I've been finding time to work on the flower quilt project and have finished a few more blocks, but finding time to blog about them is another story! These winter days are short and the nights are long--some things are getting done faster than others I guess. With so much gray fog around, it's nice to lay my eyes on a splash of bright color, and this block was a delight in that respect. It's also got me dreaming about spring when my garden will be alive and vibrant with these gorgeous blooms again.
For the temperate climate of Washington we have the "coast rhododendron" (Rhododendron macrophyllum). Sometimes called, the California Rhododendron or the California Rosebay; but it's also known as the King of Shrubs, for they are extremely popular and proficient throughout the northwestern landscape. The bell-shaped flowers are usually tinged in shades of pink, but can also take on a soft purplish hue. The large flower heads are made up of clusters of blooms that linger for many weeks after opening from May through June. I have several varieties in my own garden and appreciate them as an evergreen because they give structure to the landscape when everything else has either died off or gone dormant, and also because the deer avoid munching the flowers and leaves--which are basically quite toxic (to both animals and humans). They seem to grow best under the shelter of larger trees where their roots can remain cool and moist and the delicate blooms are protected from too much sun.
It was again the 'National Garland of Flowers' for the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago that was the inspiration for choosing a flower to represent a state. This was a time before women had the vote, but it was the women of Washington that made the decision. Many flowers were "nominated" and the campaigning began in earnest. Voting booths and ballot boxes were set up throughout the state--in post offices, drug stores, hotels, and other public places. Surprisingly, the "Rhodie" only won by 53% of the 15,000 voters. Washington Senate approved the selection on February 10, 1893, in plenty of time for the Exposition's opening on May 1st.
DMC Colors: Always your choice, but here I used #3326 (lt. pink) & #956 (dark pink) for petals; #307 centers, and shades of darker gray greens #987-989 for stems and leaves.
For more information about my 'State Flower Quilt Project' and how to download the free patterns--just click on the link in the sidebar.