Rainy Rhododendrons

A view of Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden from the entrance.
A view of Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden from the entrance.

On Wednesday, my regular day off, I wrapped up a draft of the Mt. Hood Cherokee quarterly newsletter much earlier than I expected to. I sent it off for review by another Cherokee in my group, and then I had a whole day in front of me.

It would have been a good time to vote. I’ve got the ballot sitting on the table, and it must be received in Tahlequah by June 27, 2105. I know exactly who I want for Chief, and I’ve known for at least a year. I know who I want for Deputy Chief. The holdup is because there is also an At-Large Councilor position open, and ten candidates for it.

The Cherokee Tribal Council includes 15 members representing citizens in local districts (local being the northeast corner of Oklahoma), and two additional representatives representing Cherokees who live elsewhere. You guessed it, I’m one of those “elsewhere” Cherokees, so electing the At Large Councilor is actually something I really care about. We are rather excluded way out here, and I’d like to have a representative who keeps us in the loop.

The Cherokee Phoenix has posted interviews with all the candidates online. I have resolved to read every one of them before I make my choice. I’m saving it for another day, however, because for the first time in weeks I had a break to go do something unproductive, and I wasn’t in the mood to stay indoors and study election interviews.

One of the few new blossoms
One of the few new blossoms
The woman at the ticket counter came outside to feed "her pets," as she called them. See the rhodie behind them? That is what most of the flowers looked like this day: brown and wilted.
The woman at the ticket counter came outside to feed “her pets,” as she called them. See the rhodie behind them? That is what most of the flowers looked like this day: brown and wilted.
Flowers hover above us.
Flowers hover above us.

A friend of mine was free to join me, but only for 2 hours, so I pulled up a map of Portland and scanned for nearby city parks I haven’t explored yet. I found something I had never before seen in Portland: a rhododendron garden. It was meant to be, since I had just been raving at the photos from a rhododendron garden posted by my former University Advisor who lives in Boston. It’s late in the season here, but I thought it might be worth a try, in hopes of finding late bloomers.

The garden is also named after me, so that is another reason to go! Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden is next to the Willamette River on the east side, where I am. It was only a 20 minute drive. It had been raining all morning and we practically had the park to ourselves. I can’t tell you how many times I was reminded of when M and I visited The Butchart Gardens.

You will almost certainly have seen rhododendrons because they grow all over the world, in different habitats and elevations. I grew up thinking it was an Oregon native, since it grows wild and profusely in the forests here. This showy plant is indigenous to Asia, and is the Nepal national flower. It likes mild climates and lots of rain – hello UK!

Most of the flowers at the garden had browned, wilted, and dropped, because of the season. But as the photos show, there remained plenty of colour to gaze at. We were also distracted by the many ducks and geese. The woman who sold us tickets to enter (only $4) said that people in the neighborhoods drop off their domestic ducks when they get tired of them. (I have heard that people also do this in Laurelhurst Park, in another part of town.)

Towering flowers
Towering flowers
one of the waterfalls
one of the waterfalls

 

 

 

 

Dogwoods were blooming too!
Dogwoods were blooming too!
The pink is lovely against the tree trunk.
The pink is lovely against the tree trunk.
Purple!
Purple!
Water droplets make the salmon blossoms seem even more succulent.
Water droplets on salmon blossoms.
This shade of pink seems to be the most common, and is the colour I most frequently find in the wild.
This shade of pink seems to be the most common, and is the colour I most frequently find in the wild.
This lawn is used for events such as weddings.
Events, such as weddings, are held in this space.
I know this photo doesn't look like much, but they were otters! I am excited to show you a pair of otters.(You'll have to trust me.)
I know this photo doesn’t look like much, but they were otters! I am excited to show you a pair of otters.(You’ll have to trust me.)

It was raining when we left the car, but the weather slowly changed as we walked the grounds, turning warm and muggy – but no longer wet. Is that better weather? I’m not sure.

It was a nice stroll. We didn’t get very wet, and there were a surprising number of rhodies still blooming. Then I returned home and filled a couple more boxes with stuff, getting ready for my move.

Tara came home from their last day of school. Last day of high school and last day of that chapter of life. In celebration we went out to eat and properly stuffed ourselves at Olive Garden.

A wood duck tucks his bill into his feathers.
A wood duck tucks his bill into his feathers.
A Mallard copies the pose of the wood duck.
A Mallard copies the pose of the wood duck.
I love this photo. He seems so curious and open.
I love this photo. He seems so curious and open.
I am not familiar with this duck and will have to look it up.
I am not familiar with this duck and will have to look it up.
This one must be domestic. What a pretty brown colour.
This one must be domestic. What a pretty brown colour.
Babies!! They came bobbling after us, hoping for treats. Mom and dad Mallard hovered nearby.
Babies!! They came bobbling after us, hoping for treats. Mom and dad Mallard hovered nearby.
Here, it's so damp that even the tree trunks grow moss.
Here, it’s so damp that even the tree trunks grow moss.
On of the funnest things about rhododendrons is that they can grow into tree-sized bushes. I like the effect of flowers over my head.
On of the funnest things about rhododendrons is that they can grow into tree-sized bushes. I like the effect of flowers over my head.
One of the bridges in the garden.
One of the bridges in the garden.
The ostentatious blossoms are individually gorgeous, and when grown in bunches, inspiring.
The ostentatious blossoms are individually gorgeous, and typically in bunches, so multiple beauties packed together.
This scene reminds me of turn of the century landscape paintings
This scene reminds me of turn of the century landscape paintings

