While the daffodils and crocus are just emerging from the soil, the early rhodie bloomers are stealing the show with blooms of pink, purple, and ruffled whites in the display gardens.
In the Nursery visitors will find a sweetly freckled cross - R. irroratum (var. "spatter paint") X 'Peter Faulk'. This was hybridized by Allen Johnson, a well-known and successful Washington hybridizer. Allen Johnson hybridized well into his nineties and is known as one of the first to try the species R. pseudochrysantum as a parent to impart low, spreading stature and outstanding foliage to his hybrids. (Journal Am. Rhododendron Society, Spring 1997, Vol. 1, Number 2).
Along the Easy Walking Path the R. ririei is in full bloom with beautiful light purple blossoms. This is a tall tree and can be seen from the driveway just before the Nursery. This plant is from the Szechwan region in China (Mt. Omei). Ann Meerkerk loved this species of rhody and is the only one in the gardens.
Just past the Entry Garden, in among the tall rhodies, make sure to look for two majestic rhodies. The deep red blossom of the R. elliottii and large pink blossoms of the R. arboreum roseum are sure to delight. Both were probably planted by Ann & Max Meerkerk.
In the Entry Garden, a small R. moupinense has just about finished it's bloom. It's a beautiful white ruffled blossom with pink freckles. According to Greer's Guidebook, this rhodie has an added bonus of bright bronzy-red new growth, which gives a second display after the flowers are gone.
If visitors turn right after exiting the Gatehouse, they'll find 'Christmas Cheer'. This is always a favorite in the Nursery. Susie says, "Customers can be added to the wait list for this beauty." This rhodie has tough, medium size leaves which densely dress the well-shaped plant. (Greer's Guidebook)
Early spring is full of surprises at Meerkerk. It's a great time to discover for yourself the early bloomers of Meerkerk