Pruning volunteers are dwarfed by the towering white rhododendrons near the entrance to Meerkerk Gardens. They were sprucing up for Sunday’s Mothers Day concert. Photos by Patricia Guthrie/Whidbey News Group

Pruning volunteers are dwarfed by the towering white rhododendrons near the entrance to Meerkerk Gardens. They were sprucing up for Sunday’s Mothers Day concert. Photos by Patricia Guthrie/Whidbey News Group

Mother’s Day at Meerkerk Gardens

Rainbows of rhodies spring forth for annual concert

Ellen Alexander and Elaine Meaker aren’t ones to gripe during their weekly volunteer task at Meerkerk Gardens in Greenbank.

Beyond beautiful, especially this time of year, they get to be outside and play in the dirt, so what’s not to love?

A tiny azalea bush called Dora Amateis, that’s what.

Blooming near the garden’s stone tower entrance, the two of them deemed it “a pain in the neck” as they maneuvered around the delicate white flowers.

“It’s very painstaking to deadhead,” said Meaker, using the gardener’s term for removing spent leaves and buds. “But we want it to look nice at the entry gate for Mother’s Day so we’re leaving the little leaf buds on it.”

Nearby, Billie Jung scraped a tiny rack along the group to sweep up tiny fallen leaves. One of about two dozen volunteers that regularly help prune, deadhead and landscape every Thursday at the 53-acre woodland gardens, Jung said she enjoyed sweeping up after others.

“If you love the garden, you just keep coming back,” she said. “I mean look at it, the color is magnificent.”

Mother’s Day at Meerkerk Gardens combines an outdoor concert saturated in the bursting blooms of acres and acres of rhododendrons.

It’s a treat for all the senses. The family-friendly affair features mellow music, Whidbey pies, paths to meander, explosive rainbows of colors and snow-capped peaks in the distance.

Against a backdrop of Puget Sound, woods slope to the sea where whales are often spotted and raptors soar above. Performers play from the gazebo; there’s plenty of yard space for lawn chairs and spreading out blankets and picnic baskets.

Performances kick off at noon with Kai Lund Olsen, followed by Doug Roraback at 1:30 p.m. The multi-talented female duo, Derringer Darlings, are scheduled to play 3 to 4 p.m.

“We usually have this whole area filled,” manager Frank Simpson said, pointing to the trimmed grounds near the shade tent and where a new sales kiosk is being built.

“It’s great fun.”

• Meerkerk Gardens Mother’s Day outdoor gazebo concert is noon to 4 p.m., Sunday, May 13 at 3531 Meerkerk Lane, Greenbank. Admission is $10. Whidbey pies and coffee available or bring your own picnic, lawn chairs, blankets. Plants and flowers for sale. See www.meerkerk.org for more info.

One of many delicate beauties on display at Meerkerk Gardens. Photos by Patricia Guthrie/Whidbey News-Times

One of many delicate beauties on display at Meerkerk Gardens. Photos by Patricia Guthrie/Whidbey News-Times

The color of spring on Whidbey. Photo by Patricia Guthrie/Whidbey News Group

The color of spring on Whidbey. Photo by Patricia Guthrie/Whidbey News Group

Working near a potent lillac bush, Avery Holzer attends to her Thursday duties as a Meerkerk Garden volunteer.

Working near a potent lillac bush, Avery Holzer attends to her Thursday duties as a Meerkerk Garden volunteer.

A rainbow of rhodies awaits visitors this weekend at Meerkerk Gardens. The sanctuary of paths, woods, water views and hundreds of rhododendrons and other flowering plants hosts its annual Mother’s Day concert Sunday. Tickets: $10.

A rainbow of rhodies awaits visitors this weekend at Meerkerk Gardens. The sanctuary of paths, woods, water views and hundreds of rhododendrons and other flowering plants hosts its annual Mother’s Day concert Sunday. Tickets: $10.

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A rainbow of rhodies awaits visitors this weekend at Meerkerk Gardens. The sanctuary of paths, woods, water views and hundreds of rhododendrons and other flowering plants hosts its annual Mother’s Day concert Sunday. Tickets: $10.
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