My rhododendron garden, planted mainly with anonymous, unwanted shrubs, is really growing well in the dappled shade and shelter of the Oaks in the Willow Garden. It only took a few seasons for a kaleidoscope of warm fruit-salad colours to appear in spring.
Willow Garden Rhododendrons - 2008
The flowers range from tropical fruit colours to creams and rose pinks, lemon yellows and warm brick reds. By sheer good luck the whole area is beautifully co-ordinated. And there is a good progression of flowering times. Nothing blooms too early (frost) or too late (drought).
The tropical, warm colours were all a happy surprise. When plants don't flower for some seasons in a big garden they get ignored. Then, all of a sudden - magical colour! Hurray for my bargain bin rhododendrons. I never really gave up on you. Remember all those water bucketing by hand sessions when the irrigation wouldn't reach? Well worth it.
The shrub in the photograph below is a beauty - but what's it called? I found two possible labels in the kitchen drawer. So somewhere in my garden I have the rhododendrons Percy Wiseman and Virginia Richards. Hmm.. Wonder if they knew each other? Wonder if this beautiful shrub is one of them?
Anonymous Willow Garden Rhododendron
Whatever your real names you are are all legends. I finally have a rhododendron garden to be proud of.
The following early photographs show how much light, air, and space the shrubs had in the beginning. Oops! Now things are rather more crowded.
Rhododendrons by the Water - 2008
And in the spring of 2013 next-door's tall shade-producing pine trees came down. The rhododendrons in the Willow Garden have seen much more light and sunshine ever since.
Rhododendrons by the Water - 2006