Rhododendron? Planting Plan help

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by Gordoner, Sep 18, 2018.

  1. Gordoner

    Gordoner New Member

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    Hi ALL,

    I am planning a garden bed that borders a sidewalk and a building that runs 47 feet long is 6 feet deep and has three mature Oak trees evenly spaced in the bed. The bed faces south with the building blocking the north.

    I want to plant something classic with little maintenance and at least once a year WOW factor, so I thought Rhododendron. As I am still new to the gardening trade and have little experience with Rhodos, what do you all think?

    I am open to other ideas too, Something classic and evergreen would be nice.

    In addition, outside of the Rhododendron society and the Van Dusen plant sale, where is a recommended nursery to source Rhodos?

    Thank you for any help and suggestions that come from this.

    Peace.

    Gordoner
     
  2. rhodomontade

    rhodomontade Active Member

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    Hi Gordoner:

    It's not the best time to buy rhodos as the nurseries all have a low stock. You could wait until Spring or check the availability at some of the following: I am presuming you live in the Lower Mainland.

    1. Arts Nursery in Langley
    2. Cedar Rim Nursery, ditto
    3. Port Kells Nursery in Surrey
    4. Garden Works, Burnaby, on the Lougheed Hwy. There's another with a few plants at the Mandeville location, though they seem to have fewer plants and choices than in previous years.
    5. Triple Tree Nurseryland, Maple Ridge, on the Lougheed Hwy.

    These usually have a reasonable stock and selection of hybrids. If you're new to rhodos, I wouldn't plant any species (and these nurseries rarely have any).

    If you want some expert advice, please come to tomorrow evening's VRS meeting at VanDusen, Floral Hall. We have an excellent speaker presenting a talk on S. Africa plants. Doors open at 7 pm. There will be plenty of experienced gardeners to provide some advice on growing rhodos.

    Regards,
    Toby
     
  3. Gordoner

    Gordoner New Member

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    Hi Toby,

    Great advice, thank you.

    I thought that buying when in bloom would be best to know what it is that one would get. I just want to start planning now.

    Thanks for the invite also. Probably will not be able to make it but I have checked out the rhodo society page.

    I like Cedar Rim, they always seem to be super helpful and generally a good experience.

    With so many options I always seem to find something I like online only to find that it is unavailable locally.

    Super appreciate the starting points.

    Regards,

    Gordoner
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 20, 2018
  4. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    Some things to think about regarding the use of rhododendrons in your new bed:
    • not all rhodos like full sun so, if you decide to plant them, make sure to chose varieties that can handle the sun and heat in that location.
    • rhodos have shallow roots so should be mulched and need regular watering . . . an irrigation system of some sort would be important.
    • planting rhodos between to a concrete foundation and a sidewalk could lead to problems if lime should leach out of the concrete and raise the pH.
    • if you want a 'WOW' display, be sure to choose either a single rhodo variety or several that bloom within the same time frame.
      • depending on the species or cultivar, some rhodos begin blooming as early as February while others bloom as late as June or July.
    • take a look at the American Rhododendron Society (ARS) website to which Rhododendron societies here in BC are affiliated . . .
     
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  5. rhodomontade

    rhodomontade Active Member

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    Hi Margot:
    Hirsutum has been down for a wee while, as yet for reasons unknown. I haven't seen anything posted regarding a change in status.

    Gordoner - under oaks should be very good, but as Margot states, it depends on how much direct sun is on the patch. And the age of the oaks may be something to consider - if very well established, they can prevent growth of other plants, as rhodos also do. A number of rhodo ' rich ecosystems contain oaks, but they are fast disappearing. Appalachians, Turkey, Himalayas, SW China.
    Many hybrids do very well in direct sun, watering is key. I have full sun on several of mine dawn to 6 pm, though I wouldn't recommend it!

    Regards,
    Toby
     
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  6. pmurphy

    pmurphy Contributor

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    Here is another source that specializes in "rare and exotic rhododendrons and azaleas", but they are by appointment only and located in Abbotsford

    Fearing's Farm Nursery - Contact us

    I picked up a lovely little Rhododendron Stenopetalum - spider azalea - from him last year, which prefers more shade and is very unusual when it flowers.
     
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  7. rhodomontade

    rhodomontade Active Member

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    Harold sells mostly species, (I have a number of them), though I would recommend any new rhodo grower to start with hybrids.
     
  8. rhodomontade

    rhodomontade Active Member

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    There's an overall decline in the number of suppliers of many plants, not just rhodos, and the loss of many nurseries in the lower mainland is testament to this.

    There's probably only half a dozen suppliers and you have to shop around in Spring. Now and then, you find some new offerings so just plan for an extended tour of the region. When I started, I checked out nearly forty. You have plenty of time to plan on colour and numbers, though I'd recommend you check your soil and amend if necessary this Fall. I'd increase the depth and add more peat moss even though you have oaks, and mix that in. One link is: Soil Information for Growing Rhododendrons and Azaleas. This is American Rhodo' Soc. website.

    Regards
     
  9. Gordoner

    Gordoner New Member

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    Hi ALL,

    Thank you for the tips. Really am amazed how responsive and helpful this forum is. Have a great weekend!
     
  10. chimera

    chimera Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Some of the small leaved evergreen azaleas might work for you, many take pruning well and can be quite floriferous. Maybe even a few of the deciduous ones for fragrance.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2018
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