Meerkerk looking for ‘Grateful Deadheaders’

Meerkerk Gardens is recruiting volunteers to handle a sticky situation.

With rhododendrons mostly done blooming for the season at the sprawling woodland gardens in Greenbank, volunteers are needed to help remove the withered flowers.

Joan Bell, operations manager at Meerkerk Gardens, guesses there are thousands of rhodies on the grounds’ 53 acres. However, the focus will be on the 10-acre display garden.

There is a reward for becoming one of the gardens’ “Grateful Deadheaders.”

Committed volunteers will receive a free Meerkerk tie-dyed T-shirt.

Volunteer work parties gather from 9 a.m. until noon on Thursdays year-round at Meerkerk Gardens with lunch provided afterward. However, volunteers may also work at other times.

Instruction on how to properly dead-head the flowers is the first step.

Bell said those interested in helping should contact her or nursery manager Susie Reynolds at 360-678-1912 or by email at

Bell said those interested in coming out to Meerkerk Gardens to help with deadheading should bring garden gloves.

“Not all of them are sticky,” she said. “We have hundreds of rhododendrons on our property. Some are sticky, some are not.”

Meerkerk Gardens is looking for volunteers to help in other areas, including maintaining forest paths. Once a month, there is a Saturday work party.

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