Take your time to discover the variety of plants, rhododendrons, and trees within the Gardens.
1. Gatehouse Entrance
This lovely stone structure was dedicated in May 2007 and is constructed of limestone and yellow Port Orford cedar from Alaska. It was modeled after the garden “Folly” in the Prince of Wales Gardens at Highgrove House near Tetbury in Gloucestershire, England.
2. Hall Garden
This was the first garden donated to Meerkerk by Harold and Rosalee Hall and includes an interesting variety of Yak hybrids with false lily of the valley as a ground cover. A nursery log provides nutrients to new plants as they grow and a nice area to sit.
3. Ramsey Rock Garden
Named for its creator Jim Ramsey, you will find lovely companion alpine spruce conifers along with Spirea and a host of small leafed rhododendrons. The smaller leaf is sun tolerant. The rocks add nice accents to the alpine look.
4. Entry Garden
This garden was originally developed as a “test garden” for hybridizing rhododendrons. Katsura trees grace the sides of the Gatehouse and a Persian Ironwood stands to the right. After exiting the Gatehouse don’t miss the Bloodgood Japanese Maple on the right. The Peak Bloom Season (March – May) provides a show of color and texture throughout this garden area. The Loderi King George Rhododendron shades a nearby bench and provides large white blossoms and delightful fragrance when blooming.
5. Big Leaf Valley
With his love for species rhododendrons, Creator Carl “Jake” Jacobson 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 environment for large leaf arboreal type rhododendrons along the sides of the valley above the upper pond. The dappled light from the forest provides shade for the species rhodies. Marvel at the enormous rhodie leaves and the flora and fauna of a coastal woodland.
6. Ponds (Lower, Middle, Upper)
The ponds are essential for irrigation to the gardens. The middle pond was developed by landscape architect Jim Hussey and his wife Dorothy. Groupings of bog loving plants, like Gunnera, Cammasia, Primula, ferns and Siberian Iris surround the ponds and rhododendrons; cherry and dogwood trees stand nearby on higher ground. 3 miles of forest trails can be accessed from this area. The Gardens’ benches offer a place for rest and contemplation.
7. Lem's Patch
Named after famous PNW hybridizer Halfdan Lem, this area showcases rhododendrons obtained from his Everett nursery by the Meerkerks. There are fragrant azaleas nearby, creating a scented pathway. Make sure to find the ‘Original Walloper’ which is located across from Garden 9 and is the first Walloper hybridized by Halfdan Lem. It’s a beauty!
8. Secret Garden
This garden is the original garden created by Ann & Max Meerkerk. Hidden in the middle of the woods, it acquired the name “secret garden”. Many of the unique trees planted here can also be found at the Seattle Washington Arboretum. The rhodies in this area are mature and form a wonderful canopy to explore. Look for the diamond bark maple, the paper bark maple, in addition to several large rhodies.
9. Presentation Grounds / Gazebo
AThe Gazebo hosts special events and occasional weddings. This is a great spot to sit and enjoy water views of Holmes Harbor. Bring a picnic and enjoy!
The Specialty Nursery stocks rhodies, azaleas, companion plants, and native plants. Choose from 1 gallon to mature plants. Open March – October.