When Dad died, someone gave Mom an Azalea to honor his memory. Mom planted it, tended it, cared for it; things didn’t work out. After a couple years of fighting for and with the plant, it was still just a twig in the yard. Mom offered it to me; hoping I’d have better luck.
It was just a twig! I planted it in front of the kitchen window; gave it the usual new-bush care, but didn’t do anything special. And watched it flourish. This plant loves my yard; left to its own devices it would grow a couple feet taller each summer. The birds love it; year ’round, it’s a refuge near enough the feeders for convenience and far enough for protection. Because it’s so close to the house, we’re always fighting it for space; at least twice a year we cut it back to size. I’ve been working on that today; first you hack off the worst offenders, then you trim it to a reasonable shape. I’ve just completed the first step.
Wish I’d planted it farther from the house, so it could reach its full growth. It’s really a wonderful plant, except a bit problematical.
Addendum 2/7/2011: I’ve learned that the bush is actually a quince, whatever Mom thought. No matter, doesn’t meaningfully change the story.