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25 Mar
Fri / 2011

The Azaleas Are in Bloom!

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The azaleas are in full bloom at Rienzi! Yesterday we headed outside for a mini photo shoot: check out the slideshow at right.

There are many varieties of this flowering, yet shade-loving bush. At Rienzi, you can see Judge Solomon, Pink Ruffle, Pink Pearl, Dixie Beauty, Formosa, Daphne Salmon, President Clay, G.G. Gerbing, Fielder’s White, and Kate Arendall azaleas. They are native to Asia, Europe, and South America and have been cultivated for hundreds of years. In Chinese culture, azaleas are known as “thinking of home bush,” and were immortalized in the poetry of Tu Fu, a Chinese poet from the Tang Dynasty. We think his poem Alone, Looking for Blossoms Along the River sums up the breathtaking blooms along the bayou that you can see at Rienzi in the next few weeks.

Alone, Looking for Blossoms Along the River

The sorrow of riverside blossoms inexplicable,
And nowhere to complain -- I've gone half crazy.
I look up our southern neighbor. But my friend in wine
Gone ten days drinking. I find only an empty bed.

A thick frenzy of blossoms shrouding the riverside,
I stroll, listing dangerously, in full fear of spring.
Poems, wine -- even this profusely driven, I endure.
Arrangements for this old, white-haired man can wait.

A deep river, two or three housesin bamboo quiet,
And such goings on: red blossoms glaring with white!
Among spring's vociferous glories, I too have my place:
With a lovely wine, bidding life'saffairsbon voyage.

Looking east to Shao, its smoke filled with blossoms,
I admire that stately Po-hua wineshop even more.
To empty golden wine cups, calling such beautiful
Dancing girls to embroidered mats -- who could bear it?

East of the river, before Abbot Huang's grave,
Spring is a frail splendor among gentle breezes.
In this crush of peach blossoms opening ownerless,
Shall I treasure light reds, or treasure them dark?

At Madame Huang's house, blossoms fill the paths:
Thousands, tens of thousands haul the branches down.
And butterflies linger playfully -- an unbroken
Dance floating to songs orioles sing at their ease.

I don't so love blossoms I want to die. I'm afraid,
Once they are gone, of old age still more impetuous.
And they scatter gladly, by the branchful. Let's talk
Things over, little buds ---open delicately, sparingly.

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About Casey Monahan

Casey Monahan

Casey Monahan joined Rienzi as education assistant in 2010. She received her B.A. in art history and history from the College of the Holy Cross, and her M.A. in art history from the University of Houston. At Rienzi, the Massachusetts native works with docents, tours, and other public programs. 

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