Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Rhododendron Species Foundation Botanic Garden (itself)

Finally! I've been teasing you with posts on the Fern Stumpery, the Bonsai Museum and the Weyerhaeuser Campus, it's about time we take a look at the actual botanic garden itself, right?

The path to the entrance is bordered with huge specimens, like this Rhododendron williamsianum.

And this Rhododendron insigne.

With it's fabulous bronze-ish indumentum.

R. orbiculare (btw from here on out when you see "R." that's because I didn't want to have to type Rhododendron 85 times!)...

Welcome to the garden proper! Yes, I realize you can't read the text. It was more about capturing the mood.

A lovely Daphne x houtteana.

And a reminder, I visited in mid-November, pre-winter. I'm sure this plant survived (mine did), but may not be looking this good.

A sort of crevice garden? Complete with Saxifraga.

Didn't get the name of this beauty, but I know those are Magnolia leaves acting as mulch.

Autumn color.

Loved this moss topped stump.

That's not really a stump after all.

It's not just about the Rhododendrons! There were many Schefflera throughout the garden. This one is S. fengii.

R. praestans, those leaves were huge!

But not as big as these, R. sinogrande.

Matteuccia struthiopteris

Aka Ostrich fern. Mine spent our cold winter above ground in a metal container. I hope they make a return showing.

Cardiocrinum giganteum aka Giant Himalayan Lily, seedpods.

Peony foliage, I believe.

Blechnum chilense?

Huge specimen...

Schefflera taiwanensis

And another Schefflera taiwanensis, proving there are many variations on the theme.

Pyrrosia sheareri

Such a cool fern.

Stewartia pseudocamellia

Schefflera hoi


Schefflera minutistellata

This guy! Anyone know what it is? I tried to get close enough to read that little label at its base, but the ground was saturated and I was not wearing appropriate footwear. Oh, and I suppose walking through the planting bed is discouraged.


And closer...anybody?

Plagianthus regius

From New Zealand. So cool...

R. 'Sir Charles Lemon'

Time to head inside, out of the constant drizzle, and explore the huge Rutherford Conservatory.

R. lowii, if this one was hardy here you know I'd be growing it.

R. polyanthemum, quite lovely.

R. stenophyllum, wowsa!

I couldn't find a name for this one, but it's certainly a looker.

Back outdoors, and about ready to leave, I had to peruse the plants for sale.

Funny how the time of year can change your outlook. This Schefflera minutistellata was going for $43. Last November (heading into winter, with a very full garden) I left it behind. If I were there now it may have come home with me.

I stopped to admire this R. species nova (that's what the tag said) but at $46 it would have stayed behind, both then and now.

If you enjoyed this look at the garden you should also take a read of these posts from my friend Evan, aka The Practical Plant Geek, posts part onetwo and three. He's much more knowledgeable about these plants than I am.

Weather Diary, March 20: Hi 55, Low 38/ Precip .05"

All material © 2009-2017 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.


  1. I am swooning! Every view and plant more wonderful than the prior one. Ostrich ferns in the ground here withstand subzero temps so I am assuming yours should be fine. I hate them because they are runners and also die back so early in the season leaving a big hole. This whole series of posts has been totally enjoyable. I have been to the Rhodie group's website because they had info on unusual Peonies but really knew nothing about them..

    1. Their propensity to run is why my Ostrich fern is in a container. Thanks for the encouraging words!

  2. I enjoy the posts from your visit the the R garden. I have Pyrrosia sheareri, a purchase form Heronswood's plant sale a few years ago, a rather SLOW grower; I'm very impressed you can name the ferns with their botanical names (that I can hardly pronounce).
    I'm taken with Daphne x houtteana. I'll have to look into buying it. How did it do this winter?

    1. Pyrrosia is a very slow grower here too, but so cool! Oh and you're giving me more credit than I deserve, I can only throw out their botanical names because there was a label, or it's one of the VERY few I know. Re: the Daphne x houtteana, mine lost a lot of leaves this winter (mainly due to ice build-up) but it's rebounding now.

  3. Your posts about the Rhododendron Garden have made me want to visit this spring! My first time there I was still unfamiliar with so many plants, now I know a little more (although they say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing). I have ostrich ferns in my garden here and they survive just fine, I had some in my zone 6 Massachusetts garden and they came back every year. I agree with Ms. Wis about them dying back early and leaving an ugly hole.

    1. You should plan a visit Alison! I would be there again in a heartbeat if I lived closer. Re: ostrich ferns and die-back, I thought mine died quite elegantly last fall, and loved the way these looked in the garden.

  4. Great photos of the garden! And thanks for the links. That plant you couldn't get close enough to read the label of looks like a magnolia. Maybe M. delavayi? The leaf bases look more cordate than most of the photos I can find of that species, but I can't really find photos of young plants. Species nova means that rhododendron is a new species that hasn't been given a name yet. My poor abused Schefflera taiwaniana died back at the tip this winter. I think it would have been fine if it hadn't been stressed from years of growing in a bad location and then getting moved in the fall. Hopefully the rest of the stem is ok and will resprout. It should be happy where it is now.

    1. Thank you! I thought maybe Magnolia but didnt want to poison anyone's mind by saying so. Also thanks for the Rhodo name meaning!

      I bet your S. taiwaniana will make a rebound, those Aralias are tough!

    2. Hi I think the name of the plant you are looking for could be Neolitsea, hope this helps.

  5. Can't believe that it's been over a year since I visited this garden. Your post makes me want to go again soon! So, were there still huge Schefflera macrophylla inside the conservatory?

    1. I suspect you'll be there in a couple of weeks for their sale, yes? And the huge Schefflera macrophylla is still there and looking grand. I didn't take a photo because there was a construction project in the conservatory and the Schefflera's leaves were covered with dust.

  6. It amazes me to see just how diverse the Rhododendron genus is but of course the plants aren't common here. Evan previously pointed me to R. vireyas as the best chance for cultivation here but, under current circumstances, their thirst is still a problem. I love the trek through the drizzly woods - it looks as though you had the place to yourself!

    1. Even though it is so diverse most of them aren't planted here either! And I had the place completely to myself, well, except for an odd fellow that was making me a little nervous.

  7. I cannot believe I have not been to this garden. Like Kris, I am in awe of how many rhododendron species there are. The ferns are pretty fantastic too.

  8. I know most people aim for blooming season to visit Rhody gardens but this is much more to my liking. Wonderful to see some of the compatible plants for underplanting.

  9. My parents had some huge Rhododendrons in the yard of their Long Island house. Very impressed by the variations among the Rhodies on offer. Lots of other beauties as well. And those flowers on the R. stenophyllum.

  10. Hi I think the name of the plant you were looking for is Neolitsea hope this helps. Sean


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