Not everyone’s favourite, I know and even considered a bit old fashioned by some, but rhododendrons and azaleas are coming into flower, all guns blazing! They certainly aren’t shy, retiring plants, their bright colours can be seen from a great distance, they are big, bold and brash and I can’t help loving them! Our soil is just the acid side of neutral so we are able to grow a good range of plants from across all soil types. The first few photos are of plants in a border that faces the house at the side and leads through to the bog garden. I have made a path through the centre, mainly for ease of weeding, but also it means that I can plant more of my favourite woodland plants and therefore call it my woodland edge border.
I planted all of the rhodos here except one, but as it was years before I even thought of writing a blog, sorry, no records have been kept of names for most of them!
I think this one is Pink Pearl and was already here when we moved in. It obviously wants to grow very big, but I prune it back every few years , when it has finished flowering otherwise I wouldn’t be able to walk along my path through the border.
This view is looking through the border from the other end, along the path which leads to the back garden. On the left is Clematis montana, joining in with the rhodos.
Facing the house at the other end of the path through the woodland border, you can just see one white flower of Schnee Kroner or Snow Crown, in front of Pink Pearl at the back.
Over to the woodland proper, at the front is Solomon’s Seal with a variegated Pieris and beyond in the distance, a couple of rhododendrons.
Cow parsley has jumped into the woodland from the grass verges outside on the road through the village, where it forms a lovely frothing, billowing cloud, along with red campion and bluebells.
All the rhododendrons shown have been underplanted with snowdrops and this one has Erythroniums as well so there is interest from the middle of January.
I have never known this one to flower before, I told it, it’s days were numbered and it has responded as never before!
Over to the centre of the garden where the dead oak is and this Azalea has been planted by the swinging seat, the perfume when I sit here for morning coffee is absolutely wonderful.
In the same area is Azalea Homebush in front of Viburnum plicatum Mareseii, lovely perfume from this azalea too.
The other side of the swinging seat, in the centre of the border is another perfumed deciduous azalea, such a strong perfume to this one, Rhododendron luteum. It will grow to about 8ft and 6ft wide and will fill the centre of the bed, so I must resist the temptation to plant anything precious near it. Strangely it has its autumn colouring to the leaves, maybe it doesn’t like the cold.
A japanese azalea in the back garden, by the alpine scree is such a bright pink, nothing can compete with it.
Even from the woodland, looking back into the garden, your eye is drawn to the japanese azalea first.
I think sunglasses are needed close to, the bees have certainly been enjoying it, maybe they don’t see it as the bright pink that we do!
All these wonderfully colourful flowers are thanks to the non stop rain we had last summer. The flower buds are formed then, but if there isn’t enough moisture then the plant aborts the buds which means hardly any flowers the following year, the same with camellias and other spring flowering shrubs. Normally as soon as we see the leaves looking stressed we fling buckets of water on their roots, but the damage is probably done then anyway because the following spring the flowering leaves a lot to be desired, not this year though, everyone’s happy!