The Komo Kulshan Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society took its name from the Lummi Indian name for Mount Baker-"Komo Kulshan." The 10,775-foot, glacier-peaked mountain is visible from the lowlands in both Whatcom and Skagit counties-the two counties from which the chapter draws most of its members. The founders of Komo Kulshan Chapter probably knew a rhododendron grew wild on its slopes, Rhododendron albiflorum.
They may have hoped that within a decade or so the members of the chapter would finally learn how to grow this plant in their gardens, but to this day most of us still can't keep it alive!
But it doesn't much bother us because we have all those rhododendrons from the Himalaya, China and Japan that love it down where we are near the coast, comfortably situated in USDA Zone 7 and, for the most part, swathed in marine air.
Two species of Rhododendron bear our chapter's name: Rhododendron kiusianum 'Komo Kulshan' (above right, photo: S. & J. Perkins) and Rhododendron pseudochrysanthum 'Komo Kulshan' (above left and below, photos: Harold E. Greer).|
Our chapter has about fifty members. We have beginning and experienced gardeners who have a wide range of horticultural interests but who share an avid interest in rhododendrons. Several nursery owners belong to the chapter, contributing a professional perspective. Some of our members are true experts and are always willing to answer questions from the novice.
Chapter meetings are held in Burlington (directions) on the third Thursday of the month from September through May, with the exception of December. Our meetings usually begin with a very short business meeting followed by a program, which varies from rhododendron culture to plant exploration to hybridizing to travelogues to you-name-it if it has to do with rhododendrons and their companions.
At each meeting we have a raffle and refreshments, and in May we have a picnic at a member's garden. We also hold a plant auction in the spring. We like to learn all we can about growing rhododendrons and, most of all, we like to have fun doing it.
click to enlarge
Members receive a meeting notice in the mail a few days before each meeting. Guests (non-members) are welcome. The meeting notices will be posted elsewhere on this website.
Komo Kulshan belongs to the ARS District 2, which also includes Seattle, Pilchuck, Cascade and Whidbey Island chapters.