The Driveway Gardens promised dappled shade from overhead trees, and lots of space. Here was my chance to become acquainted with rhododendrons. They seemed such suitable shrubs for a large country garden. Suitable? I'm sure that the rhododendrons themselves would rather be described as 'noble and imposing'.
Rhododendrons in the Driveway Border
When I first dug the second driveway border in 2001 I planted two powder pink rhododendrons, quite close together. I was greedy for growth. Later this was joined by a large late flowering deep pink, and a mid-season cherry-pink. I didn't record either of the names. Silly me...
In 2008 half way down the drive I dug out a huge Cotoneaster tree which was overpowered everything in sight. My plan was to create a circular shrubby garden, and I built up the soil with compost and organic matter. I planted two larger rhododendrons in here (and I kept the labels, this time). One, Ilam Cream is a bit floppy but gorgeous. The other, Cornubia, took five years before deciding to flower. The red flowers are so beautiful.
Scooped out of the bargain bin...
Then the local rhododendron nursery had a closing down sale, with a bargain bin full of rhododendrons, labels lost. I scooped up seven or eight of them, and planted them underneath the trees near the bend in the driveway. The tree roots here are thickly matted, so I used the axe for planting holes, and spread lots of organic matter around. Several of these shrubs are the same variety - a fleshy pinky cream colour - and very short in stature. I have to water them in summer.
Unknown Cream Rhododendrons
The citrus yellow Chrysomanicum, a very early bloomer, sat and sulked for a while in this garden. I shifted it out in 2012 and it died on me. Oops. A late bloomer joined the garden that same year : a donated purple shrub, a memorial rhododendron to my friend's Uncle Bert. It even flowers on the anniversary of his passing away. My friend's inhospitable clay garden was not suitable, and Uncle Bert's rhododendron deserved a better life. He's very welcome in my Driveway Garden.