Leaving Blooms

Last year, the rhododendron in front of our house was a sorry sight. Spindly branches and yellow leaves, a couple scraggly blooms. I half-heartedly attempted to help it out by sprinkling our used tea leaves on it (I vaguely remembered something about acidity being good for flowering plants). But by the fall, it was in such bad shape that I thought about asking our landlord to just take it out.

Photo: Megan Lloyd Joiner
Photo by Megan Lloyd Joiner

Then, in November, just before our daughter was born, my parents came to visit for a week. My father, a masterful diagnostician of people and plants, took one look at the rhodo and prescribed coffee grounds (I was right about the acidity). Every day that week, he dutifully sprinkled coffee grounds around the base of the plant. Then the baby was born; the weather turned colder; the snows came; and I forgot completely about the rhododendron.

Until now! This past week it exploded with blooms and new growth–healthy and vibrant and just beautiful!

My family will most likely be moving at the end of the summer–just as we’ve got the hang of our tiny little shared plot of earth, just as the rhododendron has come to life. I hate to leave it. But I like to think that next family to move into our apartment might just fall in love with this old house because of the beautiful flowering plant out front.


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