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You need only take a walk through Washington Park Arboretum or peer into your own backyard to notice that May is the season of the rhododendron. It would seem that rhododendrons are native to the Northwest, the superb way they thrive both in the cultivated garden and wild forest floor. But those rhododendrons, which have become such a mainstay in Pacific Northwest flora, are relative newcomers to these parts and have been plucked by enchanted plant hunters from China and the Himalayas.
Jane Brown tells the dramatic and long history of the rhodies global travels in her recent book, Tales of the Rose Tree: Ravishing Rhododendrons and Their Travels Around the World, (Harper Collins, $36.75). In this accessible historical account, Ms. Brown tells of the legend & lore, as well as the botanical significance, of the rhododendron. She includes many fine illustrations and color plates of many notable representations of the rhododendron. In addition, she lists many of the best places to find rhododendrons, mainly in the UK, where she resides. Travel to the Royal Horticultural Society's Wisley Garden or the Edinburgh Royal Botanic Garden for grand displays of this woody and lovely plant.
Or remain closer to home and visit The Rhododendron Species Foundation and Botanical Garden in Federal Way. Twenty-two acres encompass nearly 10,000 rhododendrons in all shapes, sizes, colors, and scents. From March through May, the Garden is open from 10:00 - 4:00 six days a week (closed on Thursdays). June through February, the Garden is open 11:00 - 4:00 five days a week (closed Thursdays and Fridays). Admission is $3.50 for adults and $2.50 for seniors and students. For additional information and directions, call: 253-927-6960.
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January 13 2017 10:35:53