We have a lot of unusual gardens here in the Pacific Northwest, and by unusual I mean they showcase plants most people have never seen nor heard of.
Now I can hear you saying, everybody knows rhododendrons. They’re basic landscaping shrubs here, with their big leathery leaves and their clusters of flowers that can get bigger than a baby’s head.
But those are hybrid rhododendrons, created by crossing and recrossing plants found around the world. The Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden in Federal Way, Washington, just north of Tacoma across the King County line, is sort of a botanical savings bank, with seven hundred different kinds of rhody species growing on acreage owned by the Weyerhaeuser Company, next to their headquarters campus.
Most of them aren’t as showy as the garden varieties that are their descendants. And even on my visit in May the companion plants almost outshone the main attraction. But some of them were dropdead gorgeous, and others were so different from garden-variety rhodies as to not even seem the same species.
Anyway, here’s some of what I saw:
First, the rhododendrons:
And the companion plants:
All in all, I highly recommend a trip to the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden if you happen to be in this neck of the woods in the spring.
And, since I haven’t mentioned it in a while, if you like my writing here, you may enjoy my fiction. My two novels, Repeating History and True Gold, are available from Amazon and Smashwords and most of the other usual suspects. I hope you take a look. And the third book in the series will be coming out this summer.