Rhododendron – Popular Shrubs for the Garden
This is a large and bewildering genus, particularly as it includes the azaleas. It contains a vast range of plants, both deciduous and evergreen, in a wonderful colour range, varying in height from less than 1 foot to the 20-30 feet of some tree-like species grown in the milder counties. Most kinds are hardy outdoors anywhere in the British Isles, some can only be grown properly in warmer places while some need the protection of a cool greenhouse.
Although the normal flowering period is April and May there are some which come into flower earlier than this, while others delay their flowering until June or July, so that the rhododendron season is not as short as be supposed.
However diverse these shrubs may be, they have, with one or two minor exceptions, one thing in common and that is their dislike of lime or chalk in the or even in the water that may be used to water them. Acid woodland soils, those containing much leaf-mould or peat, in lime-free districts suit them best.
It is possible to mention here a few kinds only from the very many available. The Hardy Hybrids are among the best for the normal garden. They include such kinds as the old favourites ‘Pink Pearl’, the rosy-carmine ‘Cynthia’, ‘Handsworth Scarlet’, ‘Gomer Waterer’, blush-pink, and many others, some with handsome darker blotches on their petals.
Among the species Rhododendron augustinii with blue is outstanding and Rhododendron repens is a fine prostrate kind for woodland ground cover, with scarlet flowers. Rhododendron impeditum, mauve, Rhododendron calostrotum, pink to mauve, and Rhododendron hanceanum nanum, yellow, are all dome-shaped plants good as rock garden shrubs.
The Kurume hybrids are among the best of the evergreen azaleas, with many good colours. The mollis hybrids, 4-5 feet tall, with large flowers are excellent deciduous azaleas.
View: More popular shrubs