Take your time to discover the variety of plants, rhododendrons, and trees within the Gardens.
1. Entrance to the Garden
Beautiful Katsura trees grace the Gate House garden, a Persian Ironwood is off to the right as you enter, along with a Bloodgood Japanese Maple.
2. Hall Garden
Here an interesting variety of Yak hybrids and the False Lily of the Valley as a ground cover. A nurse log, which gives nutrients to new plants as they grow, and a nice area to sit on a bench.
3. Ramsey Rock Garden
You will find lovely compaion conifers in this garden, along with Spirea and a host of small leafed Rhododendrons. The smaller leaf takes sun better. The rocks add nice accents to a landscape as well.
4. Hybrid Test Garden
This garden was established in 1989 to grow and showcase hybrid rhododendrons. The original purpose included six wedges with three sections. Each plot was replanted in a six year rotation, and during the testing cycle each plant was evaluated for form, flowers, foliage, disease resistance, and fragrance. At the end of its cycle each plant was transplanted into the collection, offered for sale, or removed. Noted hybridizers are Frank Fujioka, Jim Burlap, and Elsie Watson.
5. Lem's Patch
Named after the Pacific NW hybridizer, Haldan Lem, this garden contains rhododendrons obtained from his nursery by Ann and Max Meerkerk. Most recently, the landscape has grown to compliment the fragrant azaleas nearby, creating a fragrant pathway. Also, included in this bed are frangrant lilacs, primroses, and lily of the valley.
6. Secret Garden
This is the Meerkerk's original garden. "Secret" because it was hidden in the middle of the woods. As members of the Washington Arboreturm Foudnation, they planted many of the unique tree species, which are also found at the Washington Arboretum in Seattle.
7. Tribute Hillside
Overlooking the lower pond, this is a collection of rhododendrons from earlier Hybrid/Test garden plants.
8. Asian Species Garden
This section of the garden is named Asian, as it showcases species native to Asia. Most of the rhododendrons were collected in the wild by Warren Berg, Garrett Richardson, or Steve Hootman. This adjoins the original sections of the gardens from the Meerkerk era, which includes species and many of Ann's first hybrids.
9. Meditation Pond
As a gift to his wife, Dorothy, Jim Hussey funded the design and installation of the meditation garden to honor her work as a renowned landscape architect. Dedicated in 1995 before her passing, this Meditation Garden provides a bridge from the Gardens to the forest. The bridge was hand made by Whidbey artisan Kim Hoelting from Alaska Yellow Cedar. Groupings of bog-loving plants, like Gunnera, Cammasia, Primula, ferns and Siberian Iris are in the lowlands. Rhododendrons, Cherry and Dogwood trees are planted on higher ground. Horsetail emerges in April - as this is a perfect and natural habitat for this plant.
10. Big Leaf Valley
Jake Jacobson, with his love for species rhododendrons along with assistance from Don Kohlenberger and Dennis Gibberson, began the development of the Big Leaf Valley in 1999. The purpose was to create an area of large leaf, arboreal type rhododendrons along the sides of the alley above the upper pond. The dappled light from the forest provides shade and underground springs drain down this valley: filling the ponds with irrigation water, and creating a moist and humid atmosphere. The soil is mossy and rich with humus. An under story of lower growing species was planted in 2000. Many of the plants are now blooming and others will take decades.