Rhododendron Trees

I'd love to have tree-sized rhododendrons in my garden. Most of the Moosey rhododendrons have been planted in the last six years, so they've got a bit of catching up to do. C'mon - how about more bulk, more branches, more flowers...

 What a beautiful colour!
Ilam Azalea

How silly, wanting my rhododendrons to get older really quickly. But I've been comparing them with the towering specimens I've seen on recent garden visits. Now what's that little phrase again? 'Be careful what you wish for'...

 An inspiring garden to visit.
Dalkeith Gardens

A Canterbury Woodland Garden

Recently I enjoyed visiting a private Canterbury woodland garden, where new owners are bravely wrestling with (and gradually overpowering) fifty years of indiscriminate tree growth. I was really inspired by their efforts - and by the beauty of their rhododendrons.

Towering gums and giant, twisted Macracarpa shelter trees have been felled. Huge conifers have been removed from the ornamental gardens, clearing the skies above the rhododendrons and camellias.

A Tangle or a Strangle?

The woodland is being restored to a proper balance - it's just enough of a tangle to be romantic, rather than being a strangle!

The series of dramatic before and after photographs I looked at carry a serious warning. If a gardener lets nature decide the dominators in a mixed planting, and lets the years roll by without intervening - aargh!

 Photographed at Dalkeith.
Rhodendrons and Glass-House

The drastic tree-clearing must be a breath of fresh air for the resident exotics (many of which are lopsided - but they'll adapt). Large shrubs need large spaces to look their best - it's pretty simple, really.

 What a lovely garden to visit!
Dalkeith Rhododendrons

Ilam Gardens

Every spring I visit Ilam Gardens, a small botanical garden owned by the local university. Here the Head Gardener works tirelessly to keep the old shrubs and trees in good health. Many of his older rhododendrons have needed a helping hand - or should that be a helping saw - and the deciduous Azaleas, too, have benefited from his 'tough-love' pruning plan.

 At Ilam Gardens.
White Rhododendron

There's such a fine balance between good, strong growth and too much growth. Both these gardens are doing it well. So maybe I'd better be patient, and thoughtful, and allow my rhododendrons their own time and space to be beautiful.

 Photographed at the Ilam Gardens.
Azaleas in the Sunlight


Photographs on this page were taken at Dalkeith and Ilam Gardens. Thanks heaps to their gardeners for being able to visit.