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My love affair with Rhododendrons

by User Not Found | Apr 23, 2012

I have been lucky enough to have worked in Mount  Congreve gardens in County Waterford where there is a huge collection of Rhododendrons. I think it was there that I fell in love with ericaceous plants (acid loving) and I believe Rhododendrons and Azaleas to be some of the nicest plants on Earth.

I have a super variety called R. Lady Alice Fitzwilliam that is lighting up the bottom of our garden at the moment. There are mounds of white flowers touched with pink that are similar to regal lilies in both shape and scent. The fragrance can be noticed thirty feet away. The stems can be a little leggy but when in flower it more than makes up for it. A similar variety called R. fragrantissimum is a pure white and with the same scent.

I found that my plants survived minus ten Celsius two winters ago but for those of you that live in more inland areas than me, it would be best to keep the above varieties in a pot that can be moved somewhere less cold in winter such as a conservatory.

There are plenty of fully hardy varieties available in garden centres now and it is worth looking out for R. impeditum as it is a lovely shade of purple and is the smallest species of Rhodo. commonly available. It makes an ideal candidate for the rockery as my plant has only grown to 12 inches in ten years.

It woodland areas it is best to avoid the wild variety called Rhododendron ponticum as it can escape and has become a real menace in Killarney and other national parks.

If your garden doesn’t have an acidic soil you can still grow Rhodo’s in pots or use the likes of Miracid to change the PH of your soil.

All the best for now,