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I spent a few days in Seattle last week. To my delight, flowering rhododendrons reminded me of the best part of a Seattle spring. The season is all too short — delightful blossoms replaced by green foliage by summer. But while they bloom, rhododendrons are nothing short of spectacular.

As I strolled through a small, landscaped garden space, Nanki-Poo’s song from The Mikado ran through my head.

The flowers that bloom in the spring,
Tra la,
Breathe promise of merry sunshine —
As we merrily dance and we sing,
Tra la,
We welcome the hope that they bring,
Tra la,
Of a summer of roses and wine,
Of a summer of roses and wine.
And that’s what we mean when we say that a thing
Is welcome as flowers that bloom in the spring.
Tra la la la la,
Tra la la la la,
The flowers that bloom in the spring.

I “tra-la-ed” all over the lawn as I trapped spring in my iPhone, and hummed Sullivan’s catchy tune. You can hum it too, or sing along with the posted lyrics in the privacy of your office supply closet.


The Pacific Rhododendron (Rhododendron macrophyllum) is a deciduous shrub native to the Pacific North West. It’s my favorite kind of plant, because it requires almost no attention, remains green all year, and heralds the end of winter in a frenzy of colorful delight.



I had a pot of tropical rhododendron once. Maybe I should trying growing them again.


Featured Image and Pictures: All Photos by Author.

The Mikado by Gilbert & Sullivan. First performed in 1885.

Hansen’s Northwest Native Plant Data Base.

Rhododendron macrophyllum. Washington Native Plant Society.

Author Sandra Wagner Wright

Sandra’s latest book, Saxon Heroines: A Northumbrian Novel, is available in eBook and print editions at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Google Play and Kobo. Her previous books Two Coins: A Biographical Novel and Rama’s Labyrinth: A Biographical Novel are available in print and eBook editions at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Google Play and Kobo, and in audiobook editions at Amazon, Nook, Audible, Apple Books, and Kobo. Two Coins is narrated by Deepti Gupta and Noah Michael Levine. Rama’s Labyrinth is narrated by Deepti Gupta.

Sandra blogs weekly about topics related to her travels, writing life, and the incongruities of life in general.



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