Rhodododendrons fully justify their status as an elite shrub. Even the difficulties in growing these plants and the strict soil requirements do not prevent them from remaining one of the most beloved beautiful flowering stars. Rhododendrons are good in corners with conifers and in hedges, in front gardens and in flower beds, and also as soloists and in groups. But the most colourful use of this oriental shrub in gardens is rightly claimed by rhododendron mono-flowers, a bright and easy-to-care variant of growing a whole collection of varieties.
- Benefits of a rhododendron monoflower
- Selecting rhododendrons for a flower bed
- Simple rules for arranging a rhododendron bed
- Other plants in a rhododendron bed
Benefits of a rhododendron monoflower
In recent years monoflowers are beds, in which a single plant species is the focus of attention - have become increasingly popular. Parade composition, revealing all the advantages of the favorite garden plant, allows you to admire the unique flowering and fully appreciate all the advantages of the favorite. New reading of syrengaria, iridarium, rosarium, hosta flower garden allows you to break a welcome corner in any garden - both large, medium and small area. Not an exception - and one of the most favorite shrubs - rhododendron, lush flowering which is difficult to overshadow by anything else.
Woodendrons - deciduous and evergreen, strikingly diverse plants and on endurance, and winter-hardiness, and size. All rhododendrons are different, but at the same time they are strikingly similar. From miniature border rhododendrons, which are so fondly called azaleas, to giant specie plants - there is a lot to choose from.
Even the humblest bush is always different in its special flowering: Shields of rhodododendron inflorescences literally hide under a bush, turning the plant into a bright lacy wonder. Each individual rhododendron flower can be viewed endlessly, but the abundant flowering and overall effect are the main trump cards of this shrub.
Variants for using rhododendrons in garden design are many. In most cases, significant restrictions are imposed by the characteristics of the soil and the structure of the plot, because to find a secluded corner with acidic soil for rhododendron is not possible everywhere. Of course, the preliminary preparation of the soil partially solves any problem, and the correction of fertilizers allows to compensate for the original parameters of the soil, but it is much easier to grow rhododendrons in a separate corner with ideal conditions, not throwing their efforts on dozens of places in the garden.
Rododododendrons in a flower bed of a single plant feel more comfortable than in complex decorative ensembles. The whole point is that such a bed is created specifically for the plant and provides such conditions that fully meet its requirements. In a flower bed of rhododendrons there will be no difficulties with the selection of neighbors that can grow in the same soil and the same light as the main shrub. Structure, composition, soil reaction, drainage, mulching - all this can be thought of when laying out a separate flower bed.
The rhododendron flower bed is a chance to realize the dream of a collection of these plants. Even a small collection of species and varieties on one site will allow each plant to shine and enhance the attractiveness of its neighbor. The impression of the beauty of rhododendrons in an ensemble is enhanced tenfold, on a monoclub the very unique charm of rhododendrons is revealed in full.
The rhodododendron flower bed can be constantly expanded and supplemented. For those gardeners who sincerely love this plant, the cultivation of rhododendrons in the flower bed allows not to give up the temptation to annually add to the collection. New varieties of favorite rhododendrons can be planted to the already prepared base of the bed or periodically expand the flower bed by planting new plants in the adjacent territory. © Sao Mai Center
Selecting rhododendrons for a flower bed
For flower beds, you can choose according to two criteria. Usually the main reference point is trying to stretch rhododendron blooms to four months. From the first-starting Rhodododendron pointed to Rhodododendron Schlippenbach. From slow-growing hybrids and varieties of Rhodododendron variegated to early varieties of Katevbin rhododendron and Yakushiman rhododendrons and dull, with Japanese, Pukhan and late large-leaf rhododendrons passing on the baton. "Play" with the timing of flowering there is plenty to do.
The second criterion - height and color palette - allows you to combine compositions of rhododendrons of various sizes - from wild giants to dwarf varieties in the foreground. When composing a rhododendron flower bed it is absolutely necessary to observe a direct height ranking from high varieties in the background to low ones in the foreground (or from high in the center to low at the edges if the flower beds are multi-sided).
Choosing a color palette you should avoid contrasts and prefer mutually reinforcing harmonious color combinations. Rhododendrons are watercolor plants, picturesque and bright. The selection of tones that match each other, complement each other perfectly, will reveal their character much better than dazzling contrasts. There is another reason to bet on harmonious color combinations in a flower bed with rhododendrons: plants turn into a solid color spot, and excessive mottling will introduce dissonance and garishness.
