Thursday, May 21, 2009

Tofino's Rhodoland

A cool, moist climate and acidic soils mean that rhodos love Tofino, too. The entire west coast for that matter. George Fraser, a (now) world-renowned rhododendron breeder choose to make Ucluelet — just a hop, skip, and a marathon away from here — his home in the early 1900s. George is being celebrated this coming weekend with the annual George Fraser Days in Ucluelet. (The celebrations kick off Saturday at 10:30 and include a walk through George Fraser's heritage gardens.)

The rhodos are at their showiest at the moment, but they've been blooming for over a month and will last about another month too. Not to be missed is Ken and Dot Gibson's Rhodo Hill (or "Painted Mountain" it's been called) in the downtown core (there's that Heart of Tofino again). Their collection — which has taken over 40 years to amass and nurture — includes 2000 plants with about 1000 varieties.

Even I have a few lovely rhodos that came with the property when we purchased it in 1991. This fluffy pink beauty (I've no idea of the variety) is at it's peak at the moment.

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