fun and physical senior citizen activities

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 Dictionary.com, 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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I'm thankful to God for so many things! I'm thankful that, in spite of all the heat in Kentucky and most of the United States, my senior mom's gardening projects are doing GREAT! 

I am thankful my easy to use digital camera has the proof that my senior moms gardening is both fun phsysical senior citizen activities and very tasty and productive

Gardening chores can be fun and physical senior citizen activities and I'm thankful she enjoys them and is able to do them.

Love the blue faux snake to keep the cute red and brown Kentucky Northern Cardinal Birds from eating her vegetables

I'm thankful for the great example my sweet senior mom sets for her great-grandchildren by putting out food and water for all the lovely Kentucky birds in our back yard – her favorite being the gorgeous male Northern Red Cardinal who occasionally will reward her with a song! (I'm going to get his photo one of these days. 🙂 )

I am thankful for a sweet senior mom who helps me with my gardening and gives water to the lovely Kentucky birds in our backyard - such as the Cardinal who may thank her with a song

I'm thankful for the Compact Guide to Kentucky Birds that I found for my mom. She's really enjoying it. 

The birds of Kentucky include the lovely red Northern Cardinal

I'm thankful that the fun Sunflower House we planted for the grandchildren is thriving and intriguing.

Love the Sunflower House and all the lovely sunflowers

And, I'm thankful I discovered some great blog get-togethers to join up with this week – Thankful Thursday at Greg's General Store, Fertilize Friday/Flaunt Your Flowers at Tootsie Time, and Blue Monday at Smiling Sally's  – (don't you love the cute blue faux snakes my senior mom uses to protect her gardening projects – all the while, she's busy giving them their own food and water! 🙂 ). They have some more great posts to share – just click on their name or their button in the far right column. 🙂

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