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For a small garden, provided you choose compact varieties of rhododendrons, you can use a composition of 5-7 plants.
For the rhododendron flower bed it is desirable to use either seedlings in containers, or plants dug and transplanted from their own garden. To admire such a flower bed the next year, you need to choose mature plants, at least five years of age and old bushes. In order to achieve a high decorative effect in a young rhododendron flower bed, you have to wait for about 5 years. © Dieter Freyer
Simple rules for arranging a rhododendron bed
Rhodododendrons do well in the penumbra, in secluded and scattered lighting, in places where cool, calm and high humidity prevail. A flower bed with rhododendrons can be placed in the shade of garden giants - tall trees, which will allow to imitate a forest setting.
The flower bed with rhododendrons, which create solid plantings, can be placed wherever there are suitable conditions. Usually it is tied to large trees - placed either between two trees, creating a flower island, or create a bed with a one-way view, stretching from the site border to the tree. To prevent this flower bed from shrinking space and to visually expand it the border of the bed is always better to wind it behind a tree as if continuing the flower bed behind the trunk. First of all, it is necessary to remove all weeds and conduct a deep digging, working the soil to one and a half to two bayonets of the shovel. Evaluating the characteristics of the soil is an important step that will help to properly adjust the conditions for this shrub. If we are talking about "average", high-quality garden soil, it is enough to apply compost and peat to create a nutritious and acidic environment and coarse texture. On depleted soil, full mineral fertilizers are additionally applied, and on heavy soil, loosening additives and sand are added. A large amount of plant organic matter and a fairly coarse structure is optimal for rhododendron.
The arrangement of the flower bed does not require any special tricks:
- Plants are placed in the flower bed, observing the distances recommended for planting individual species and varieties.
- The future arrangement of bushes are marked, drawing sketches to determine the color scheme and adjust planting by looking at them from different directions.
- A personal planting hole is dug for each shrub, taking into account that the root system grows wide and for this shrub planting pits should be spacious - from 60 cm in diameter.
- The seedlings are installed in planting pits, correcting the depth of the root neck. If the seedlings are dry, without leaves, old bushes that show signs of stunted growth are transplanted, it is possible to prune them. For large plants, pruning after planting is also done to limit size. Pruning rhododendrons is carried out just above the dormant buds located in the axils of leaves.
- Fill the planting holes with substrate and gently compact the soil.
- Around the bushes create watering holes. For rhododendrons ideal mulch is considered crushed conifer bark. But it is possible to "cover" the soil with groundcover, shade lawn or other materials that do not change the characteristics of the soil. Mulching should protect rhododendrons not only from drying out and loss of friability, but also from overheating.
Other plants in a rhododendron bed
The rhododendron flower bed is created exclusively from them. Other plants are introduced there only at the front edge or as a padding to create the effect of parade fullness and impeccable beauty. Rhododendrons over time, even with correct pruning, grow and close their crowns, so a continuous composition with a bare front edge even with mulching does not look too neat.
To plant perennials in a bed with rhododendrons better when the plants reach their optimal size, not in the early years. Firstly, it is easier to avoid mistakes when choosing the distance and calculating the number of plants that can be added to the bed. And secondly, so it's easier to assess how much needed these or those plants and what species will help to bring the image of the flower bed to perfection.
From among the cultures with which you can formalize the front edge of the rhododendron flower bed, the absolute leaders are ferns. Carved leaves in neat rosettes add a special flavor and as if lace up plantings of rhododendrons. But no worse as a partner looks the queen of shade hosta, the selection of varieties which allows you to play with optical effects and highlighting.
Also at the edge of a rhododendron flower bed looks great and other perennials:
- scented broom;
- rodensia podophylla;
- primula Japanese;
- trillium large-flowered;
- black and eastern frostbite;
- Siberian iris;
- toothed bushel;
- red-brown geranium;
- snake's wort;
- hiacintoides Spanish.
Complements with rhododendrons can be made by astilbe, Japanese anemones and aquilegia - any plants that like acidic soil and shade will do. It is better to focus on an assortment of plants typical of other shade compositions, creating a kind of transition from the rhododendron flower bed to the rest of the garden. Spectacular maples or sods, hazel, honeysuckle, lilac, willow, cypress, red oak, junipers or pines can help create a spectacular background for a colorful flower bed.