The composer frequently admitted that by cultivating rhododendrons he learned the gardening craft, and in particular the art of moderation. In the early years, he scorched the roots of these bushes by using too much fertiliser. Rhododendrons are a huge genus of shrubs growing on four continents, distinguished by their (usually) evergreen leaves.
The North American Catawba species has impressive violet flowers. It grows well in shady places too but must be protected from winds. This is why Krzysztof Penderecki designed a whole charming group of rhododendrons in the old section of the park, under the trees.