Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Rhododendron Time Machine

Rhododendron kesangiae
The pictures in this post today are from exactly two years ago - April 3rd, 2010.  They are all from the Rhododendron Species Garden in Federal Way.  There, I discovered a few great plants including this stunner:
Cardiocrinum giganteum (Giant Himalayan Lily)
I probably would have walked right past this plant if it hadn't been for the 10' tall old flower stalks still hanging around from the previous year.  What perennial shoots a flower stalk 10 feet into the air?  When I walked back to the plant store at the entrance, not only did they know exactly what I was talking about, they also had a few for sale.  Of course I bought one.  I should have bought more.

Matteuccia struthiopteris (Ostrich fern)
I had seen Ostrich ferns before, but never naturalized like this.  They all seem to be unfurling their fronds at exactly the same rate.

Rhododendron sinogrande
It was fairly apparent, judging mostly by the leaf damage, that this king of all large-leaved rhododendrons had endured the relatively cold winter of 2009-2010.  I don't know how or even if they protected it, but if it made it through that winter, it certainly has a lot of potential in the Northwest.

Erythronium revolutum
Usually you have to wait until the summer if you want to see lilies (at least growing outside naturally), but these lilies are doing their thing right at the beginning of spring.

Finally, the rhododendrons in this last picture form a conglomerate about the same size as an average 2-story suburban house.

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