The Peony feast is over. For about two weeks, like so many years before, they filled my garden with wonderful sights and scents. Apart from flowers that are incredible in appearance and fragrance, their uniqueness among vegetation is quite remarkable. What is more, they seem to let just about everyone know that spring is at the peak of its magic. They even persuaded my recently bought Azalea Mollis into a wonderful little display of orange flowers. And just when you thought their magic is but a moment in time (and way too short), they unpretentiously shrink back, as if trying to point out that there is more to a garden than just them (peonies).
They wilt away, giving the ribbon to the new Bloom rulers - Rhododendrons.
(Azalea Mollis - well known for their spring flowers but also wonderful autumn foliage)
Extensive woodland with broad walks lined with noble oaks is perhaps the perfect setting for banks of stately, large flowered Rhododendron cultivars. All members of the genus Rhododendron demand acid soil and where the ideal conditions do not occur naturally, it is well worth creating them artificially. A well drained, chalk-free, sandy loam enriched with such organic matter as well rotted leaves, bracken, manure and peat is best. Unlike peonies, most of my rhododendrons are pretty new in my garden, and although not that popular around here ( due to the climate being either too cold in continental parts or too hot and dry in the coastal areas), it was love at first sight for me. I never even thought about losing them to winter damage ( some people gave me a raised eyebrow when I said I'd grow them as outdoor plants), and for the last 3 years they have been doing quite well, with some minor chlorosis due to my neglecting of their soil acidity. Most of my front garden is roofed with many old evergreen trees so they grow in partial shade that gives them refuge from the bad ass scorching sun during hot summer days. And yes, I have finally learned that just a little trouble with their soil pH can make such a difference in appearance, even in the matter of weeks time.
my first rhododendron, can't remember the name of the cultivar though
my latest Rhododendron cultivar - '' Anna Rose Whitney ''
Now merely newbies, I hope one day (preferably at my 'grandma' age) they will be as antique and grandiose as my peonies
Sunday, 4 May 2008
Scribbled by Viooltje @ 21:26