PORTLAND -- The famous blooms at the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden in southeast Portland are opening earlier than usual this year, providing a colorful show for visitors.
April weather conditions provided just enough warmth to pop the rhododendrons and azaleas a little ahead of schedule. According to the experts, the garden will reach its peak colors just before Mother's day weekend.
Mike Domashofsky, president of the local Rhododendron Society, said the flowers have been opening about three weeks earlier this spring, compared to 2011. He said that last May, the annual plant show was disappointing because many of the flowers had not even opened yet. The record cool and wet weather had held the blooms back some 2 to 4 weeks behind a normal year.
Mother's Day weekend is one of the busiest times of the year for the garden. On average, some 100,000 people take the walking tour each year.
The garden was planted in 1950. Rhododendrons can live to be more than 150 years old. The Crystal Springs Garden joins the Rose, Japanese and Chinese Gardens to be listed in the book 1001 gardens to see in your lifetime.