Uncle Bert's Rhododendron

 I never met Uncle Bert...
Uncle Bert's Rhododendron

Uncle Bert's rhododendron is planted in the Driveway garden, on the very first corner. I never knew Uncle Bert himself - he was my friend's uncle. Now he lives on in my garden. And, hopefully, on and on...

Memorial Purple

My friend planted a memorial purple rhododendron for her uncle in her garden, to flower each year on the anniversary of his passing. But the shrub wasn't happy in the heavy clay soil, and so she asked me if he could perhaps come out here to enjoy the Moosey Garden.

This was a huge responsibility, requiring a reasonably reverent attitude. Being entrusted with Uncle Bert's rhododendron was obviously serious, and I felt a bit like the keeper of the Olympic flame. What if he 'went out', so to speak? Plants here are nurtured, but in a haphazard, well-meaning sort of way.

Welcome to Mooseys, Uncle Bert

He arrived one autumn day in a big black rubbish bag. Welcome to Mooseys, Uncle Bert! I chose a near perfect spot, dumped him there, and wandered off.

 He flowers late in the season.
Uncle Bert's Rhododendron

Some days later (luckily they were rainy days) I remembered - oh dear! In a flash I dug a saucer-shaped planting hole, rocked him into place, and stomped him down. Quick - a hose, lest he perish! Naturally my friend knew nothing of this. Crikey - I wouldn't trust me with a memorial rhododendron...

The Anniversary Flowering

And then the worry of the first anniversary weekend - was Uncle Bert alive, let alone flowering? Aargh! A quick check underneath an over-sized, sprawling Anemanthele grass - yes, he was OK, and in flower. Phew. I dug that pushy grass out and redirected the hose. Just in case. What a beautiful purple...

I'm much more responsible these days. Uncle Bert's rhododendron has space, mulch, light and shade, water and food. He's a lot more relaxed - in fact this year, 2010, he was a whole week late in flowering. My friend has been to pay her respects, and she's really happy with his resting place. Nice.