Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Seeing rhododendrons through rose-colored glasses





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 Chez Hunt. Even my daylilies and clematis repeat bloom. 

 
Purpureum Elegans
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 strange winter with the lockdown and I was dying to see something in bloom. Or maybe it’s because until now, I hadn’t appreciated the variety of colors available.

Catawbiense Album
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.

I saw a bright yellow one outside the grocery store a few weeks ago and almost bought it, thinking how it would be a perfect companion for my native flame azalea. But alas, by the time I made up my mind, it was gone.


Percy Wiseman


My friend Margaret refers to the hybrid rhododendrons (like the yellow beauty) as the “tame” ones in contrast to the native varieties that are just now starting to show color here in the mountains.

The Rosebay is the most common rhododendron in the Smokies. It is one of the largest and hardiest of shrubs, believed to be able to tolerate temperatures of 40 below zero. (Although the leaves do “collapse” and look wilted on super cold days.)

Nova Zembia
 Rosebay thrives near streams and ravines at elevations below 5,000 feet. The flowers range from white to purplish-pink and the wood has been used to make tool handles. I noticed the first few blooms last week.

Native rhodys can vary in color





Last year, there were very few flowers, and I wondered if it was due to the unusual June heat. 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 name rhododendron comes from the Greek and means rose tree. Rosebay is the variety that is growing all around me.



Rosebay native rhody


Maybe the "rose trees" and the Rosebay are trying to tell this rose lover something.

This year, I am paying attention.







22 comments :

The Principal Undergardener said...

New England is rhododendron heaven, and many cultivars have originated here. If you see a 'PJM' rhodie, it means it was bred by Peter Mezitt who, between the mid-1940s and 1970s, pollinated by hand to yield new varieties with stronger colors and longer blooms.

Lynn Hunt said...

So interesting, Neal. Our native plants aren't too flashy but they do look impressive when looking at them lining our stream.

Sunil Patel said...

Hello Lynn, how timely as we are currently making a whole border for rhododendrons. The soil is acidic here so there are lots around. I want to go for the deciduous azalea types, especially the scented ones. I think you should give rhododendrons and azaleas a second look, they're perfect plants for a woodland setting.

Austin Home Inspection Group said...

Splendid! my team Sandy Springs lawn maintenance
were so impress after reading this, surely it give us more information to our jobs thank you so much.

Austin Home Inspection Group said...

WOnderful! this just give my team Home inspection an idea in choosing a perfect spot especially choosing a perfect view in their homes.

Atlanta Landscape Co. said...

This was quite interesting our group atlanta lawn maintenance find this useful and interesting, thank you for giving us more information.

Amarillo's Yellow Rose Electricians said...

What a beautiful flowers, some of this look so new together with our team Amarillo electrician, it can make a romantic view for some reason.

Tallahassee Electrician Co. said...

Cool! got flabbergasted knowing that rhododendron was a greek name of rose. Amazing! thank you for that information.

Tallahassee Carpet Cleaning Co. said...

Wow! What a magnificent kind of flowers, I love its colors and the looks as well. They're so perfect!

Lubbock Electrician Co. said...

Flowers can also make our surroundings alive just like the electricity who gives light to all of us. Our team
Electrician in Lubbock, were in so much awe by this article the flowers are so beautiful.

Anonymous said...

amazing

San Antonio Dumpster Rentals said...

This flower got my attention. It is so beautiful and astonishing.

Scottsdale Roofing Specialist said...

It’s such a magical month for flowers and these are so beautiful! Rhododendrons are the best.

Gainesville Gator Electricians said...

An applause for this magnificent article which inspire our team Electricians in gainesville, like a flower we will bloom altogether beautiful and bountiful.

Carpet Cleaners of Lakeland said...

Wow! such a beautiful kind of flower.

FreshNews said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amarillo 66 Carpet Cleaners said...

Rhododendrons are very beautiful, they're so very eye-catching flower!

Pasadena Bail Bonds Service said...

Those flowers really has a nice color and very beautiful in appearance. Great Job!

Hollywood Carpet Cleaning Co. said...

This delightful flowers just made our day carpet cleaners hollywood, hope we can have this kind of flowers too.

Lubbock Carpet Cleaning Co. said...

Such an awesome flowers! my team lubbock carpet cleaning
were so delighted upon reading this article, this can make the garden even more beautiful and attractive.

Jake said...

Love some roses

FreshNews said...

beautiful flowers,it can help our society clean and more presentable.,We at Austin Home Inspection Group love this flower and adore this post.

Post a Comment

 
;