In a burst of pink my daughter and I began our trek through the rhododendron splendors of the Mendocino Botanical Garden forest yesterday. The magnificently beautiful journey was well beyond either of our expectations. We quickly found ourselves immersed in unspeakable flower power, the spirit of which emanated from all the regions through which we ventured, mouths agape, and cameras clicking. We gave thanks for having gotten ourselves there before the end of the peak season, which is month’s end, especially knowing the heavy recent rains had probably damaged some of the showy petals. We encountered a lovely woman named Christina who had been working in the gardens for ten years. “Yes, we had a lot of rain,” she smiled, “but there are always new blossoms.” Aw, yes, the renewing and refreshing and ongoing cycle of life upon which we were able to count. Lucky us!
Quietly we walked through the beauty, managing just barely to take in all we were beholding. A sheer three or four steps found us before yet another example of the glory of the rhododendron. That someone had actually assembled such a gathering of beauty in this moist forest setting, where they do well, is an incredible blessing. Might we kiss someone’s feet to have created such a place for us to visit! Christina explained that the rhododendrons were divided loosely into three large areas. The initial paths would take us to the hybrid rhodies; the inner more off the beaten track paths would put us among tender species rhodies, gathered from far and obscure places in the world and acclimated to the coasts of Mendocino; and that once we were past the Deer Gate, we would be walking among the large leaf rhododendrons. That was as much detail as I seemed to need for this trip. So, beginning our walk among the hybrids, here are some highlights from what we beheld.
If was fascinating to learn that the rhododendron is the national flower of Nepal.
The name rhododendron comes from the Greek rhodos, “rose” and dendron, “tree”. I think prior to this adventure I more thought of rhododendrons as shrubs rather than trees. Now I will more fully appreciate their place in a moist forest setting.
What lay beyond this gate I am saving for another day, dear readers. Yes, I am. It was nothing I expected and deserves its own story. I will leave you instead with more wonderful images from our day among the lovely rhododendrons of the coastal botanical gardens that Mendocino so generously provides. I do hope you have enjoyed the journey and that you will take it yourselves one fine May day.
Thank you, my dears, for joining me on this journey.
Love and many gardening blessings,
Posted on May 16th, 2009 by Kathryn
Filed under: Plants