George V. Reilly

The Rhododendron Garden

Rhododendron Garden

For many years, I ignored the freeway sign for the Rhodo­den­dron Garden at exit 143 on I-5. Five or six years ago, I visited the Rhody Garden and I’ve gone back every spring since.

It’s worth visiting at any time of year, but from March to May or June, it’s in bloom. Twenty-two acres of rhodo­den­drons, azaleas, ferns, and other flowers, near the Wey­er­hauser head­quar­ters in Federal Way, Washington. There’s a bonsai garden next door—un­for­tu­nate­ly now closed to the public. As you stroll along the shaded hilly paths, you can almost make believe that the constant traffic noise from the nearby freeway is running water.

Rhodies come in all shapes, colors, and sizes, from low bushes to 30-foot trees. They are native to North America, Europe, and Asia, and thrive in the Pacific Northwest.

Emma and I brought Lyn there last Saturday. It was sur­pris­ing­ly empty for such a fine day, though they said they had been overrun the previous weekend for Mother’s Day.

I put the best photos up at Flickr. Enjoy!

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