For the over thirty years I’ve lived in the Seattle area, I’ve never visited one of the great rhododendron gardens of the world. Weyerhauser’s Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden showcases an amazing variety of not only rhododendrons and azaleas but also other plants that thrive in our Northwest climate. By no means is it a manicured garden like Butchart; in places, it’s landscaped, in others, it’s a work in progress, but mostly it looks to be in a natural state. The garden has been operating since 1975. Its mission, in its own words, is the “conservation, research, acquisition, evaluation, cultivation, public display, and distribution of Rhododendron species.” Remarkably, the garden holds over 700 of the more than a thousand species found in the world. If you are a lover of flowering shrubs, you can easily spend many hours here. The garden is next door to the Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection.
The gallery below is just a very small sample of what’s blooming now. Aside from generic names, I’ve provided popular names and taxonomies when labels were available.
Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden
2525 S. 336th Street (see GPS coordinates below)
Federal Way, WA 98003
[Coordinates of parking lot: 47.295625, -122.301468]