Color in the Garden

joy lives here

Rohodendron Blooming

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This is a blossom from one of the rhododendrons growing outside my front door. I haven’t seen these blossoms in 3 years.

They’re old-timers; about 30 years. The original owners used them as foundation plantings under the windows, which meant they had to be continually pruned or else they’d reach at least 15 feet high. (Now you can find smaller cultivars.) Over time their branches grew thick and impossible to prune without a chainsaw. Not one to endanger my fingers I let them grow, which led to the fateful day I looked out my window and saw the rhodys staring back at me. The view was not so super.

Cutting them back was the only option. You can do that with rhododendrons — in fact, you can prune them almost to the ground and new leaves will sprout from dormant buds. The entire plant will be rejuvenated.

So two years ago we pruned them to about two and half feet and used a fertilizer designed to help the roots. This spring, I gently pruned again. (I’d left some old wood and wanted to get rid of it.)

And now they’re blooming.

I’ve missed these blooms. I’m glad they’re back. I’m glad to see the buzzing bees and other insects enjoying their company as much as I do. And I’m glad I can look out my window and see my rhododendrons — and the view is more than super.

Rhododendron Facts
In Greek, rhododendron means Rose Tree.
Climate: Rhododendron species are found in the wild from the arctic regions to the tropics. There are several species native to New England (and probably to your region) so they’re a good choice when looking to plant native.
Soil: Best in light, well-drained soils with good soil aeration and an ample supply of soil moisture during the summer. In general, they require an acid soil.
source: American Rhododendron Society

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Author: Sharon Epstein

College consultant, teaching students how to write memorable college application essays and succeed at college interviews.

One thought on “Rohodendron Blooming

  1. there is a scenic road near my home here in RI that has numerous stands of wild rhodos that bloom in a lovely soft pink somewhat later in the late spring than most of the newer cultivars, and on the end of Ministerial Rd closer to the ocean (yet still several miles away), the shrub component of the flora changes to mountain laurel….can’t figure out why they are not co-existing, perhaps pH, soik structure, but sometimes one just needs to enjoy nature’s neauty without an explanation…I remember your rarely flowering giants, and am delighted to see they are happily rejuvenated and gorgeous! Pruning is daunting but rewarding…..

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