Joseph Hooker, one of the great 19th century botanists and plant hunters, who brought back rhododendrons from the Himalayas and America, was born in the county of Suffolk in England. I was too; this doesn’t in anyway make me famous but means I grew up surrounded by rhododendrons.
To get my fill of rhodos now all I have to do is take a short trip from Blue Moon Farm to Kitty Coleman Woodland Gardens.
Bryan Zimmerman is the wonderful man responsible for this woodland sanctuary. He does all the work himself - and by hand. Using this method he cleared the undergrowth from 24 acres of forested land on his farm, removing it by wheelbarrow. Then he added 3000 rhododendrons while preserving existing plants on the forest floor. Following the natural topography Bryan went on to create a landscape filled with trails, ponds (hand dug), meadows and companion plants. Eleven years later Bryan continues to care for and expand the garden.
When he gets tired he says,"If it's a nice day, I'll just lay down under a tree and have a nap." Sounds idyllic.
Bring a picnic and plan to spend the whole day. Rhododendrons bloom from March to June, however the garden is a tranquil retreat all year round.
6183 Whitaker Rd, Courtenay, British Columbia V9J 1V7