It’s May and it’s Rhodo time!

The stars of the garden at the moment are the rhododendrons and azaleas. In full flower, they are so bright and colourful, some with huge blowsy flowers that demand attention. Others are more refined, the deciduous azaleas also quite often come with a delicious perfume which wafts round the garden. There is so much flowering at the moment, but the rhododendrons and azaleas make sure you can’t ignore them.

I make no excuse for starting my post with the same photo as my last post, this is my favourite rhodo at the moment. This is always the first rhododendron to flower for me. It was already here when we came 30 yrs ago and is still doing well. The buds start out very pink, it then becomes two tone white and pink and ends up cream.

Azalea Persil has a delicious perfume. I planted it beside the swinging seat under the dead oak, perfect for morning coffee!

Rhododendron luteum, another deciduous azalea, is also under the dead oak, but round the other side. This also has a fantastic perfume.

Little Rhododendron Princess Ann. She flowers quite early and is amost finished now. Such a delicate colour makes a nice change from all the bright pink!

My third deciduous azalea, Homebush, also planted in the dead oak border, it is a big border! This also has a wonderful perfume, making morning wanderings a delight.

Homebush contrasts so beautifully with the viburnum behind it.

A new Japanese evergreen azalea which is waiting to be planted on the rockery, soon, I keep telling it, soon it will be planted, I promise!

This is another shrub that was here before I was. An evergreen Japanese azalea with the most vibrant pink flowers, you certainly can’t miss seeing it from the house or wherever you are in the garden. It is now getting rather big and floppy so I think a trim might be in order when it eventually finishes flowering.

This little grouping pleases me at the moment with 2 rhododendrons, a japanese azalea, hawthorn and a few perennials. I planted the perennials,the hosta, the golden philadelphus and the hydrangea, but the rest were already here 30 yrs ago.

A closeup of the rhododendron on the left in the above photo, pretty markings.

Huge flower heads on this rhodo over by the school, another that has been here for a long time.

I’m waiting to see how this one turns out, hoping its not “ponticum”!

No, certainly not “ponticum”, far too pretty and frilly for that. It is a lovely lilac colour with a white throat and yellow splash on the upper petal. I think I will have to re-organise the corner where it is as it is too crowded at the moment.

Rhododendron Fantastica in the woodland. now the only rhodo left in the woodland, I think it was too dark for the others. Two went to the neighbour of a friend and I heard the other day that they are happy in their new garden and one is flowering for her already! Two others died, I think it was too wet in the left of the woodland where I planted them, where the snakeshead fritillaries are now.

The same fantastica, 2 weeks later, now completely white.

I like it at all stages of its flowering, the way they change colour gives interest for longer.

A lovely deep red variety, old now as it has been here more than 30 yrs. This one is at the side by the old school.

I seem to remember about 25yrs ago, I planted a rhodo in this corner. It started growing and then I forgot about it as it never flowered. I thought maybe it was too dark in the back corner by the woodland as it was in so much shade and so considered it as just part of the background for the hydrangeas in front. This year howerver, it has decided to flower!

and what a lovely flower it is, lilac/pink colouring also with a white throat and a purple splash on the upper petal. I think these last two might be my new favourites!

Over the other side of the garden is a bush that is spreading merrily sideways with lilac coloured flowers, when they are all fully out it is magnificent.

A close up of the lovely flower, again in the lilac /pink range, also with a white throat and this time a yellow splash on the upper petal. This one fades to white eventually.

Another red, this time by the hedge between us and next door. I don’t think it is the same variety as the previous red one, also the leaves are slightly different.

I’ll just finish with a couple of general views. This one looking across the circle  towards the back garden.

and looking back the other way with the bright pink japanese azalea on the left.

I seem to have rather more than ten suggested by Chloris, but I hope she will forgive me as I didn’t realise that I had so many! The rhododendrons have done so much better this year than other years, did we have rain at the right time last summer? Something has made all these beautiful flowers, some pale and interesting, some blowsy and demanding attention, I don’t mind what it was, I love them all! My soil is only just the acid side of neutral, but the rhodos and azaleas seem to like it and this year have put on a wonderful display, just for me, next year I’ll have to try and organise a coffee morning so that more people can enjoy them.

Thanks go to Chloris at The Blooming Garden for hosting this, do pay her a visit to see other gems flowering at the moment.

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8 Responses to It’s May and it’s Rhodo time!

  1. Denise says:

    The ‘general views’ show just what a beautiful garden you have Pauline. You have a lovely selection of rhododendrons and they seem to do exceptionally well considering your soil is only just acid and as always I learned something new (I had to look up ‘ponticum’!). By the way, I tried to order primulas from Barnhaven, and having made my selection was disappointed to realise they are not currently shipping to Sweden due to Corona. There’s always next year!

    • Pauline says:

      Thank you Denise, my collection seems to have grown without me realising it! I am lucky in my soil, I can also grow lots of shrubs that the books say like alkaline soil. Rhododedron ponticum is the wild rhododendron which was planted everywhere by the Victorians and is now trying to take over the countryside. Most hybrid rhododendrons are grafted onto ponticum roots, so quite often you get plain lilac flowers popping up on one of your bushes, these have to be cut away right down at the base or they will take over from your pretty hybrid as they are much stronger.
      Sorry to hear about your problems with the primulas you tried to order, as you say, there is always next year or maybe you could sow some seed, they are very easy from seed.

  2. Chloris says:

    Your rhoddies are fabulous Pauline, I wish I could grow them. I just have a few in pots, Rhododendron luteum smells divine I wouldn’t be without it. Maybe I should look out for Persil too. Your garden looks amazing, I do wish I could visit it in person, specially in May. It must give you so much pleasure.

    • Pauline says:

      Thank you Chloris, I’m glad you like them.I can recommend Persil, pretty to look at and the perfume is wonderful. The garden does give me a lot of pleasure, but it is also a lot of work now that I’m on my own, with help just for 4 hrs each week. If I was sensible I would move, but the undergardener and I made the garden from what was almost an empty firld many years ago, it is full of memories for me. During this lockdown though, it is keeping me sane while I self isolate!

  3. Cathy says:

    What an amazing collection you have, Pauline! They make such a glorious patchwork in May although the later blooms on mine have flopped, due to heat and lack of rain I thought, but of course we had a late frost too. It’s exciting when they flower for the very first time after years without blooms, and that has happened here too, particularly the two I have moved from the woodland edge border. I must look into some of those fragrant azaleas and will make a note of some of those you mentioned – thanks for sharing them.

    • Pauline says:

      So far, no flopping Cathy, probably thanks to our heavy clay soil! I really wish we could have some rain, we really need it down here, one water but is empty so far and the second one isn’t far behind, thank goodness for the one that holds 200 gallons! I hadn’t realised that I had so many rhodos until I came to do this post, it makes a difference when they all flower, but I think some must be moved to give them a bit more room.

  4. Cathy says:

    They are all glorious Pauline. I love the lemony yellow ones. As you say, A nice change from the usual pinks and purples. 😃

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks Cathy, the first to flower are beginning to fade now,but the rest will last for some time more. I have really enjoyed them this year, they have been the best since we moved here, it was worth the wait.

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