We planted this Catawba Rhododendron (Rhododendron catawbiense) a few years back in part because we always enjoyed hiking in the mountains when the rhododendrons were in bloom, and in part because we live so close to the Catawba river and the "catawbiense" in the name struck a chord.
For the first few years, we weren't quite sure it would survive, but this year it really showed its colors. I wonder if it was because of the cold winter?
There is a large dead tree nearby that we will have to fell this year, and I hope we can preserve this rhododendron. If it hadn't bloomed, I might have let it get crushed.
Then I thought of a parable told by Jesus,
"Then he told this parable: ‘A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none. So he said to the gardener, See here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none. Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil? He replied, Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig round it and put manure on it. If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.'” -Luke 13:6-9.Maybe this is its way of saying "Save me!"
If you catch the gardener spreading manure around my feet this year, please remind me of this parable.