About 20+ years ago one of my neighbours had planted several small rhodos outside his fence next to the road. On my way home from work, I noticed one of the small plants lying on the side of the road, where deer had pulled it out of the ground. The deer problem was bad around here. If you wanted to grow anything, you had to have a fence around it.
Since the frontage was out of the neighbours’ line of vision, and they might not know their pIant was uprooted, I stopped, picked up the rhodo, and brought it to their door.
“The deer must have pulled out your rhodo. Thought you might want to replant it.”
“Oh, thanks. Yeah, those darned deer. Just set it over there,” the neighbour said, and pointed to a shady spot near the door.
A few days later, another of the rhodos was pulled out and the scenario was repeated (I stopped, delivered the poor plant so it could be saved).
This time I was met with a sigh as they took the plant from my hand.
The third time I passed by and saw a rhodo uprooted, I stopped and knocked on the door. The neighbour’s adult son answered.
“Sorry, but the deer keep pulling out your rhodos. They don’t seem to like eating them but they don’t know that until after they pull on the leaves and uproot the plant.” I handed over the foot-high shrub.
The son took the plant from me. “Thanks,” he muttered, and flung it into the shrubbery a few feet from the house.
I noticed that the two or three rhodos left on the neighbours’ frontage were drying up and dying. I had tried three times to save the ones that had been uprooted, but when I saw that they didn’t really care about them, I changed my attitude.
“Okay,” I thought. “Three strikes, and you’re out.”
The fourth time I drove by and saw rhodos in trouble, there were two of them lying on the ground, several feet from where they had been planted, looking limp and near death’s door.
I took them home, stuck them in the ground, and gave them a drink of water.
The neighbour has no rhodos on his frontage, but in the photo below, you can see the two I rescued. They have been happy for over 20 years.