American Rhododendron Society
The American Rhododendron Society (ARS) is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to encourage interest in and to disseminate information about the genus Rhododendron. Society activities include education, scientific studies and communication through local and national meetings, publications, flower shows, a seed exchange, etc. ARS chapters are located throughout the United States and Canada, in Denmark, Holland, Scotland, Sikkim and Sweden.
Pilchuck is one of several ARS chapters in the Puget Sound area. It was established in Marysville in 1993 by Amby Schultz and Fred Kirby as an offshoot of the Komo Kulshan chapter. The Pilchuck Chapter draws its membership primarily from Snohomish County. For information on other chapters in the Puget Sound area go to our links page.
During the school year, meetings are held on the first Thursday of the month in the Marysville First Baptist Church at 7PM. Meetings are open to the public and free of charge. The meetings typically consist of a short business meeting, educational program, and plant raffle and auction. Special seasonal events draw the chapter from the library to gather elsewhere during peak bloom season. See the calendar and map for current meetings and events.
Each year a member of the chapter opens their garden for a chapter potluck during the peak bloom season. With gardens old and new, with lovers of species and hybrids, with diversity of companion plantings and garden styles, this event is always an inspiration.
The Pilchuck Chapter presents a rhododendron truss show and plant sale each May. Members bring in their best trusses for display. The public votes on their favorite and the top three trusses receive a prize. Rhododendrons of all sizes are available for purchase, and chapter members answer questions about selections and cultivation.
Another traditional annual event is a chapter bus trip. Each spring the chapter rents a bus and visits two to three gardens chosen by the members. While these are typically one day events, we have also done an overnighter on the Oregon coast. Gardens visited in the past have included:
University of British Columbia
Meerkerk Rhododendron Garden
Rhododendron Species Foundation
Oregon Gardens, Sliverdale, OR
We have also enjoyed private gardens of fellow ARS members in these destinations, and typically visit at least one nursery for souvenirs!
New members are always welcome. In addition to the chapter newsletter and quarterly ARS journal, new members receive a one-gallon rhododendron at their first meeting. Joining the ARS has additional benefits. To learn more see ARS membership information.