Nothing heralds spring on the Mendocino Coast like the annual migration of the gray whales, the arrival of the baby seals and sea lions, and the bright flashes of riotous color of the blooming rhododendrons. Rivaling the brilliant oranges, golds, purples and red of our sunsets, these perennial shrubs beg you to stop and appreciate their beauty! In celebration of the height of the bloom, two free events will be held on Saturday and Sunday, May 2nd and 3rd.
Co-sponsored by the American Rhododendron Society Noyo Chapter and the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, the annual Rhododendron Show and Sale will take place on both Saturday the 2nd and Sunday the 3rd from 9:00AM to 5:00PM. The juried show is expected to be the largest in California, if not the entire Pacific coast. The big white tent houses hundreds of colorful blooms for viewing, as well as bonsai, photographs and floral arrangements. Don’t miss the raffle for gifts and the silent auction, and plan to tour the gardens with your $1 admissions discount. People’s choice awards and educational displays will complement the show. For details and entry information, visit www.noyochapterars.com.
Don’t miss the second annual Rhododendron Walk on Saturday the 2nd, from 11:00AM through 4:00PM. The event features a passport drawing for prizes, strolling musicians and refreshments at Town Hall on the corner of Laurel and Main. To attend, pick up a passport at any participating merchant and start exploring the fascinating shops, galleries and boutiques. Have your passport stamped by at least ten of the over thirty merchants and become eligible for a random drawing for fabulous prizes (no purchase necessary). Be sure to return your passports to any participating merchant by 3:30PM or to Town Hall prior to the 4:00PM drawing. Download and print your passport for a list of participating merchants here.
While Gardens admission is not required to view the show, the Gardens are offering a $1 discount admissions coupon for show attendees and Rhododendron Walk passport holders. The Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, listed by Sunset Magazine as second on their list of top western public gardens, has one of the nation’s largest collections of rhododendrons—more than 1000 at last count, with many hybridized here on the Mendocino Coast—and they promise to fill the formal gardens and woodlands with riotous color. Rhody’s Café at the Gardens will be open both days, serving snacks, lunch, and ice cream. Leashed pets are welcome in the gardens, so bring the entire family. For more information, visit www.gardenbythesea.org.
A wide variety of rhododendron plants may be purchased at the show. Local growers and Noyo Chapter members will be on hand to answer questions and discuss the best plants for your garden.
All rhodie growers are welcome to enter their best trusses for judging. Those wishing to participate should bring their entries to the Botanical Gardens on Thursday, May 1st, between 5:00PM and 7:00 PM, or on Friday, May 2nd, between 9:00AM and 1:00 PM. Chapter members will be available to assist in filling out entry forms. Judging will take place Friday afternoon, beginning at 3:00PM. Judges will award ribbons and trophies to top entries in a wide range of categories. For further details, please visit: www.noyochapterars.com or call (707) 962-0565.