Olga, the pink cloud in the garden
Well, it is pretty hard to get into the garden frame of mind when the snow keeps piling up and the temperature goes down to -16˚ at night, but I will have to admit that visions of spring do dance through my head. On the positive side, all of this snow has covered most of my rhododendrons, so they will be spared the winter burn that the icy winds inflict upon them in snowless winters.
Rhododendron leaves actually tell you a lot in the winter. On cold days they let me know, without going out or looking at the thermometer, just how cold it is. those curled up droopy leaves say it all. As soon as it warms up they react and their leaves tell me it is fine to venture out.
Over the years I have had good luck rooting rhodie stems, separating them from the parent plant and transplanting them to a new spot. I learned this trick by accident when several branches got buried in damp leaves for a year or two. When I saw the roots that had formed on these stems it occurred to me that this was a good way to get some new plants. It has worked like a charm. Sometimes the new plant doesn't take, but just as often it does, and it is such a feeling of success to see more and more rhodies through the woods. Some years I have flowers and some years I don't, but I love the plants so much that I am happy to have them for the foliage. One that I can count on to bloom every year is Olga Mezitt. In spring it is so covered with lovely pink blossoms that it looks like a pink cloud. Right now there are lots of buds covering my Olgas, so if the deer don't nip them off (they did one year) they should be a beautiful June.