Signs of Spring in the Garden - R. Arboreum roseum
PEAK BLOOM - Mid March - May

  Meerkerk February Update

Delivery of Mature Rhody from the Dr. Glein Marysville Collection 
Nursery Manager, Susie Reynolds, has been busy getting the 1 gallons, the 5 gallons, and the mature rhododendrons from the Glein Collection (Marysville Estate) ready for viewing and sale in the upcoming Annual Opening Nursery Sale. The Glein family donated all the rhododendrons and azaleas from the Glein Family estate to Meerkerk to sell in the Nursery and to benefit the Meerkerk organization. 
Lem's Monarch
Susie said "I am especially delighted this year in that Frank Fujioka is supplying our Nursery with a selection of plants from his field. These will be rhodys that have a variety of foliage which can add a wonderful element of texture and diversity to anyone's garden landscape."

Susie also says that buyers should know, "This spring the Nursery will have Rhodys that have not been for sale in a long time." Plants such as: "Am I Blue" - a Bill Stipe hybrid of bluish flowers; "Barmstedt" - Silver new foliage, rose-red flower with white centers; and "Sappho"- white with dark purple blotch. It's time to  plant!
Meerkerk is conducting a fundraising raffle to
Name a Rhody. That's right - YOU have an opportunity to name a rhody that will be registered with the Royal Horticulture Society. You could name it for a loved one, pay tribute to a special place, or honor a family member. 
In addition, tissue cultures will be created for future propagation making it part of the Meerkerk Legacy Collection. Your named Rhody will become part of  Meerkerk's unique plant collection as well as being offered in the Specialty Nursery.
If you want to view the Rhody it is currently planted along the path next to the seating area by the Gatehouse. The plant has wonderful shiny leaves, soft indumentum, and a lax truss with deep "rose pink" colored blossoms.
Your rhody will join other Meerkerk registered rhodies: the Meerkerk Magic, the Meerkerk White, and the Meerkerk Wonder. 
Tickets are $10.00 each and available during Peak Bloom weekends, from an attendant, at the Gatehouse from mid-March through May; or at all the Meerkerk events; or by calling the Meerkerk admin office (360.678.1912) to purchase your tickets. 
The drawing will be held on September 7th at Meerkerk Gardens. 
Cinquefoil: Native Plant
Join Master Gardener, Don Lee, as he explains why Native Plants are important. He will teach the variety available and lead a tour of the Gardens to help participants become familiar with the plants in the natural setting.

Class Fee: $10.00/ Call to reserve your seat.
Class will be held from 9:00 am to Noon at the Meerkerk Residence at Meerkerk Gardens.
During the Peak Bloom season of Mid-March through May, Meerkerk volunteers greet our visitors in the Gatehouse on Saturdays and Sundays.
Gatehouse greeters volunteer 4 hours of their time, either mornings or afternoons and welcome visitors while answering general questions about the Meerkerk Gardens. 
"It's a fun time. I have met people from all over the world who find their way to Meerkerk and are garden lovers," says Board President, Don Lee. "Together with my wife, we have volunteered on Saturday afternoons in the Gatehouse during Peak Bloom for over a decade. We still enjoy meeting the visitors and introducing them to our peaceful woodland garden."
Don says that "even one or two times would help greatly with our staffing needs during this peak season visitation." If interested in volunteering, please contact our admin office at 360.678.1912.

Meer kerk has just been informed that they are one of four organizations to be awarded by the Coupeville Maritime Heritage Fo undation the opportunity to auction a cruise aboard the Schooner SUVA.
The Coupeville Maritime Heritage Foundation's mission is to educate, promote, and preserve the Maritime heritage of Coupeville and Penn Cove. According to their website: "Whidbey's Frank Pratt contracted with Ted Geary, a very well-known Seattle native classic schooner racing sailboat designer and naval marine architect, to  build a yacht in 1925, a one of a kind 68 foot schooner (  She was built in Hong Kong entirely of old-growth teak; Suva was specifically designed for the Pacific Northwest."
The Meerkerk Gala Committee will be putting together a dreamy "sailing package" for this item to bid on at the May 21st fundraising gala benefit. Tickets for the Gala will be available in April. 


A blossom canopy greets the visitors
The winter hazel and hellebores will soon give way to the next wave of color as the garden warms up but I hope we get to enjoy these for a few more weeks along with the daffodils and primroses. 

Already the Rhododendrons are drawing attention. Among the many reds to view at the garden, R. Tabitha is one of the earliest, standing about 6ft. tall and in flower as early as January at the entrance to the parking lot. Its red-flowered cousin, R. 'Sasha', is also in flower inside the display garden.  

Deeper in the garden, the species rhododendron, R. barbatum, provides a great display of
R. barbatum
candy red flowers on a 15ft. tall branching shrub. With pruning this would make a fine small branching tree for a small garden. 

Besides  these and a handful of others,  we have some charming pink flowering rhododendrons such as R. mucronulatum 'Cornel Pink' which flowers on leafless stems more like an azalea than a rhododendron. 
Another pink and one much favored by Anne Meerkerk is the R. irroratum 'Spatter Pink' is providing a wonderful display. 

It is worth stopping to soak in the beauty of the red-leaved plums along the driveway
 with their clouds of pink flowers. Ribes 'White Icicle' has been in flower for over a month now
 and the hanging white tassels are a welcome cheer along the main walking loop. Close by, R. lutescens warms the heart with its abundant soft yellow flowers.   -- Frank Simson, Garden Manager
R. lutescens

R. irroratum 'Spatter Pink'

"One of the most delightful things about a garden
 is the anticipation it provides." ~ W.E. Johns The Passing Show