Although this could very well be a picture of me finding a new treasure at a favorite nursery, it's actually an illustration by David Catrow for a children's book called Plantzilla.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Rhododendron Species Garden 31st Annual Spring Sale 2016

This year, the sale promised more vendors than ever and they delivered very well on their word! This is a great sale that I never miss but this year was especially wonderful.  The R.S.G. is on the Federal Way campus of the Weyerhauser company.  Many of you know that this expansive quintessentially Pacific Northwest campus with it's iconic building has been sold to a developer from California.  The R.S.G. is a separate entity and will remain where and as is but the sale itself has taken place in one of the parking lots which may or may not remain depending upon the future use of the space.  I remember fondly the first time I set foot in the building.  With panoramic views of the lake and woodland nearby, eagles soaring above and an open and gracious feeling, it's a very special and impressive space.  But I digress in sentiment as I am wont to do.  Suffice it to say that the sale held a bittersweet note for me.   "Change and decay in all around I see."

One might think that the RSG is all about rhododendrons.  While they do that family very well, they also regularly carry a lot of garden gems.  Here we see some blue meconopsis which grow fairly easily here.  Most of the rest of the country is envious of this!

Ypsilandra thibetica and Pleione formosana.

Schefflera minatistellata can form a small tree up to 20 feet.  Very rare plant from collected seed.  I got one last year and potted up it quickly doubled in size. 

Rhododendron 'Wine and Roses' is nice in bloom but is even more wonderful when the undersides of the leaves, a deep wine red, are viewed from below.

I lost track of all of the vendors as there were so many great ones there!  Trillium.

This is such a sweet plant with cute round leaves and nifty purple tassel flowers.

I resisted.

Nice to see this one as it can be elusive when you're actively seeking it!

My relatives in Alaska, where this is considered a weed, still laugh at me for including it in my garden.

Riches abound!

Never met a Pacific Coast Iris I didn't like.  I don't grow any in my garden but surely love seeing them in those of others.

Acer palmatum 'White Peaches' swoon...

New to me is this vendor.  Love the name for a grower of carnivorous plants. 

As my friend Loree says, "There's always an agave."

Melianthus bloom surprised me but when I got home and looked, my own was in bloom.  

Ah, the luscious leaves of Rodgersia.

From across the parking lot, the leaves of this croton blared like a visual brass band.  I couldn't make out exactly what it was but made my way closer post haste. Was there some new hardy variety of this gorgeous thing?  Turns out that these are from Weyerhauser surplus.  They won't have space in their new Seattle office building for these huge houseplants so here they are.  Quite a bargain at only $50.00.  The planters themselves would retail for more than that.  I thought long and hard about this becoming a permanent resident of my greenhouse but it would take up so much space and wouldn't fit in my car so it's still there along with the others.

This was Far Reaches Farms first year doing this sale and they brought with them some interestingly colored/patterned seedlings of Podophyllum delavayi.  These two walked around with me for a while but then, in keeping with my buying fewer plants this year, one of them went back on the table.  Now I wish I'd taken both.  Oh well.

Kelly took me to Far Reaches Farm's fancy new van to see a newly discovered polygonatum which was interesting but what really caught my eye was this  Podophyllum 'Red Panda'   brought down for someone else.  The price caused me not to ask him to save one for me but now I'm re-thinking that decision.

Ginkgo 'Snow Cloud' 

Gentian is so very blue!

Even these!

One last look at part of the sale and part of the building as I take my two plants home with me, proud of my restraint.
Hope you're enjoying spring plant shopping!


  1. You certainly were restrained because that is one fabulous looking sale. But it was fun to see some things I do grow, so I did not have to have a jealous fit while reading. I can brag that my Trillium sessile are so happy they seed everywhere in my garden. I ordered a number of things from Far Reaches for the first time this year and was very pleased with what they sent.

  2. Sounds like this sale was pretty wonderful this year! My vow to buy nothing this year was helped by me being on vacation in Florida while all the great sales were going on. That Croton is fabulous! Perhaps it is time for me to try Devil's Club again in my garden. The one I bought a few years ago died.

  3. Hmm, I don't think I knew the land/building had been sold. Or if I did I had forgotten...what a bummer!

    I think this is the sale where Riz mentioned he picked up a Schefflera alpina. Did you see any?

  4. The low area at the back of our property is full of Devil's Club. It's pretty primitive back there. What a plant geek's delight this sale must be.

  5. So many interesting plants! I'm always envious of the sales you have up your way but I suppose I'd be broke and homeless if I was presented with such constant temptation.

  6. Oh, we missed that sale! Well, there will be more. We are in a "restraint" pattern too.
    The new Weyerhaeuser headquarters will be right alongside Occidental park, where we meet up before Sounders matches to do the march to the match. Somehow that seems wrong, compared to their former campus.

  7. Easy to swoon over Acer palmatum 'White Peaches' if you are a Japanese maple fan, like I am. I missed this sale again this year. I've been away from my garden for the past 3 weeks and the picture of the Rodgersia got me excited to see how mine are doing: 2nd year they are in the garden from 4" pots.
    Why don't you own any pacific coast iris?


Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I love to hear your thoughts.