Weyerhaeuser Bonsai and Rhododendron Garden

I’ve long wanted to visit the famous Weyerhaeuser Bonsai garden and since I had to drop my brother off at the airport at 11:00 we decided to use the opportunity to stop and visit the gardens. We couldn’t have chosen a more opportune time to do so.

Not only were there the usual displays of striking bonsai,

there was also a special show going on called Traditions and Transitions - Arts of the Earth, where ceramic pieces were paired with bonsai plants

as in this display where the Damian Grava’s clay creations were paired with a bonsai created by Nick Lenz.

Though the bonsai would easily have stood on their own, it was fascinating to see how local artists paired their work with various bonsai.

I didn’t realize that most of the grounds are actually devoted to a Rhododendron garden, one where rare rhododendrons from different parts of the world are displayed in various settings. Though the rhododendrons have long since bloomed this year, the beautiful gardens were still worth the $3.50 entry fee.

Now that I’ve actually visited the garden I’m looking forward to visiting it next year when the rhodies are in bloom.

5 thoughts on “Weyerhaeuser Bonsai and Rhododendron Garden

  1. Through an accident of work, I’ve gotten to know some execs at Weyerhaeuser, who spent 40 years of their lives responding to concerns like yours. I can’t defend, explain, translate or interpret them. I can’t even guess what they would say. I’ve cringed, driving to Ilwaco, when I saw the clearcuts around Jump off Joe Creek after I passed Elma. They grew back, but I wondered what we were missing, those old growth forests. Timber science says they die anyway, but that logic ignores the charm and power of trees allowed to live out the cycle of life. I wonder how Robert Michael Pyle would answer those claims. (He got his PhD in Forestry at Yale, so he’s better qualified to speak). But he can be tough on all of us, not just the corporations. He writes about butterflies, slugs, other critters whoe habitats are ravaged. But he spares no dandies whose idea of nature is that it’s OUR toy.
    Here’s a passage from him:
    “In my view, most people who consider themselves nature lovers behave more like skimmers than pelicans. They buy the right outfits at L.L. Bean and Eddie Bauer, carry field guides and take walks on nature trails, reading all the interpretive signs. They watch the nature programs on television, shop at the Nature Company and pay their dues to the National Wildlife Federation or the National Audubon Society. These activities are admirable, but they do not ensure truly intimate contact with nature. Many such “naturalists” merely skim, reaping a shallow reward. Yet the great majority of the people associate with nature even less.

    When the natural world becomes chiefly an entertainment or an obligation, it loses its ability to arouse our deeper instincts. Professor E. O. Wilson of Harvard University, who has won two Pulitzer prizes for his penetrating looks at both humans and insects, believes we all possess what he calls “biophilia.” To Wilson, this means that humans have an innate desire to connect with other life forms, and that to do so is highly salutary. Nature is therapeutic. As short-story writer Valerie Martin tells us in “The Consolation of Nature,” only nature can restore a sense of safety in the end. But clearly, too few people ever realize their potential love of nature. So where does the courtship fail? How can we engage our biophilia?

    Everyone has at least a chance of realizing a pleasurable and collegial wholeness with nature. But to get there, intimate association is necessary. A face-to-face encounter with a banana slug means much more than a Komodo dragon seen on television. With rhinos mating in the living room, who will care about the creatures next door? At least the skimmers are aware of nature. As for the others, whose lives hold little place for nature, how can they even care?”

  2. My dad grew up on the Puget Sound. At times it almost sounded to me like the Sound raised him. He blamed the loggers for destroying the salmon runs long before it became fashionable to do so. He claimed that their careless logging destroyed the streams that were the source of the Salmon.

    It’s obvious now that logging was only a small part of what destroyed the salmon runs, but it’s undeniable that clear cutting has had a devastating effect on most of the wildlife that depends on old-growth forests. Loss of habitat, not overhunting is probably the main cause of loss of species.

    I suspect loggers and hunters may have a closer association with nature than most city dwellers, but sometimes I suspect that association puts them in an adversarial relationship with nature that we city dwellers are immune to.

  3. So, if you owned Weyerhaeuser’s land – invested and managed it – what would you do? Nothing? That’s a pretty expensive gift for a few.

    As long as people need wood, toilet paper and so forth, some one will grow cellulose for our use. It is common sense to do it so you can do it again and again. No one is making more land.

    On a macro basis, the harvesting of trees is not a pretty business, I’ll admit. But get down on your hands and knees after you mow your lawn. On a micro perspective, that does not look so good either.

  4. I guess that’s why I’ve given up having a lawn?

    My complaint isn’t so much with Weyerhaueser-owned land as with state and federal owned land that Weyerhauser logs.

    Wiping out whole ecosystems that animals, birds and fish rely on makes little sense to me when there are other alternatives. If everyone merely recycled their junk mail there would be more than enough toilet paper for everyone.

    Nor am I convinced, as Weyerhaueser seems to be that clear-cutting is the best way to harvest wood or grow new wood, though it’s probably the cheapest way. I think you could harvest selectively and protect ecosystems but it obviously wouldn’t be as efficient and the wood products would have to cost more.

  5. Clear cutting is no good for anyone other than the company getting the wood. It’s not the mark of the original timbermen, but of corporate boards that only understand this next quarter’s profits.

    There are tree farms, with specially bred trees that grow quickly and provide excellent pulp for paper. There is selective logging and even wood recycling for wood needed for homes and furniture. And there other materials for building homes and furniture, including recycled material.

    Clearcutting impacts not only the health of the forest, and increases the vulnerability to pests, it also decreases the genetic diversity of the forest trees when they do return. Missouri was, at one point, almost all clear cut for log cabins and boats and things. Only now, a hundred+ years later, are we finding out how vulnerable the forests are because they’re genetically ‘weak’ and hence vulnerable to pest and disease.

    What saved our forests? A man decades ago who looked around and said there has to be a better way, and began to buy up land and only practice selective logging. Why? Because he logged for the future. His lands thrive.

    Personally, I’ve long felt the most responsible naturalist is the one who stays in the city, and leaves the forests and critters completely alone. I’m not quite that good, though I try to leave no mark of my passing.

What do you think?