Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Hendricks Park Rhododendron Garden

Click on photos to enlarge

In my last blog post I shared my visit to Down to Earth in Eugene, OR. I'd heard about it a year ago and finally went there with my sister last Saturday.  Sunday we had plans to see a park she had called a "rhododendron park".  Being from the Portland area, I pictured old rhodies surrounding an expanse of lawn.

Turns out The Rhododendron Garden is a small portion of Hendricks Park located behind the University of Oregon campus. Hendricks Park is approximately 78 acres of wooded land (huge) about half of it donated by the Hendricks family in 1906. 

The Rhododendron Society established this garden back in the 1950s. I read that after seeing the park and could have have sworn some of the rhododendron and camellias were much older.

I have to admit, that I'm not too excited about rhodies, in college I worked on the campus grounds and there were old arborescent (tree-like) rhodendron everywhere. So I wasn't surprised that I took 65 pictures at the park and only one of a rhododendron bloom, a blue one of course.

To me the great thing about this park is the wide variety of plants with all sorts of flowering trees, shrubs, and ground cover. The area is wooded with large conifer trees, while the park has a mixture of evergreen and deciduous plants. We saw flowering cherry, apple, and dogwood trees to name a few. I was most interested in the variety of ground covers, some I knew (clover, ajuga, and forget me nots) and others I didn't.  

My favorite plant feature - madrone bark. My best photo - clover. I also liked watching my sister, who is not a gardener, to see what plants she liked. Her favorites were a pink flowering cherry tree and a red camellia about 20 feet tall. Some come with plant markers, one shrub I'd never seen before wasn't marked, luck of the draw here.

Madrone bark

A clump of clover

So, The Rhododendron Garden was a pleasant surprise and impossible to fully discover in one trip. The Native Plant Garden near the parking area was where I found the madrone trees. This garden was a bit 'wilder', laid out more like a nature trail, but included id markers. We looked at it briefly on our way back to the car. I would definitely like to go back and see more of the park. 

If you want to see the blooms go before Memorial Day, but this park has more to offer than just rhodies. I have more photos and plan to add several to my Flickr page later.

Here's a link to Friends of Hendricks Park:
You can find maps, brochures and more at this link.

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