22 thoughts on “Rainy Rhododendrons

  1. Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit. I’m floored. First of all, Cherokee?? I didn’t see that coming. Second of all, your photos are better than mine. But mine were all done with my phone. I left the camera on the kitchen chair. Did you know the guide was 82?? Quite the character. Congrats to Tara. Quite an accomplishment any way you slice it. Hugs.

    1. Thank you so much for the parenting compliment, Marlene! I like to think I did a good job, whether it was skill or luck or both, I’m not sure. Tara turned out to be a person I am tremendously proud of.

      And yes, Cherokee! My grandmother Freda Haley was related to the Haleys formerly of Oklahoma. Great-grandfather came to Oregon to seek his fortune, and now here we are. A surprising number of Cherokees live in Oregon. Eugene has their own chapter, the Willamette Tsa-La-Gi.

      Which guide was 82? Are you in Canada already?

      1. Your tour guide/volunteer at the rhodi garden is 82!! She was there when I went too. You took her photo with the dark brown ponytail. I took so many photos but none were as good as yours. A single mom getting a child these days to college speaks volumes about both of you. Next weekend is our trip. Thanks for all the info. It helped. Won’t have enough time but will take what we can get.

      2. It is astonishing that she is 82. I guessed Russian. Is she Russian? She was so funny and wonderful, but didn’t offer us a tour. She complained about cleaning up duck poop and getting rained on. ha ha!

    1. I certainly am, Derrick. William Wells Haley, my great-grandfather, is on the “Dawes Rolls,” which was a census of Indians in America that collected names until 1907. It didn’t count all the Indians, but now the Cherokee tribe requires that applicants for citizenship trace their lineage back to someone on the Dawes Rolls. I got lucky, and have a relative on the rolls.

      I know I don’t look it, and I am surprised at how many Cherokees are light-skinned. My potentially dark skin is rather diluted with Irish and Welsh and English. Turns out, racism is rampant among Indians. Many Cherokees of the past (and present) did not recognize the legitimate claims to citizenship by people who also had African-American roots. Again, I got lucky.

      1. …with Dick Van Dyke singing? I had to look that up. I’ll listen to it after work if I can find an audio file.

        I have not written at length. I don’t have much to say about it, and feel like I’m the wrong person to speak. My family never made an effort to learn any Indian history or teach anything remembered to me. I found a local group and started attending meetings, and I am slowly learning about this part of me. I have learned a few words of the language, and had the honor of meeting two Chiefs. As I learn more, I’ll write more. Thank you for being so supportive.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Mads! The bridge was gorgeous, and it had that lovely creek running below…and it went into a big lake. So nice. The rain really reminded me of when we were at Butchart.

  2. See how chuffed we all are that you are part of the Cherokee nation! i’m guessing there’s a fair bit of some European race in there too – I don’t know why, but I guess maybe German and/or Irish ………?? Any-hoo, no news is good news on the home front. Packing is good. The rhodies are lovely we have a huge Rhododendron Festival here every year based in our top notch Botanical Garden. My daughter has been up there recently clicking her camera at them in the dead of winter. 🙂 Fabulous twisted, sprawling trunks!

    Thanks for the otter picture – I just make out their heads in the photo. I have to say I’d be fabulously excited to see them too. I always wanted to know an otter since reading a book called ‘An Otter In My Bath’ back in the 70’s sometime.

    I’ve still got everything crossed for you! xo

    1. Yay! I am so glad you have everything still crossed. I nnneeeeeedd it, I really do.

      I remember that book! How hilarious!

      “Chuffed” is a new word. I have never heard of it and I will now look it up. {pause} Oh! It means very pleased. Why, thank you. 🙂

      German! Yes, how silly of me. You are right, and I totally forgot. Ella Armilda Tatlow, my maternal grandmother, had a lot of German. Plus, she had a fabulous name, which I will always love. She was vain and did not want me (the first grandchild) to refer to her as “grandma,” because it would make her sound old. So she invented the word, Gramilda, and that was her name. All the grandkids and great-grandchildren now remember her as Gramilda. Thus, I am German, Irish, Welsh, and English, and Cherokee! And also Modoc Indian, though I can’t trace the lineage. And one great-grandmother somewhere in there was of African descent, and some of my relatives were rooted in Texas, so I assume there are Mexican ancestors too. I think that makes me about as American as they come. 😉

  3. Otters!! Nothing like otters to bring a smile to the face.
    Your close ups, with the rain drops, are beautiful!
    And that last one? Lovely!!

  4. Hardly an unproductive day, Crystal. It seemed quite productive to me, but then again, that’s how I define productive. A gorgeous park. And congratulations to Tara on graduation. It’s a big step. –Curt

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