Philadelphia is known as the garden capital of America. How fortunate for me to find my way here and to have access to so many beautiful gardens, both private and public. I certainly had no idea when I first moved to the area in 1983, that more than 30 years later after a long career in healthcare IT, I would be focused on landscape design and the pursuit of my passion.
But here I am. And each day I’m thankful that I can draw inspiration from the gardens that surround me. Just a short distance from my home, the Jenkins Arboretum is one of those special places. I have been to the Arboretum multiple times during different seasons, but I had never made it there to see their magnificent collection of rhododendrons and azaleas until this year. And what a magical and inspirational experience it was, with over 5000 accessioned rhododendrons, azaleas and hybrids from around the world on display.
|Starting down the path, the colors began to intensify
The woodland trail appeared to be on fire, ablaze in a blinding glow of fuchsia, orange, white, purple and pink. The completely untouched photos below give you a sense of the magical scene.
According to the American Public Gardens website, Jenkins has the ideal climate for their collection. With both north and south-facing slopes, and moist, yet well drained acidic soils, they can display both evergreen azaleas, which grow best further south, and large leaf rhododendrons, which grow best further north. Oh, and they have a deer fence around the entire arboretum. This also helps…..a lot! The images below prove that the blooms were as beautiful up close as they were from afar.
While the trail through the arboretum was clearly the highlight, I would be amiss if I didn’t mention the wonderful facility, with great spaces for meetings and receptions and a deck for viewing the gardens from a different perspective. The Hardy Plant Society Mid-Atlantic Group has held multiple events at the Jenkins Arboretum, all with great reviews.
|The beautiful deck at Jenkins
|The welcoming side entrance
I adore the handful of azaleas on my property, but find myself discouraged by the constant requirement to protect them from deer browsing through sprays or fencing. It’s much easier to admire what Jenkins has to offer. I think I will have to make a trek to Azalea Hill each spring. Care to join me in 2018?