QBARS - v2n2 Rhododendron Culture: Varieties for Beginners

Rhododendron Culture

Varieties For Beginners

For the city gardener who has room for only a few rhododendrons it is easily understood that the plants should be good ones and carefully chosen for the place where they are to be planted. Since the space that can be planted is fixed by the size of the lot and there is no room for expansion or rearrangement, the selection of a few of the very best varieties is of extreme importance. That many mistakes are made in selection can readily be observed in any city. The biggest mistake is over buying. Overplanting cannot produce the satisfactory, balanced effect that the well spaced and well planted place has. The overcrowding of a considerable amount of poor material is one of the most common mistakes of the average home gardener. This type of planting is worthless for the future and adds little value to the place.

Choose For Size and Color

Although this article will discuss only the rhododendron, the home owner should also study other material with equal care. Plants which soon outgrow the space that was assigned to them only create extra labor for digging them up and throwing them away. Rhododendrons do not generally outgrow and there are a number of varieties that are compact and low growing. The first things to consider are the color desired and the space available for the permanent location. Shade is also of some importance but this can be arranged by the use of other flowering trees.

Choose For Exposure

If a planting for the shady side of the house is wanted and the color of the house is gray or brown, a grouping of the Pink Pearl type would be suitable, using such varieties as 'Pink Pearl', 'Mother of Pearl', 'Betty Wormald', 'Mrs. E. C. Sterling', and 'Loder's White'. The latter two should be used in the foreground as they hold their foliage well to the ground and will cover some of the legginess of the 'Pink Pearl'. If more room is available, 'Nobleanum Coccineum' and 'Nobleanum Venustum', which bloom in late winter or early spring, could be added to this planting. 'Lady Clementine Mitford', which is later blooming, and the still later 'Azor', can also be used to prolong the blooming season.

Plantings For Different Houses

If the house is white, a planting of 'Unknown Warrior', 'Azor', 'Nobleanum Coccineum', 'Nobleanum Venustum', 'Bow Bells' and 'Betty Wormald' can be used. 'Pink Pearl' should be avoided.
If the house is brick there are many kinds that may be used, such as 'Unknown Warrior', 'Princess Elizabeth', 'Romany Chai', 'Nobleanum Coccineum', 'Nobleanum Venustum'. The last mentioned is a clear, warm pink which fits in admirably with the more vigorous foliage and habit of the later blooming types and would not be out of place in this planting. The soft salmon of the 'Azor' type may be used, but sparingly. Several varieties in the yellow, apricot, and orange shades, such as 'Souvenir of W. C. Slocock', 'Unique', 'Mrs. W. C. Slocock', 'Elspeth', and the dichroanthum neriiflorum types may also be used. These are of compact formation and easily grown.

Varieties For Larger Plantings

For the gardener who has more room it is of no less importance to make wise selections of material for planting. However, it takes considerably more material to effectively landscape a large garden and the cost might be prohibitive for large size plants of the good new varieties. This cost feature may be overcome by the purchase of small plants to be grown in a sheltered place until they attain size for planting in the landscape picture.
The planting around the house may be much the same as used on the city lot. In the planting along the driveways and in the woodland more of the large growing and large flowering types should be used. Here is where the 'Loderi' varieties, 'Mrs. G. W. Leak', 'Beauty of Littleworth', 'Dr. O. Blok', 'Faggetter's Favorite', 'Mrs. Furnival', 'Mrs. Philip Martineau', 'Snow Queen', and 'Earl of Athlone' may be used. 'Loderi' x auriculatum , a large white, blooming in mid July, as well as the species discolor , are at home in the woodland garden.
The above is only a partial list of the good things that may be planted in the landscape picture. Numerous other rhododendrons may be chosen to produce color combinations and planting conformations to satisfy the personal taste of the gardener.