Meerkerk July Update

Friends and Good Food
Summer is a great time to gather and enjoy a BBQ with good friends and garden lovers.

Board President, Don Lee welcomed all the Friends of Meerkerk to the Annual Volunteer Recognition Picnic on Saturday, July 16th and reviewed the year's accomplishment as well as the goals for next year.

Volunteer efforts were recognized within the nursery; the gardens; the Botany Adventure program; the special project's "men's group";  the production of special events; and the  administration work for the library, the Gatehouse, and admin office. Hundreds of hours of volunteer contributions of time, energy, and talent were recognized-- all of which are vital in keeping Meerkerk humming along. 

Two volunteers were highlighted this year: Arlee Anderson and Lynda McCormick. "Both of these volunteers bring an endless amount of creativity, skill, and enthusiasm to the gardens and we have come to rely on their willingness to help the organization in a variety of ways," said Executive Director, Kathryn Hurtley.

The many talents and hours of dedication to the organization by Meerkerk's volunteers provides a steady hand in stewardship of the gardens that the Board and Staff appreciate throughout the year.

Thanks again to all the wonderful volunteers who make Meerkerk a garden full of beauty and friendship!

Adult Lace Bug
Since we first detected Rhododendron lace bug on some plants at the nursery, we have been conducting weekly monitoring of the collection for signs of an outbreak. 

Target plants such as those recently acquired from a collection on the mainland; plants growing in full sun, and any other high-value specimen plants are tagged and observed weekly.  

Leaves with stippling on the upper surface are gathered and examined under magnification for any signs of eggs, larva or adult insects. 

We are happy to report that, so far, none have been detected. Many thanks to volunteers, Jim & Kathy Rogers,  Arlee Anderson, Ellen Alexander, and Barbara Douglas for helping out with the weekly monitoring.


Craig Holmquist and Backhoe the Big Leaf Valley
S ometime ago in early spring a wind gust picked out one grand 80 ft alder and laid it perfectly across the path in the Big Leaf Valley. It was our good fortune that it remained perched about four feet above the path without damaging any of the rhodies below, though navigating the path required a special limbo maneuver past it. 

It stayed like this until the ground finally dried out enough to access the area with a tractor. Our good neighbor and volunteer, Craig Holmquist found time in his busy schedule to come to the rescue. 

Alder Logs
With skills honed over his many years with state parks, Craig sectioned the trunk and hauled it up the trail in three sections where is now sits ready for milling. 

The rest of the tree will lay where it fell and provide habitat and forage for wildlife. Many thanks to Craig for helping Meerkerk out once again.   


Bayview Sound
Bayview Sound
August 20
Bluegrass in the Garden
Music ~ BBQ ~ Toe Tapping & Dancing!

Noon - 4:00 pm
$15.00 Adults/ Free Children 16 and under

Rhodys for Sale
September 3 & 4

50% off Nursery Sale
Noon - 3:00 pm
Saturday and Sunday

Take advantage of Meerkerk's annual inventory reduction sale. Great Deals on rhodys and companion plants. 


Purple Catalpa
Besides a few scattered repeat blooms, the rhododendrons have turned their focus to making new buds for next year. 

That said, the garden still has a lot to offer, most notably the many interesting trees such as the purple catalpa,  Chitalpa x erubescens 'Purpurea' .  

A deciduous tree, it grows to about to 50 ft tall with an equal spread.  The new leaves emerge a deep purple color and grow on to as much as 12-14 inches in diameter.  The flowers are white, marked with yellow and purple, in upright clusters eventually forming long bean pods. It is easily grown in most soils and is hardy to Zone 5.

Rowan Tree
The Rowan Tree, Sorbus aucuparia is already carrying a full canopy of orange red berries. This is a favorite small tree with clusters of white flowers in spring and handsome green pinnate leaves that color up well in the fall.

Callicarpa bodinieri

Lower to the ground the shrub, Callicarpa bodinierior -beautyberry is just getting to the end of its flowering. The flowers are lilac purple against a backdrop of large ovate leaves but the real treat is yet to come as the pollinated flowers form clusters of intense purple berries.

bodinieri var. giraldii
A hybrid, bodinieri  var. giraldii 'Profusion' is said to be a stronger colored form.  Our plants are quite young but already sending up 4-5 ft. shoots that will flower next year. Group planting is recommended to ensure pollination and good berry production.

--Frank Simpson, Garden Manager  

Summer afternoon - summer afternoon; to me those have always 
been the two most beautiful words in the English language."
--Henry James