance of Harry Hill and Ron Knight of the Sunshine Coast Botanical Garden Society.”
What actually happened is that I visited the Elphinstone rhododendron grove several years ago and took home a few ripe seed pods (which gardeners call “deadheading”). The seeds from these pods were germinated over the next few months and the tiny seedlings were transplanted into pots of peat moss and perlite. After three years, the young rhododendrons were about 20 cm tall and some of these were planted in Hidden Grove, as well as at the Sunshine Coast Botanical Garden.
I would not want any Sunshine Coast residents to think that it is ever acceptable to remove native rhododendron plants from the wild. The Pacific rhododendron (R. macrophyllum) located on Mount Elphinstone is an extremely rare variation of the species that is found only on the Sunshine Coast and at Shawnigan Lake on Vancouver Island. In fact, the plant is so rare that it was protected by law in the last century. The Pacific rhododendron is notoriously difficult to grow in home gardens; however, gardeners who would like to try can order specimens through local garden centres.
Ron Knight, Garden Bay
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