Douglas Justice will be the guest speaker at the Nov. 14 North Island Rhododendron Society meeting. (Photo supplied)

Horticultural scholar to speak at next North Island Rhododendron Society meeting

While many people have lives involved with plants, it might be hard to find someone who has been immersed in horticulture as totally as the North Island Rhododendron Society’s (NIRS) next speaker, Douglas Justice.

Justice will centre his Nov. 14 NIRS presentation on rhododendrons – from the familiar to the rare– but his familiarity with things botanical reaches far beyond that. He is a specialist in exotic plants, integrated pest management, sustainable landscapes, plant names, trees of ever sort—and that’s for starters.

Even before formal training, he worked in nurseries and as a gardener at Windsor Great Park in England. His formal education includes a bachelor’s degree in horticulture and a master’s degree in botany from the University of British Columbia. Now as a current director and curator of collections at the UBC Botanical Garden, his prime responsibilities revolve around the day-to-day operation of the garden but he also teaches in the Faculties of Applied Sciences and Land and Food Systems. Outside UBC, he does public outreach, has taught horticulture and plant identification courses at Kwantlen University College and is actively involved with a number of local, national and international botanical organizations such as the Native Plant Society of BC and the North American branch of the Maple Society. On both of these organizations he was a founding member has served on the executive.

NIRS meetings are held every second Tuesday of the month in the Comox United Church hall, 250 Beach, with doors open at 7 p.m. and the meeting starting at 7:30. Refreshments are served and guests interested in membership are welcome to attend.

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