Kevin Kavanagh – Rhododendrons, Azaleas and Magnolias in Southern Ontario – my experiences over two difficult winters

September 20th, 2015. 2PM. Toronto Botanical Garden

that he launched in 2005 in heart of Ontario’s ‘Carolinian zone’. Although an avid gardener for much of his life, Kevin has spent most of his professional career in the field of biodiversity conser-vation working most recently for The Nature Conservancy of Canada and prior to that for 15 years with World Wildlife Fund Canada. He continues to undertake conservation work and is currently engaged in assessments of Anthracnose on native populations of Eastern Flowering Dogwood and Blight on American Chestnut.

Kevin’s long standing interest in southern plants, especially broad-leaved evergreens, was first piqued while growing up in Quebec’s Eastern Townships. While out walking during a brief, mid-winter thaw, he discovered his first rhododendron displaying its evergreen leaves amid drifts of snow. A cheery winter sight, indeed! Later, his interest in plants more commonly associated with the deep south was fully ignited while undertaking graduate field studies in the diverse forests of the Appalachian Moun-tains of North Carolina and Tennessee. He hoped one day to develop a garden in Ontario that could fea-ture plants such as azaleas, rhododendrons, magnolias and Franklinia among others that had graced both the garden and natural landscapes he had visited. Twenty-five years later, that dream became a reality with the launch of South Coast Gardens. Today, the hardiness of many southern species is being assessed in the garden beds surrounding the nursery. Kevin also gets great

satisfaction from working with clients to design and install gardens that often include

a ‘touch of the south’.

Kevin holds a B.Sc. (Hons.) from McGill University, a M.Sc. from York University and several years of post-graduate research in Botany at the University of Toronto. He is a member of the Norfolk County Master Gardeners and recently joined the Board of Directors of the Niagara Chapter of the Rhododen-dron Society of Canada. Kevin is the author of several book chapters and articles celebrating Canada’s wild places and the rich biodiversity of the Carolinian zone.



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Schedule – 2018

General Meeting

Location: Toronto Botanical Garden
Date: Sunday November 4th, 2018
Time: 1 pm - 4 pm
(free admission, free parking)