Property Landscaping Designs and More

The last of the Rhododendrons for the yearRhododendrons are bursting out ALL OVER this spring. I see them everywhere I go including our home, and they are so lovely! The first time I ever saw a Rhododendron was at the home of a relative. It never bloomed so I thought it was just a green shrub. An easy to grow and easy to care for shrub that looked lovely in the landscaping. Turns out it was much more than that! Come spring, they burst out with magnificent floral beauty!

According to, these plants are "any evergreen or deciduous shrub or tree belonging to the genus Rhododendron,  of the heath family, having rounded clusters of showy, pink, purple, or white flowers and oval or oblong leaves." AND they are related to another family fave – the Azalea

These flowers are truly lovely but they do come with some caveats. 

While the Pollen Library lists the California Rhododendron as "Allergenicity: No allergy has been reported for California Rhododendron (Rhododendron macrophyllum) species." and the Allergy Care site recommends it for a low-allergy garden, the plant is poisonous.

According to the Veterinary Medicine Library in Illinois, "All parts of this plant contain toxic resins (andromedotoxins, now commonly referred to as grayanotoxin) with the leaves being the most potent." And the ASPCA warns that they are, "Toxic to Dogs, Toxic to Cats, Toxic to Horses." (goats too as a good friend found out while goat-sitting!) "If your pet ingested this plant, contact your local veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435.*

Yes, sadly, these lovely flowers can also be a danger to children. Most of my grandkids are old enough to know better, but still, it would be wise for me (and you) to let them know NEVER to play games with the leaves or flowers from these delightful flowers.  And, of course, it's always wise to keep the the Poison Control phone number handy – For emergencies and information call toll free 1-800-222-1222 anywhere in the U.S. or click here to find the local number in your area.

All in all, though, these flowers are a true delight to all. And my senior mom and I will continue to enjoy the lovely sights we see in our yard and around our neighborhood. What's your favorite spring site this sweet spring-ly week?

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Pink posies to put a smile on my senior moms face while going about her gardening activitiesIt's that time of year again. My senior mom has developed a love/hate relationship with her garden and the cute, funny, irritating, adorable critters who reside in it. She LOVES the birds and butterflies. They're lovely to look at, fun to watch, and eat pesky insects. She is less fond of the squirrels and the bunnies. They snitch food from her beloved Cardinals, make a racket on our roof (the squirrels do, anyway), and sneak bites out of the vegetables she is growing on her own version of "raised garden beds." Namely, pots on a table and in her garden wagons.

We've tried a variety of kind ways to shoo them off:

Marigolds and garden wagons are a big help in my senior moms gardening activities

  • Marigolds interspersed with the vegetables
  • rubber snakes from the Dollar store
  • a HUGE blow-up snake from Walmart
  • bribery, like corn on the cob in a special squirrel feeder
  • stakes and netting all around

My senior mom is trying to keep her baby plants save from cute critters like the squirrels

So far, those things have helped but not totally solved the issue. After it was too late for the Christmas season items to still be around, I read the suggestion of putting pinecones in the flower bed to discourage some critters and we thought we might try that for the bunnies and squirrels. So the minute Christmas shopping ensues, we will be lined up at Michael's to get as many pine cones as our cart and pocket book can handle. 🙂

In the meantime, my senior mom will continue to enjoy her gardening activities along with birding and butterly enjoying while sniffing constantly at the squirrels. And I will be on the look out for ways to help her enjoy all of this as independently as possible. We just bought two of the cloth hoses we discovered at Walmart. They are so light weight she can lift them easily when she needs to. And the grandkids are thrilled to watch them puff up with water so they can water the Sunflower garden she turned back over to me, not to mention our big tree.

My grandkids love my senior moms gardening hose for fun firefighter activities

Helping our senior parents keep up with their gardening is a great way to help them stay healthier – physically and emotionally. It's also a wonderful way to monitor and maintain the outside of their homes. If the time comes for them to have to downsize due to health needs, that will be hopefully be one less thing for you to have to deal with as you help them with all their real estate and health issues. How about you? Do you have any suggestions for us on critter care or gardening help for our aging parents? We'd love to hear. 

Beverly's Got tons of cute pink things each Saturday to put a smile on the face of the Sandwich Generation dealing with the issues of caring for the elderly parents and babysitting grandchildren

Say it Saturday is a fun linkup for all of us boomers and seniors including grandparents writing about their grandkids

Fun for grandparents - in AND out of the Sandwich Generation - at Grand Social