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Early spring highlights at Crystal Springs Rhododendron Gardens

RITA A. LEONARD - A new stone monument now announces the establishment of the Fran and Ed Egan Azalea Garden in 2014.As early as February, blossoms of rhododendrons, azaleas, snowdrops, hellebores, and daffodils were brightening the corners of Portland Parks’ Crystal Springs Rhododendron Gardens, on S.E. 28th at the west edge of the Reed College campus.

Warm weather and free admission attracted many visitors, eager to see what was new there.

A new stone memorial installed on the western ridge of the peninsula announced the “Fran & Ed Egan Azalea Garden, 2014”. A small beaver dam at the back of the island held back waters of a pond adjacent to the Eastmoreland Golf Course. Sweet-scented hellebores bloomed in the underbrush, and at the top of an uprooted tree bole, a patch of bright daffodils presented the promise of the coming spring.

Valentine's Day is Oregon's official birthday, and in honor of her 157th celebration, a red rhododendron produced a heart-shaped truss. Meanwhile, small pink flowers of early-blooming azaleas and rhododendrons provided pollen and nectar for dozens of honeybees, busily seeking food from the early blossoms.

The Portland Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society and the Daffodil Society will present the annual Rhododendron and Daffodil Show and Sale on April 2nd and 3rd – 9 to 5 at the Garden; if you’re just looking for an excuse to return to the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden, now you have one. For more information, call 503/771-8386, or go online to: www.crystalspringsgarden.org.