Roses give you more bang for your buck than most any other plant in the garden. I have been preaching this fact for many years. That’s why very few “seasonal” plants reside at Hunt Manor. Even my daylilies and clematis repeat bloom.
So, in the past, my head has not been turned by peonies, azaleas, iris or rhododendrons.
This year, I’ve been giving the rhodys a second look. Maybe it’s because we had a very harsh winter and I am dying to see something in bloom. Or maybe it’s because until now, I hadn’t appreciated the variety of colors available.
Rhododendron is a genus of over 1,000 species of woody plants in the heath family. Although they are native to many areas of the world, most of the rhododendrons grown in gardens today are hybrids. According to the Royal Horticultural Society, there are more than 28,000 cultivars in the international registry, most bred for the showy flowers.
So I decided to scout around the area and see what other beauties I’d been missing.
|Native rhodys can vary in color|
Last year not many of the flowers bloomed, and I wondered if it was due to the 30+ inches of rain we’d had in June and July. Now I’ve learned that this variety only puts out a “big bloom” every two to four years. No one knows when the extravaganza will happen, or why.
|The Rosebays by the trail and stream are mostly white|
I know that come late June and July I’ll be looking at these natives with new interest and curiosity.
The name rhododendron comes from the Greek and means rose tree.
Rosebay is the variety that is growing all around me.
Maybe the rose trees and the Rosebay are trying to tell this rose lover something.