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Originally published Wednesday, October 17, 2012 at 7:02 PM

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Rhody garden and bonsai collection host free Fall Foliage Festival

A free Fall Foliage Festival and plant sale opens Saturday and runs all week at the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden and adjacent Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection in Federal Way.

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Where would you find a 1,000-year-old bonsai next door to a veritable ark of rhododendrons, all on land owned by a company focused on wood products?

In Federal Way, of course, adjacent to Weyerhaeuser's ivy-terraced corporate headquarters, at its breathtaking Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection (free year round) and the independently run Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden (free this week). Their combined, third-annual Fall Foliage Festival begins Saturday and runs through Oct. 27.

Saturday is the rhody, fern and companion plants sale. The rhody garden, recognized as one of the top species collections in the country, has saved many plants that are no longer found in the wild.

Sunday features the bonsai, with a 1 p.m. daily tour of some 60 examples of the miniature trees, curated by Dave De Groot since the collection's inception in 1989. .

The fun wraps up Oct. 27 with the first Wag Fest. This is the only day dogs are allowed in the garden (on leash).

Don't let gray skies discourage you, especially now that the Rutherford Conservatory has indoor blooms year-round.

This is a beautiful escape into a colorful display of nature, whose most comforting shade is always green. Open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily this week (normally closed Mondays). For details and directions, see www.RhodyGarden.org.

Cathy Henkel, Seattle Times staff

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