With the almost non-existent winter we’ve had along the Pacific Northwest Coast, I took advantage of the record-breaking temperatures this past weekend and drove to the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden in Federal Way, Washington. I had originally discovered this wonderful place last spring, and I made up my mind that this year I would purchase a yearly membership ($35). There are so many different species of blooms to feast the eyes on for several months during late winter and all of spring. And that’s just the outdoor area! The Rutherford Conservatory holds many of the tropical Rhododendron species. As well, there are many species of Companion Plants to be found throughout the garden, such as the wildly popular Himalayan Blue Poppy, which normally blooms in April-June.
Upon arriving at the garden, I noticed some bright, pink rhododendrons already in bloom. Camellias are in bloom, as well. Here is a photo of the bright pink rhododendrons at the entryway of the garden.
I found a tall, red Camellia reaching for the Douglas Firs that abound in the garden and framed this shot, appropriately.
Here are some lovely, white rhododendrons.
I came across this gorgeous carpet of white blooms—my best guess, a species of heather.
And then I came across the following very interesting plants with intriguing, white blooms. They are Ypsilandra tibetica, an evergreen perennial with fragrant, white flowers. If you look closely, their long antlers, as they are called, are a bright blue.
The rest of my images were taken inside the Rutherford Conservatory. Here, many of the tropical species of Rhododendrons can be found blooming at different times of the year.
Also inside the Rutherford Conservatory is a rhododendron relative, Agapetes. They are small, tubular blooms on long, arching stems.
All photos property of Peggy A. Thompson