"Rhododendron 'Invitation' was just that....a welcoming mix of carmine and cream on the tips of each branch of these towering specimens of garden goodness," says visiting photographer Karl Gercens. Thanks Karl for sharing your words and photography with us.


Help Us DOUBLE our Give Big Award this Year!
The Meerkerk Gardens has once again been invited to participate and receive funds from donors who want to participate in this year's fundraising efforts organized by the Seattle Foundation. 


It's Easy to Give! 
You don't have to wait until May 10th - you can visit the Give Big website   www.givebig.seattle.org  and schedule your donation now. Click on the link below and  search for Meerkerk Gardens . Find our logo (click on it) and then enter in your donation and contribution information. 

Your donation will support our ongoing efforts of improving pathways, installing new planting beds, and improving watering systems. 
Deadline to Give Big is May 10th. 
Thanks for Y our Support!


Mother's Day Music Schedule
Noon - 1:00 pm    Sway Whidbey
Sway is a duo that plays "Swing, outside the lines". Swing standards, blues, and any indie or pop music that can be shoe-horned into their style, from the 1920's to today. Teresa Money sings and plays keyboard and guitar; Richard Hughes plays guitar and sings.

1:30 - 2:30 pm     Rick Azim
Rick is an international freelance jazz and blues guitarist who has performed with Ray Charles, Joe Williams, Linda Hopkins, Nell Carter, Michael Omartian, Louis Bellson and many more.

3:00 - 4:00 pm   Douglas Roraback
Enjoy Doug's rich baritone voice as he sings country, folk, and gospel. Doug is a 21 year Whidbey local who performs regionally at wine tasting rooms, coffee houses, and restaurants on Whidbey Island. 

Whidbey Pies - Yummy!
Stroll the gardens, bring a picnic lunch, enjoy pies from Whidbey Pies, and listen to great music all afternoon.

Welcome to Botany Adventure!
For the next 10 weeks, students from Oak Harbor, Coupeville, and South Whidbey School Districts will arrive to learn about pollinators in the gardens from the Botany Adventure Volunteer Guides. 
The outdoor classroom teaches the next generation horticulture, science, and nature. The lessons are "hands-on" activities and are aligned with Washington State Essential Academic Learning Requirements. 
Botany Adventure Volunteers
Program Coordinator, Martha Hollis says, "We have a great group of volunteer teachers and guides who are excited and ready to introduce nature and stewardship to young gardeners.  This program provides a quality experience for the students each year."   
The Botany Adventure program is supported by the Greenbank Garden Club, the Island County Master Gardeners, Coupeville Garden Club, and South Whidbey Garden Club.

The Meerkerk Gardens Benefit Gala will be held at the Dancing Fish Winery this year. 
The event will feature great wine, yummy appetizers, music, and merriment throughout the evening. Tickets will go on sale in early  June. 
Mark Your Calendars!
Saturday, August 12th
6:30 pm    $75.00 per person
Music by Skinny Tie Jazz

   WHAT'S BLOOMING IN THE GARDENS  -- Frank Simpson, Garden Manager
R. impeditum
Like all gardeners this year, we are impatient with the slow advance of spring. The colder temperatures and lack of sun can easily overwhelm us. Thankfully, we have many familiar friends emerging from their slumbers to keep us hoping for that ray of sunshine.

As you enter through the gatehouse into the Entry Garden, you are greeted with a cheery display of rhododendron impeditum, a low growing species with small leaves and deep purple flowers. This is such a reliable and sun-tolerant compact shrub from Sichaun, China where it grows in wild thickets and alpine meadows at 8 - 12, 000 ft. 

In the garden it shares space with Rhododendron 'Blue Diamond' that we planted along the new walkway earlier this year. A lighter purple, these are flowering in spite of the deer that have been feasting relentlessly on the new vegetative shoots.

R. Saffron Silk
View to Cherry Trees

Further along the new walkway, you can't miss Rhododendron loderi 'King George' with its giant trusses of fragrant flowers just now unfolding. From here your eye may lead you across the Entry Garden to the group of Mt. Fuji cherry trees, with their double white flowers already fully open. As you wander in that direction, you'll no doubt be distracted by the virtual candy jar of rhododendron blooms. These include R. 'Sir Charles Lemon'; 'Avalanche' with its big bold trusses of white fragrant flowers; R. 'Senora Meldon; R. 'Saffron Silk'; and R. 'Opal Luster, another fine hybrid from Frank Fujioka. These are just a few of the many hybrids in flowers.

Magnolia soulangeana
The white form of the tulip magnolia, Magnolia soulangeana is still in flower but beginning to drop petals after a beating with the rain and high winds. A second, much larger one can be seen outside the Volunteer Cottage but the flowers on this is more typically tinged with pink. 

Magnolia campbellii is finished flowering by now, but two others Magnolia 'Rustica Rubra' and Magnolia 'Elizabeth' (creamy yellow tulip flowers) are in flower on Meerkerk Lane and on the Easy Walking Loop near the Nursery. 

Besides the Mt. Fuji Cherries, two other cherries are worth a mention: Prunus 'Yoshino' is a single light pink with a darker pink center in the Secret Garden and what I think may be Prunus padus, (bird cherry) a tall spreading white flowered tree near the parking lot. 

Prunus 'Yoshino'

Elsewhere around the garden you can't miss the purple flowers of Rhododendron augustinii and the many purple hybrids.
R. augistinii

The real magic at this time of year is how the garden changes each week to reveal new surprises as you are drawn by another flowering gem in the distance. At this time of year there is something in flower just around every corner. 

"Friendship is the source of the greatest pleasures, and without friends even
 the most agreeable pursuits become tedious."
--Thomas Aquinas