I love everything that is old; old friends, old times, old manners, old books, old wines
Oliver Goldsmith, The Vicar of Wakefield
When we bought our old farmhouse nearly thirty years ago, one thing that delighted me was the mature rhododendron garden that wrapped around the patio. There were two dozen bushes in all, plus azalea bushes, more than I've ever seen in one place. Since we moved into our little farmhouse in October, it was a long wait until April, when they started to bloom.
Memory is a funny thing, because when I think back I remember them as always being large and lush. But then I come across an old photograph and realize they were once just normal size.
I love tangled cottage gardens, so over the years I encouraged the rhodies to grow bigger and bigger, and in their old age now, they're practically trees, soaring way over my head. They make our outdoor living area private and intimate, and for a couple of months each spring, give us non-stop color.
I still don't know what any of the varieties are. But that doesn't really matter.