I’m back after a computer hard drive crash and restoration. Let me just say how thankful I am for my techie husband who helped me fix everything. I’ll continue later with our Spring Break Trip, but wanted to let you know about a wonderful garden that is in bloom right now, and is worth visiting.
For Mother’s Day our family went down to Federal Way to the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden and the Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection. This was our first visit to the garden, and we weren’t disappointed. We started off checking out the bonsai displays. There were many old and impressive bonsai plantings, each one displayed on a cement pedestal. Gravel paths wind around, bringing visitors to more and more interesting specimens. Below are some of our favorites:
After we looked at the bonsai, we entered the Rhododendron Garden and began the self-guided tour. Rhodies as big as trees, brilliant or pastels, in leaf or in boom, mingled with mature Douglas-firs and other native plants.
Many other interesting plants filled in the gaps, collections from places as far-flung as China, Japan, and the eastern United States. We meandered along, following the signs, a new discovery awaiting at every turn.
Some of our favorite areas included the field of blue poppies, the Stumpery display, and the Conservatory.
The latter would be a good place to take refuge on a rainy day, as it was warm and calming, with a stream flowing through, lush growth, and glass art scattered among the plants.
There were many people there on this sunny Mother’s Day, and they were also having a plant sale and Rhododendron blossom contest. Despite the crowds, it was a pleasant place to spend a few hours.
If You Go: The Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden is located at 2525 S. 336th Street, Federal Way, WA 98003. They are open from 10-4 Tuesdays through Sundays (closed Mondays.) Admission rates are: $8 general admission, $5 seniors and students, and children 12 and under are free. The Bonsai Collection is Free. There is no picnicking allowed in the garden, so make sure you eat before you go. Pets are not allowed. There is plenty of free parking on site. The paths are wide gravel, and are suitable for strollers and toddling walkers. There is one bathroom, outside of the entrance, and they will let you leave and come back in to use it. Allow 1.5 – 2 hours to see the majority of the garden.