In the late winter of 1968 I won a rhododendron bush from my sisters' high school south of Boston.
I didn't think much of the prize.
My father planted the bush by the driveway.
A month later light purple flowers burst from the branches. The neighborhood girls admired the rhodedendron's scintillating beauty and I proudly declared having won it in a raffle.
I was a boy with a flower in the age of the Flower Child.
The bush survived the hippies, silent majority, punks, Reaganites, harsh winters, and sweltering summers, but after my parents' sold the split-level ranch-house and left behind my rhododendron.
Several years ago I had my sister drive by the old house on Harborview Road. The new owners had renovated the old place, but the rhododendron was larger than ever.
Maybe a good ten feet tall.
But they can grow even higher.
Nepal's Solu region fifty kilometers south of Mt Everest is more meteorogically peaceful than the surrounding Himalaya valleys and the Sherpas' terraced slopes provide an ideal botanical refuge for the giant rhododendrons of Asia.
Some are reputed to be over 90 feet tall.
And the best time to view them is now.
If only I could be so unlucky.