Kimberly Ylitalo here. It's been awhile since I left my mark on this blog. Thanks, Jan, for granting me permission to post a little note. I've missed you guys! Life in Tulsa continues to treat Jeff and I well and I'm still scratching my head that we left Ozark well over six years ago. Ee-gads! Time, she is a-flyin'!
Spring brought with it an extra special treat this year. The first blooming of the rhododendron I planted five years ago. I call it my Claybank Master Gardener rhododendron. But let me backtrack a little.
In September of 2012, at the lovely Linda Westphal's invitation, I was the guest speaker of a 3-hour workshop at the Dale County ACES offices, hosted by the Claybank Master Gardeners. We had such a nice turnout and talked all about "The 3 R's: Reduce. Reuse. Recycle." We made laundry detergent, turned t-shirts into tote bags and made a super simple compost bin from a Rubbermaid container. It was a thoroughly gratifying experience for me. So fun, in fact, that I returned to give another workshop in Dothan a couple seasons later on the same topic.
In appreciation for my traveling all the way to Ozark from Tulsa, the CMG gave me a lovely honorarium that helped defray the cost of my gas. I used a portion of the gift card to purchase a beautiful rhododendron and promptly planted it in my front yard.
Every spring since, I would anxiously wait and watch to see if the CMG rhody would produce a bloom. The plant looked healthy but nary a blossom could be found After four years in my front yard, I finally decided to move it. Couldn't hurt and maybe I would get lucky. I found a nice protected area in my back yard and gave it a new home.
Sha-zam! The CMG Rhododendron is a happy camper and showed it's appreciation by giving us two beautiful clusters of flowers this spring. I love this and couldn't wait to share.
I know that rosemary is for remembrance but I like that my rhododendron also brings me happy memories of my gardening friends in Alabama.
Here's wishing you all a beautiful gardening season!