Field of Science

Big, old-fashioned rhododendron

Our earliest azalea (R. mucronulatum) bloomed just about 2 months ago, and the latest flowering rhododendron in our gardens is just now flowering.  It's a bit old bush some 8-9 feet tall, 10-12 feet wide nestled between an oak tree (that doesn't like it), our house, and our fireplace chimney, and it has been their for decades. It was big when the house was acquired 15 years ago and the rhododendron bed was just enlarged around it. Unlike the many more compact mounded shrubs of modern varieties, this sprawling bush is what rhododendrons are supposed to look like, and still do in natural places. TPP has no idea what the name of this bease is, but he wishes you could still buy varieties that would grow like this, nothing the average gardener would want, but something for those of us who are not space challended. Among the scrambling stems, which tend to bend down and out, and then send new shoots back up, whorls of dark green leaves make a flat, round backdrop against which the pink inflorescences appear and bloom.  This year the bush is covered making this shady corner of the garden something lovely to behold. If anyone out there has any ideas about the identity of this rhododendron, or where such varieties/species can be purchase, do please share.

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