held at the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden
and at the Best Western Plus Federal Way
Species Symposium registration is now OPEN.
The third annual Rhododendron Species Symposium will be held on April 6th and 7th in Federal Way, Washington. Enjoy visiting local gardens on your own on Sunday, April 8th. Rhododendron enthusiasts, serious gardeners and horticulturists will discover up-to-the-minute information on species from Europe, Russia and beyond.
There will be an emphasis on educational time and tours in the RSBG and its facilities during the rhododendron species flowering season, meeting with staff and other delegates in what has become an internationally renowned botanical garden, containing the most comprehensive collection of natural rhododendron species in the world.
The Symposium is educational, inspiring, motivating and just plain fun!
Everyone is Welcome!
Download: 2018 Symposium Schedule
All events take place at the Evergreen Inn & Suites Best Western Plus or at the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden. This schedule is subject to change.
Friday, April 6
1:00 – 3:00 pm RSF Annual meeting
3:00 – 3:30 pm Break, Snack & Chat
3:30 – 4:30 pm “Plant Hunting on the Edge of the World” with William McNamara
6:00-7:30 pm Dinner with Staff and Speakers
Optional after dinner Meet & Mingle at hotel bar
Saturday, April 7
7:00-8:00 am Breakfast (provided to all guests staying at hotel)
8:00-8:30 am Registration Open
9:00-11:30 am Field Laboratory Horticulture Classes at the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden
Your choice of one class: (sign up at registration table)
“Secrets of species propagation” with Dennis Bottemiller. Limit of 15 people.
Dennis will lead a detailed discussion with demonstrations of the best and latest techniques in Rhododendron species propagation. A full and in-depth tour of the entire nursery facility is included.
“Successful cultivation of rhododendrons – the RSBG way” with Atsuko Gibson and Ronnie Kyllo (this maybe broken into two classes with a limit of 15 people per class).
Join RSBG’s expert horticulturists Atsuko and Ronnie in the garden to learn the best techniques for the successful cultivation of Rhododendron species as well as Himalayan Blue Poppies and Cardiocrinum (Giant Lilies). Watering, soil prep and pest and disease issues will be highlighted.
“Herbarium workshop” Valerie Soza, Ph.D, who gave an excellent presentation at the last year’s RSF Symposium, will be leading a hands on workshop covering the history, use and preparation of herbarium specimens. Limit of 10 people.
3:00 – 4:30pm Species Symposium – Chip Muller, Moderator
“The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: the trials and tribulations of plant hunting”
Sunday, April 8
Optional local attractions and garden visits
Speaker – William McNamara
Topic: “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: the trials and tribulations of plant hunting”
William A. McNamara
President & Executive Director
Quarryhill Botanical Garden
In company with horticulturists from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Windsor Great Park, the Howick Arboretum, and others, Bill McNamara has botanized extensively in the wilds of Asia. For the past twenty-nine years, each fall he has ventured into the mountains of China, Japan, India, Nepal, Vietnam and Myanmar in search of plants. Working closely with local botanists, Bill and his colleagues are pursuing their mutual goals of research and conservation.
Bill first read about British plant hunters while he was in college. He remembers telling friends that he wished he had been born a century earlier, as he mistakenly thought the days of exploration were over. To help with college expenses, Bill worked at various nurseries in the San Francisco Bay Area and became a California Certified Nurseryman in 1973. After graduating in 1975 from the University of California, Berkeley, he left for Asia. For just under a year he traveled around the world visiting gardens and remote areas. He settled in Sonoma, California where he started Con Mara Gardens, a landscaping contracting business, in 1980.
In 1987 Bill began working with Quarryhill Botanical Garden, a private research garden in Glen Ellen, California. He was promoted to Director in 1994, made Executive Director in 2007, and was elected President in 2015.
Bill was made a Field Associate of the Department of Botany, California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, and an Honorary Researcher of the Scientific Information Center of Resources and Environment of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2000. In 2001 he became an Associate Member of the joint Chinese-American Committee for the Flora of China. In 2006, Bill was made an International Advisor for Curtis’s Botanical Magazine and in 2008 he was appointed Vice President of the Western USA for the International Dendrology Society. He was a member of the San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum Horticulture Advisory Committee, and was made an Honorary Consultant of National Plateau Research Center of China in 2010.
Bill completed a Master’s degree in Conservation Biology in 2005 at Sonoma State University. He received the Garden Club of America’s esteemed Eloise Payne Luquer Medal in 2009 and received the prestigious 2010 Scott Medal and Award from the Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College. He was the recipient of the California Horticultural Society Annual Award in 2012. In 2013 he was honored with the Award of Excellence from the National Garden Clubs. He received the highly acclaimed Veitch Memorial Medal from the Royal Horticultural Society and celebrated Liberty Hyde Bailey Award from the American Horticultural Society in 2017.
Bill has had numerous articles published, lectures widely, and also holds a third degree black belt in Aikido.
Symposium registration is now open. Cost to attend the entire Symposium weekend, including all sessions, speakers, classes plus Saturday lunch and Saturday evening banquet will be only $125 if registered before March 9th. Late registration of $145 begins March 10th.
International fees (due to the exchange rate) are $110 before March 9, and $130 after March 9, 2018.
You may register online to the right, or
Download the Species Symposium Registration Form and mail to
PO Box 3798
Federal Way, WA 98063
International only – please take advantage of the special registration rate of $110 US due to the exchange rate. Please register by March 9th to take advantage of the early registration rate.
Lodging & meetings will be at the BEST WESTERN PLUS Evergreen Inn & Suites, Federal Way, features complimentary amenities like free parking, free Wi-Fi, shuttle service, and complimentary deluxe hot breakfast.
Reserve your room now by calling 253-529-4000 and use the code “RSBG” to receive the group rate.
The Commons Mall is located one block from the Best Western Plus Evergreen Inn & Suites. It has over 100 stores and a movie theater. There are also many restaurants in this area
Rhododendron Species Symposium 2018
April 6th and 7th
Friday - Saturday
Friday Noon - 8pm
Saturday 8am -9:30pm
Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden
2525 S 336th St Federal Way, WA 98001
Location Map: See below