Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Personal Encounters with the Pacific Rhododendron

Every chance I find, I wander into my backyard woods in Kitsap to reconnect with my many floral friends. The Pacific Rhododendron (also known as the Coast or Coastal Rhododendron) is one of my favorites.

Wild rhododendrons have many moods. In the spring Pacific Rhododendrons cautiously extend new leaves and fresh flowers, blossoming in May or June. The brightness of clear-cuts keep rhododendrons squat and bushy, but in the shade of the forest they reach long, elegant arms in search of light.

The late heat of the summer will cause the lowest leaves to droop and yellow in time for autumn rains. Finally, a steady, cold winter freeze will motivate the rhodies to pull their leaves low to the trunk as the snow slides off.

I struggled to choose which images to share today, and finally settled for three of the more personal, close encounters I captured on a recent walk. Here you see fresh, young leaves not yet dark and leathery, as well as the final throws of spring blossoms hiding under the shade of Red Cedars and Western Hemlocks.

Arboreality will be featuring more from the evergreen forests in coming months. We're going to take a meditative tack for a while.

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