Thursday, May 7, 2015

Seattle: Washington Arboretum: Azalea Way

Azalea Way, a path within the Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle, is in full bloom and you don't want to miss it. Before you wander, start in the Visitors Center and look over the day's cutting display, it showcases cuttings from the trees and bushes that are in bloom. 

An up-to-date summary is also available online, if you want to see if your favorite species is blooming before you head over. Right now, the star of the park are the azaleas planted on Azalea Way.

I visited last week to see if the wisteria-covered pergola was in bloom. It had just started, as you can see from my photos below. Wisteria is a sturdy vine with lilac-scented white or purple clusters that hang off the vine like grapes. The blooms are hanging through the slats of the pergola at the Washington Park Arboretum Visitors Center.
This wisteria is so old and established, that the vine curling up the wood of the pergola (below) is as thick as a tree trunk.
Onto the azaleas! You may have first noticed these beauties while watching The Masters golf tournament on television in Augusta, Georgia. The Augusta National Golf Course  is known for its beautiful landscaping. The pine trees and sweeping fairways are an ideal backdrop for the colorful azaleas.
I have visited the Washington Park Arboretum many times, but not when the azaleas were at their peak. Can you see the pinks (above) blend into bright yellow, then orange and coral?
In this photograph, I was able to capture even more unusual shades, including periwinkle!

I think this is a "Geisha" azalea, which features a few individual pink blooms scattered among the predominately white blossoms. At first, I thought that 2 varieties had grown together, but no, this plant has humor in its genes. The pop of pink scattered across the plant looks like jewels sewn on a fluffy white gown and it has become a new favorite of mine. 
Speaking of gowns, I think this variety of azalea, with smaller tighter blooms, looks like an Oscar-worthy creation by Mother Nature - Spring 2015.

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