Requiem for a Rhododendron

wilted rhododendron
Twenty years ago, I planted this Rhododendron. I had little hope for her since her predecessors had failed to survive the summer for four years running. I planted this one in the fall instead of the spring, northern exposure, on a slope, perfect drainage, shade from the afternoon sun.
She took. Grew, flowered, thrived. I bragged, gloated, even.
Then, two years ago a storm took out the massive oak that provided afternoon shade to my Rhody. Last year I lost a major portion of her to disease I suspect was exacerbated by the stress of heat and sun. Rhodies just cannot take full sun in Birmingham. Yesterday I pruned out another third of her mass, dead limb by dead limb. I expect nothing good to come of this. Nearby trees are years away from providing any shade.
Today, I have spotted a six inch Rhododendron seedling nearby. There is some hope. Maybe I will live long enough to see this seedling grow, flower and thrive like her mother. I need to provide shade or move this youngster to a shadier spot. She has some big shoes to fill.

Save

Mike Rushing

Mike and Paula Rushing have been gardening in St. Clair county since 1990, and In Forest Park since 2007. A Jefferson County Master Gardener and course instructor at Master Gardening classes, Mike also volunteers weekly at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

2 thoughts on “Requiem for a Rhododendron

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *