Garden Photo of the Day

Meerkerk in Spring

By Kim Charles

Linda and Dan O'Connell share with us some beautiful spring photos from Meerkerk Rhododendron Garden.

"These are photos of beautiful Meerkerk Rhododendron Garden right here on Whidbey Island, WA. We had visited this garden several years ago while vacationing in the area and now that we live here, it's one of our favorite places on the Island. If any GPODers are thinking of a garden trip to the PNW I would definitely encourage you to include  this in your visit, especially during April and May.
Happy spring, Linda and Dan O'Connell"

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  1. frankgreenhalgh 05/03/2017

    Hello there Linda & Dan - Great to see pics. of the lovely rhododendron gardens on your Island. The diversity of the flower colours and the landscaping look superb. It is nice to have such interesting gardens on your door step. Is the lovely gazebo-like building in the first slide at the entrance to the gardens? The moss (?) in the second last pic. is spectacular. Cheers from Oz

    PS. It is World Naked Gardening Day on Saturday 6 May. Just saying guys!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. user-7007498 05/03/2017

      Hey, Frank. Does that mean you are going to be submitting pictures?

      1. frankgreenhalgh 05/03/2017

        Worried about low hanging fruit and pruning activities, Kev. Besides, probably warmer over there. Cheers mate

    2. User avater
      Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 05/03/2017

      We're having a spate of normal, chilly spring weather for the moment. No naked gardening for me today!
      Cheers, Frank!

      1. frankgreenhalgh 05/03/2017

        Perfectly understandable and convenient, Tim.

    3. User avater
      LindaonWhidbey 05/03/2017

      Haha, Frank. I'm definitely sharing that at our garden club meeting?

  2. user-7007498 05/03/2017

    Good morning, Linda and Dan. I love the photos you submitted. What a nice garden. I will admit, I am not a huge rhododendron fan, but probably because they are so overused in home landscape in a very unnatural design. These were beautiful. I especially love the second photo with the purple flowers and very gnarled and twisted branches. The last photo also has me drooling. Looks like paradise.

    1. User avater
      LindaonWhidbey 05/03/2017

      Hi Kevin, we felt the same way about rhodies before seeing them here where they get so enormous and have such interesting colors. The blue one in the second photo was just transplanted on that mound to have more of a bonsai look.

  3. User avater
    meander_michaele 05/03/2017

    Sigh with admiration...sigh with appreciation... and, yes, sigh with envy. Love those coral colored blooms and, oh, my, the moss laden tree very gorgeous. Rhodies and azaleas hate something about my water and/or soil and no amount of Hollytone can make them look healthy. In fact, just today I am ripping out some rhododendrums that give me a stab of feeling guilty every time I walk past them. Thank you, Linda and Dan for sharing these beautiful pictures...and reinforcing my conviction that I should gracefully accept defeat.

    1. User avater
      LindaonWhidbey 05/03/2017

      I think that it's our cool summers and mild winters that they like...and they don't like heavy soil or to be planted too deeply. We were never successful in WI except for the Exbury type azaleas.

  4. Sunshine111 05/03/2017

    your photos are lovely! I have a friend who lives on Whidby Island. I think I'm going to have to plan a visit at some point

    1. User avater
      LindaonWhidbey 05/03/2017

      Lily, please let me know if you visit someday as it would be fun to get together and thank you for the photo compliment. That means a lot coming from you.

      1. Sunshine111 05/03/2017

        Why thank you Linda! You made my day! ?☀️?

  5. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 05/03/2017

    Thanks for sharing your visit, Linda and Dan. I'd love to see more of PNW, including this Whidbey Island destination. It's great seeing the mature specimens. I really love the ones that look as if they've been trimmed up to expose the trunks. It's a completely different look from the evergreen, floor-to-ceiling greenery one usually sees.

    1. User avater
      LindaonWhidbey 05/03/2017

      You're right, Tim, and some have beautiful shaggy bark trunks.

  6. floreyd 05/03/2017

    Tim, agree completely. Almost a bonsai look... great for winter interest when the flowers and foliage have disappeared.

  7. NCYarden 05/03/2017

    This must be a spectacular destination, and quite fortunate you are so close now. It's a beautiful collection. Love that second photo...the soft lavender blooms and exposed twisting trunk and branches. I tend to do this in my garden - one, simply for aesthetics, but also for more room to plant smaller plants below. Will definitely add this to my list of destinations. It's quite stunning. Thank you for sharing.

    1. User avater
      LindaonWhidbey 05/03/2017

      Thank you, David. That rhodie that you mentioned in the second photo had just been transplanted recently to have more of a bonsai look. Like you, we do this in our garden, too, especially with our maples.

