The RSG exists on the campus of the Weyerhaeuser Company's corporate headquarters in Federal Way, WA in the same general area as the Weyerhaeuser's Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection.
The day had been fairly rainy and about an hour before the sale opened, the rain increased to the point that people thought of getting out umbrellas. For those of you not familiar with this soggy area of the world, we only use umbrellas when the raindrops become so large that a single one could drown you. Otherwise, we just ignore the rain as we've become accustomed to walking around with wet hair and moist clothes for nine months of the year. As if the fates wanted me to shop for plants , the rain subsided just as the sale opened.
One of the cool things about this sale is that it happens outside in a large parking lot so there is lots of space for shopping carts and for the vendors to spread out their wares. Because this fundraiser is sponsored by the Rhododendron Species Garden, there are rhodies and azelias for sale and also vendors of all kinds of plants! This year, there were about 30 specialty growers/nurseries represented.
There were lots of great plant offerings like these Sciadopitys verticillata. I may have bought mine here several years ago.
I first saw and lusted after Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Sunlight Lace' at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show in February. I carried one around for a while but didn't get it. This time, that beautiful foliage forced me to put one in my cart. It also has beautiful cinnamon-colored bark.
Embothrium coccineum are not a temptation for me this year because the one I bought a year ago has grown from this small size to about 4 feet tall. There is new growth showing on it this spring and I'm hopeful that after trying unsuccessfully with this plant a couple of different times, I've finally given it the conditions it wants.
Impatiens omeiana looking beautiful!
Everyone who can should have an Abutilon megapotamicum or several in his garden. Here in the PNW, they begin blooming now and won't stop until December or so. Due to our mild winter, mine didn't stop blooming until February and are starting again. Humming birds love this!
Speaking of familiar favorites, look who I found! Who is that Rock Star? Why it's the aforementioned Alison! We had a great time checking out plant offerings together!
What is more fun than a beautiful shallow bowl full of sempervuvum? One with a plastic dinosaur in it!
Or a motorcycle, your choice.
This Deutzia gracilis 'Variegata' was eye catching. Will you kids please stop throwing your eyes?!
Geranium phaeum 'Margaret Wilson' was a serious temptation which I resisted. I know where I can get them though should my resolve weaken.
With a description like this, who wouldn't want one of these?
So into my cart it went!
Our plants are in the holding area somewhere.
I also had to buy a Rhododendron stenopetalum 'Linearifolium' because Grace posted such lovely pictures of hers!
Alison had to go pick Nigel up at the train station but I lingered a little longer. I've been to this sale in both spring and fall for many years and have visited the nursery at the RSG but have never walked the gardens. I had 20 minutes before the garden closed and during the sale, admission was free so I decided to walk over and see the garden.
I had no idea how large the garden was, nor that 20 minutes was far to short a time to see more than a small fraction of this fabulous place. The brown indumentum on the undersides of the leaves of this rhododendron is gorgeous; those pesky blooms will go away soon!
"Twenty-two acres of year-round botanical splendor make up the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden. It is home to one of the largest collections of species rhododendrons and azaleas in the world. The RSBG continues to support the conservation, preservation, distribution and display of the rhododendron species. Some rhododendrons in the collection no longer exist in their wild habitat.Wild rhododendrons have a great diversity of size and shape with flowers that range in color from white to soft pink, clear yellow, brilliant red and into deep purple. Rhododendrons can range in size from ground hugging alpines to 100 foot trees. The RSBG collection consists of species from North America, Europe, Asia and Africa.A visit to the garden will increase your knowledge of these extraordinary plants that are growing among a forest of conifers and deciduous trees. Exploring the Rutherford Conservatory will provide you with a showcase of tropical rhododendrons as well as many other tropical plants. Hundreds of these beautiful tropical plants are set along a stream with a waterfall and towering boulders. There are over 10,000 rhododendrons in this woodland garden. A gazebo in the center of the garden gives an expansive overview of the landscape. Travel the garden paths to the Fern Stumpery, Alpine and Pond Gardens and the breathtaking Meconopsis Meadow (Himalayan Blue Poppy.) After enjoying this show come and browse the gift show and Plant Sale Pavilion.
So I walked fairly quickly to see as much as I could in such a limited time. Sweet peony blooming on the forest floor.
Rhododendron campylogynum myrtilloides only grows a foot tall and has these shyly nodding flowers. The foliage is sweet too. Who was I to resist when they were offered for sale at the Plant Sales Pavilion?
There was so much to see at every turn.
Magnolia (macrophylla, I think) starting to wake up for summer.
So many paths; which to choose?
Again with the roads diverging in a yellow(?) wood.
This place is only a 20 minute drive from my house and I've never been through the gardens. What an amazing garden! I can't wait to go back when I can investigate all of the paths and see what's around each corner!
Grove of Cardiocrinum giganteum with last year's spent seed pods.
This Schefflera macrophylla in the conservatory has put on some nice growth since I visited it last summer!
As has this tree fern.
Collected in Taiwan by gifted plantsman Steve Doonan, this amazing Fern is hardy to at least single digits! Mine is frustratingly slow to grow! This is the largest one I've seen.
Agapetes somethingorother is quite handsome cascading over rocks. Do you remember the huge potted specimen that used to nearly fill one of the houses at Cistus Nursery in Oregon. Le sigh.
While we're driving or walking around the 500 acre campus, the Weyerhaeuser Corporate Headuarters building is rather interesting to look at! The building is classified as a dam and on the other side of the building there is a lake; on this side, an expansive meadow.
Here is one of the tiered parking lots and below, you can see the lake. Bald Eagles soar over the lake and the views from inside the building are spectacular!
Canadian geese love to nest in all of that ivy which is very close to walkways. Mama geese can get very protective when they're sitting on their nests. Fun times!
Here are some fun facts from the Weyerhaeuser website:
Our Unique Building
- An ivy-planted rooftop terraces that link the 354,000-square foot, five story facility at either end with the natural landscape that surrounds it.
- 400 glass panels, creating the largest set of nonsash window walls in the world.
- Interior wood paneling made by a Weyerhaeuser plant from teak-finished American white oak.
- More than 1,000 large-scale interior plants, representing 40+ species, which along with their aesthetic beauty, help break up sound waves and provide privacy.
- A 10-acre lake fed by Hylebos Creek.
- An American flag that flies from a 120-foot, 9,400-pound Douglas-fir flagpole crafted at a Weyerhaeuser plant.
- A beautiful art collection.
- The Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection.
- The Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden.
- Miles of walking and running paths open to the public.