They say familiarity breeds contempt. But when it comes to rhododendrons, they are wrong.
Rhodies are the flowers that brought me to Portland. Upon first visit, I returned to Iowa passionate and exclaiming: “Even the flowers are bigger there!” These spectacular plants, standing tall as trees, were planted in the 1950s when our neighborhood, Raleigh Park, was first plotted.
On my twice daily walks over the past four months, I’ve watched every tree become green, and known each flower as it came to bloom. I’ve experienced every neighborhood rhododendron by bloom time, color and blossom size, know which are being pruned and adored and which are growing nearly wild. Both ways work.
In the past week, they’ve hit a peak. I’ve given several loved ones my rhody tour of the Crestwood Loop. This past Friday, to flee the discomfort of chemo hitting bone marrow, Dave took me to Portland’s Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden.
On my third day post-final-treatment, we celebrated the passage with the familiar beauty of rhododendrons. They’ve seen me through good days and bad. Here’s Dave’s lovely photos of our field trip that you can click on to see larger versions: