Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Rhododendrons

Fueled by the memory induced nausea of a suburban NJ childhood, Michele at Garden Rant laments the pathetic rhododendron that blocks her window somewhere in NY state and considers a drastic root pruning.

Meanwhile in the high mountain forests of NC, the wisdom of creation is revealed.

Behold. The Rhododendron.

They come in several shades.

And make a fine backdrop for the perennials in the wild cultivated garden.

Left alone, the rhododendron will become the majestic creature of its destiny.

Toss in a few of the deciduous azaleas, which botanically are also rhododendrons if you need more colors. The resident gardeners here always need more of ........

And that is what rhododendrons are supposed to look like in the garden. Prune away Michele.

But then, which of these creations is really the most beautiful?


Anonymous said...

Beautiful photos. Left to fend for themselves, Rhodies do quite well. As I'm sure you know, the problem is we humans often don't anticipate the mature size of the plant we're siting. "Oh this little Gunnera, isn't it cute? I think I'll plant it right next to the kids' swingset."

Lisa at Greenbow said...

ANything that is heaven sent is beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Great post, and a paean (did I spell that right?) for putting the right plant in the right place, in the right climate.
And yes, hard to choose between the plants and the sunset (sunrise?)


Siria said...

Hi Christopher! The resident gardeners have taken the natural beauty of that mountain and enhanced it in ways unimaginable! The sunset is all a part of the whole....all majestic and gorgeous!

lola said...

Fantastic as usual. I prefer the 8th pic. Love all those colors.

Les said...

It's pictures like these that made me plant Rhodies at my last house. I bought 6 and killed 6, they are really difficult to grow here. I have resolved to just enjoy them from afar.

Michele Owens said...

Wow. Glorious.

Love the purple rhododendron with the orange and yellow azaleas. Maybe if they'd used complimentary colors in Jersey, I'd be more kindly disposed to these plants.

But alas, it was all fuchsia and pink there.

Christopher C. NC said...

Actually Grace the picture of a Gunnera in a kids play area sounds totally cool. Siting of course still matters.

Lisa we get a lot of heaven sent up here.

Hi Bev. I so much prefer not having to prune things into boxes. Being gardeners we do experiment with plants that might be marginal. Nature always makes the final decision. One odd success is that Gladiola bulbs have proved hardy here without digging them for winter storage.

Siria, the longer I am here the more I appreciate what they have accomplished, even in its wildness.

Lola last year that group was totally synchronized with all the azalea, rhododendron and Mountain Laurel blooming at the same time. Even better.

Les we seem to have that problem with the Viburnums. I think they often get frozen in the spring.

Michele, sorry about your sad rhodo. Not that you will want to necessarily, but you can visit my blog during rhododendron season for a little visual therapy to overcome your NJ rhodo aversion.

susan harris said...

Yes, that IS the way rhodos are supposed to look. Nice to be reminded.
And what fun hanging out with you here in C'town. S