Monday, April 26, 2010

Rhododendron Tsutsuji*

*There are something like 10,000 named varieties of azalea, and it is far beyond my capabilities to figure out which we have. However, azaleas are divided into two sub-genera - deciduous and evergreen. As far as I can remember, mine are all evergreen, hence the "Tsutsuji"

At long last, azaleas! The drive-in, Charlottesville, and a Chuck E. Cheese birthday party were all a bit much and I needed to lay low and recuperate these past few days... Also found out I have to get my wisdom teeth out. So not so much with the plant posts.

At least a month ago, in hot pursuit of admittance to the UW, I was talking to a woman in a now-forgotten administrative office who asked me if the azaleas were blooming when she heard I was in Virginia. At the time they weren't and I couldn't fathom why she'd be asking. Like so many other plants here, I'd never knowingly seen an azalea before. (It occurs to me that I may have had a rather sheltered horticultural youth... that, or perhaps my strengths lie in other areas?) Anyhow, the azaleas are now very much in bloom and I can understand why she asked. The sight of huge hedges in brilliant color is not one I'll soon forget.

We have maybe 4 big azalea bushes out front - a bit hard to tell since they all grow together. And then another big bank of them in the back, just below Chris's office windows. Various shades of pink, plus red and a lovely light purple too. The red ones bloomed first, then the pink out back and just in the past few days, the purple guy. Such loveliness - I'm afraid my photos are not equal to the task...

I learned that in Korea folks make a liquor from azalea blossoms - something called Dugyeonju. (Tugyongu? Seems to be some disagreement about how to transliterate Korean into English... welcome to my world.) The liquor is moderately potent, but one has to be careful to use only the petals as the other reproductive structures are toxic. Especially to horses. Best of all, dugyeonju has been designated "Important Intangible Cultural Property 86-2". (I feel a Korea-theme bubbling. Did you know there are Korean wines made from all sorts of flowers? Acacia flower wine, anyone?) I think I'd like to live in a country that had Important Intangible Cultural Property. Wouldn't you?


ehirunner said...

We. Want. More. Flowers.

Maggie said...

Dude. Finish. Digging. Up. The. Garden. Then we will have. more. flowers.

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