A Rhodo for every Season

April 12th, 2017

For those of you waiting for big, pompous flowers, there is a place in British Columbia that is bursting with color. Featuring over 250 rhododendron species, this is one specialty nursery where you must visit. I had the pleasure of dropping by the nursery this Monday, in search of the perfect Western Azalea (Rhododendron occidentale) for a client's centerpiece. Here is a small documentation of my trip to Fearing's Farm Species Rhododendron and Azalea Nursery in Abbotsford, BC.

  • Fearings Farm species Rhododendron and Azalea Nursery.

This is a rare species called Rhododendron albiflorum. Though present in the subalpine zones of BC, it has yet to flourish in our cultivated gardens. This was the only surviving one at the nursery, and doesn't look very happy. Perhaps it needs constant moisture, or the blanket of snow throughout the winter, to keep it healthy. Supposedly, there is a lowland variety that can be found "at the 800 ft. level near Muchalat Inlet," penned by Lewis J. clark in Wild Flowers of the Pacific Northwest. However, this description covers a wide range, from Nootka Island to Gold River, and hasn't been verified, much to the dissapointment of gardeners hoping to plant this beauty. For now, we must observe in nature, what we can't yet accomplish in the garden.

  • Fearings Farm species Rhododendron and Azalea Nursery Rhododendron albiflorum.

Amazingly, the garden was full of color despite it being April.

  • Fearings Farm species Rhododendron and Azalea Nursery.

This is a very special rhododendron. When not in bloom, the evergreen leaves keep winter interest and privacy.

  • Fearings Farm species Rhododendron and Azalea Nursery.

The undersides of the leaf is where this Rhodie really shines. Fine hairs have a soft feel to the touch, quite like leather or a fine velvet. Truly, it is a texture I would never believe comes from a plant.

  • Fearings Farm species Rhododendron and Azalea Nursery.

Buds soon to bloom. Proper plant selection can allow you something in flower all year long. That's where proper landscape design comes in handy.

  • Fearings Farm species Rhododendron and Azalea Nursery Rhododendron buds.

The puffball blooms of this Rhodie are uniquely bunched up together.

  • Fearings Farm species Rhododendron and Azalea Nursery Rhododendron buds.
Look! Hilary spotted a Pacific Tree Frog. Can you?
  • Pacific Tree Frog.

With Harold Fearing, master of the Nursery. Behind us is the growing tents where the For Sale rhodos are housed.

  • Fearings Farm species Rhododendron and Azalea Nursery.