      1. Luvfall 05/03/2017

        This winter I decided to trim up one of my newer rhodies after seeing a photo on GPOD. Linda, your photos have reinforced my decision. And I'm loving the purple ones.

  8. annek 05/03/2017

    Beautiful! Simply beautiful

  9. foxglove12 05/03/2017

    Wow so pretty! Love ❤️ that orange rhody!

    1. User avater
      LindaonWhidbey 05/03/2017

      That rhodie is called 'Seaview Sunset', hybridized by Frank Fujioka. It eventually gets to a pale yellow. We have two in our own garden.

  10. sheila_schultz 05/03/2017

    In my eyes, one of the most beautiful elements of PNW gardens is the incredible range of lush green, it is the perfect backdrop for color. These Rhodies easily take centerstage with such beauty surrounding them!

    1. User avater
      LindaonWhidbey 05/03/2017

      You're so right, Sheila. I was just looking out at our dripping landscape and with all of the rain this year, it is intensely green. It makes the flowers look a bit sharper.

  11. gardencook 05/03/2017

    These are absolutely gorgeous!!! I love these shrubs!!!! I would love to come and visit sometime!! Thank you so much for sharing your visit with us!!

  12. user-4691082 05/03/2017

    I'm with Meander. Too short lived and difficult here in SE Pa. i am becoming a moss fanatic though! Thanks for sharing!

    1. User avater
      LindaonWhidbey 05/03/2017

      You're right, Rhonda. Your spring in PA is probably similar to what we had in WI where it goes from spring to hot summer overnight. It's very different here so the blooms last much longer and get a chance to slowly metamorph from deep pink blooms to full out white flowers.

  13. DarliBarli 05/03/2017

    GASP, GASP, GASP!!!! HOW UTTERLY WONDERFUL!!! Your photographs are terrific as well. Looks like this would be a great time to visit Meekerk. Thanks so much for posting!!

    1. User avater
      LindaonWhidbey 05/04/2017

      Thank you for the nice comments, Darlene.

  14. schatzi 05/03/2017

    Gorgeous pictures of one of my favorite plants. Love the sunset colors especially. I really should go see this garden since I don't live that far away. Another destination garden is the Rhododendron Species Garden in Federal Way, for anyone making the trip. I'm a member and I don't get there often enough either. Ah the riches in our backyard can be ignored, while we travel to see other places. Happy Spring - I think it is finally warming up.

    1. User avater
      LindaonWhidbey 05/04/2017

      Hi Shirley, the Rhododendron Species Garden is on our list. Spring is always so busy and then it gets too late to really appreciate it. You're so right about the gardening riches at our fingertips.

  15. User avater
    vanhatalosuomi 05/03/2017

    Thank you so much for submitting these lovely pictures! Sure enjoyed them :)

  16. Meelianthus 05/03/2017

    Linda, really lovely photos and I can't believe I haven't been to these gardens. We are planing to attend the upcoming garden tour however, so will definitely take in the Meerkerk Gardens. Thank you for sharing this lovely display.

    1. User avater
      LindaonWhidbey 05/04/2017

      How nice. Hopefully it will still be as beautiful as it is right now. They have a nice nursery, too.

  17. user-6536305 05/03/2017

    Thanks Linda for the photos and love them! Any gardens to see on the Whidbey Island in the end of June and early July? We will be in the area around that time.

    1. User avater
      LindaonWhidbey 05/04/2017

      Hi Lilian, Meerkerk is really the only public garden on the island and it is still pretty in the summer but not like it is now in the spring. If you are continuing south, you could check out Windcliff ( Dan Hinckley's garden) or Heronswood, where he used to live but I'm guessing that you've probably seen those already. Have you ever been to Bloedel Conservatory on Bainbridge Island? Of course, there's our garden if you'd like to see it:)

      1. user-6536305 05/05/2017

        Thanks Linda for the suggestions and invitation. I am consulting my husband and we are looking into it and will contact you late. I have been to Heronswood but not to Windcliff. I have been to many of Dan Hinckley's lectures, seminar and would love to his own garden. I would love to see your garden.

      2. user-6536305 05/09/2017

        Hello Linda, we are planing to visit Meerkerk, Bloedel Conservatory and hopefully Windcliff (Dan Hinckley's garden - not open at out time of visit but will e-mail him and ask anyway.) of course would love to see your garden. Please e-mail me at [email protected] because I need your address to book a hotel in a most convenient location to see all the gardens. We are on our way to North California. Thanks!!

  18. greengenes 05/04/2017

    Oh so nice! Linda, thanks for sharing this with us! I have heard of this garden but wasnt sure where it was at! I will come to visit for sure. I love the moss picture but they are all top notch in capturing the beauty of rhodys and azaleas!

  19. Cenepk10 05/13/2017


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