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Plantidote of the Day 2010-09-30

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Dried Rhododendrons

Family: Ericaceae

A couple Plantidotes ago, I was complaining about the lack of colorful fall leaves, and Lambert reminded me that subtle can be beautiful, too. So I went looking for some good examples. As it turns out, I didn't have to look very far. This is from a bowl in the living room filled with dried rhododendron clusters (or “trusses,” in rhododendron-speak). The petal colors are just exquisite, imo – each one just a little different than the others, but without competing or clashing. Very soothing. Like a cup of tea at dusk on a quiet evening. And here's the beauty part ...

They're more than a year old! And they were free. A neighbor – one of those people who thinks compost is a fruit dessert – cut back her rhododendrons and had already thrown away most of the clippings. But she left a few on the ground. So I brought them inside, hung them upside down to dry and voila! Now just about everyone who comes over asks where I got them. So there you go – a true trash-to-treasure plant story.

Readers, please send me ( images and stories for the ongoing Plantidote of the Day series. In exchange, you'll win undying fame in the form of a hat tip! Plants growing in your garden, your house, or neighbor's yard, plants from the forest or farmers' market, plants you preserved, plants you prepared (wine; cider; tea; dried beans), plants you harvested (grains; chanterelles), plants you picked (flowers), plants you dried (herbs), plants you covet or hope to grow someday. Herbal remedies, propagation tips, new varieties, etc.. And if you can, include some solid detail about the plant, too -- a story, the genus and species, or where you got the seeds, or the recipe, or your grandmother gave it to you. Or challenge us with a “Name That Plant” mystery entry ... And please feel free to add corrections and additional information in the comments.

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