I once heard Rhododendron described as
'funereal' by the owners of a garden I worked in. The statement rang a discordant note in the part that
The land itself was picked
so thoroughly clean and appearance was of such high order that only
occasionally did I see a flying creature. Everything was gone
because roses require unnatural attention if they are to be perfect all
On a Saturday morning I met
with the owners of these roses between breakfast and lunch. She had
on the summer hat. And he was wearing white trousers. Together
they were king and queen of all that they could see and large portions of
the city sixty miles away. And as well, they were subjects of those
ailments to which kings and queens are prone.
In those days I drank a great deal and in
answer to their question I suddenly suggested they might be so much happier
with someone else. An easy enough objective, I thought.
Three weeks later, the phone call
came. Not from my king and queen but from the unfortunate who had
succeeded me as garden jester. How, he asked, had I managed the
roses. I was happy to tell him and he thanked me profusely for giving
him the routine.
I should perhaps have added that his new
queen was badly allergic to chemistry, so always wise before the weekend
visit to set the sprinklers and wash away any scent of pesticide.
Now, when I see Rhododendron I am
reminded that kings and queens just are, but jesters must have a reason to
be devious. And I suppose in my mind this has continued to make Rhododendron