Meerkerk Rhododendron Gardens was founded by Ann and Max Meerkerk in the early 1960's. Enchanted by Whidbey Island, they began the Gardens with 13 acres
Together, Ann and Max visualized creating a Pacific Northwest style woodland garden enveloped by a forest preserve. The Rothschild's Exbury Gardens in England, Max's life in Asia, and Washington's native Rhododendron macrophyllum influenced the Meerkerks. Ann was active with the Washington Park Arboretum and the American Rhododendron Society, Seattle Chapter. Over the years, the Meerkerks purchased an additional 40 acres to achieve this goal.
Eventually, 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 and managed by the Meerkerk Rhododendron Garden nonprofit which was established in 2002 .
The Meerkerk's legacy of fifty three acres of inspirational woodland gardens and a forest preserve offer over 4 miles of trails to breathe in the serene beauty and nature.
To enrich and inspire visitors of all ages through the experience of a peaceful woodland garden showcasing rhododendrons.