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Meerkerk Rhododendron Gardens was founded by Ann and Max Meerkerk in the early 1960's. Enchanted by Whidbey Island, they began these Gardens with 13 acres.

The Rothschild's Exbury Gardens in England, Max's life in Asia and our native Rhododendron macrophyllum, influenced the Meerkerks. Ann was active with the WA Park Arboretum and the American Rhododendron Society, Seattle Chapter. Together, they visualized creating a Pacific Northwest style woodland garden enveloped by a forest preserve. Over the years, the Meerkerks purchased an additional 40 acres to achieve this goal.

The Meerkerks began hybridizing rhododendrons and collecting unique specimens of rhododendrons, flowering trees and conifers. They planted the first five acres, known as the "Secret Garden" as a miniature arboretum.

Before Ann passed away in 1979, she bequeathed the Gardens to the Seattle Rhododendron Society to care for as a "peaceful woodland garden with an emphasis on rhododendrons and companion plants."

Today Meerkerk Rhododendron Gardens is an independent not-for-profit organization open to the public. Fifty three acres of inspirational woodland gardens and a forest preserve offer over 5 miles of trails to breathe in the serene beauty and nature here

Meerkerk is also a research facility working on creating new and improved hybrid rhododendrons as initiated by Ann Meerkerk. Our genetic library is comprised of over 150 years of combined hybridising from well known hybridists from around the world including historic leaders such as Lem, Brandt and Ostbow along with modern hybridists: Fujioka, Watson, Barlup, Simmons-Otness, O'Donnell, Berg, Workman, Hachman and others.

Meerkerk Gardens is a living classroom as well, offering Botany Adventure Nature Tours to 3-5 graders throughout the year.

Each year the Gardens must raise over 90% of its operating funds. This is made possible through Friends of Meerkerk memberships, plant sales, admission donations, grants, fund-raisers and contributions. The Meerkerk endowment covers just under 10% of the cost of caring for this unique place on Earth.

We thank you for your generosity in contributing in support of our endeavors: to beautify the earth, provide a sanctuary for nature and to care for this outdoor classroom and living museum...all right in the heart of Whidbey Island.


Meerkerk Rhododendron Gardens - A nonprofit, tax exempt, 501(c)(3) organization
3531 Meerkerk Lane, P.O. Box 154, Greenbank, WA 98253
Phone: 360.678.1912
Copyright 2003-2015