Saturday, May 30, 2009

The End of May: Treasured Rhodie

May 2009

I hate to bid goodbye to this 31 days of May. Letting it go is like surrendering Spring and stepping into Summer. The days of May lengthened progressively, on a timetable bringing morning light earlier and the last rays of sunshine transitioning to darkness later. The rhododendrons and azaleas have been in full bloom, coming after the brief flash of yellow daffodils and myriad colored tulips of April but before the heady purple blaze of lavender in June. May in Seattle this year, despite the unseasonably cool and wet start, comes to a close in glory.

Each May we're treated to a burst of color from a rhododendron in our back yard that never fails to "wow" us with its bold spread of fuchsia and sprinkle of lilac purple. This Rhodie sinks its roots in the soil of the neighbor to our east but I believe we have the more gorgeous view as the blooms soak up the western, sunny exposure. This old, mature bush is more like a tree, standing twenty feet tall at least. Shady and green most of the year, May is her month to blast forth with color. This month of May, D and I have taken the time to study this gorgeous gem by setting our lawn chairs in front of her gorgeous show in the early evening. A glass of crisp white wine and conversation in the company of "her majesty" has been a wonderful diversion multiple times over these last few weeks.

I think of all the pictures we've taken in the month of May with loved ones standing in front of this beauty. She is the perfect backdrop for a spring photograph, especially as the afternoon light hits those flowers. This year I noticed that a light purple bloom infuses the lower branches of fuchsia; what's this? Has the tree been grafted with a variant species? Or, is this a mutation? Or is this a separate Rhodie bush pushing out beneath its taller friend, entwining branches leaning to the sun? Whatever. Lovely she is, transient in her beauty, begging quietly for our attention.

The peak has passed but the glory blazes on for another week or so until the petals involute and drop to the grass. Every morning I look out to appreciate what remains of her grandness. Letting her go to her next phase is the sign that June is coming on, replete with more gifts. Moving forward is bittersweet. I crave just a bit more time to enjoy the boldness of nature singing in my backyard.


  1. That is the most gorgeous rhododendron I have ever seen. We have three baby bushes on our property that have never bloomed. I learned that they don't like wind and need to be moved. Your photos inspire me to take care of them pronto.

  2. Wow, those are gorgeous bushes. Savor the colors while they last, as I know you are.

  3. OH...those colors...Beautiful!

  4. I love the rodies!! Its one of my favorite parts about May for sure :)


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