RHODODENDRON collection at OpdeHaar gardens 

Rhododendron Sappho
Rhododendron Sappho

On this page on the rhododendron collection at OpdeHaar gardens there is information on:

Nomenclature

The nomenclature “rhododendron” was introduced by Linnaeus in 1753 from the Greek word meaning “rose tree” which was probably used to refer to the oleander and there does seem to be a certain resemblance between the leaves.

All the photos were taken in our garden. Click on the photos for a larger image and a slideshow .

Propagation

We generally associate rhododendrons with massive flowers borne in profusion from May to June. These flowers are usually borne on carefully bred hybrid plants that arise from painstaking deliberate cross-pollinations. Successful, commercially promising results are then followed by propagation often involving grafting onto a rootstock. Plants are then grown on, pruned back to induce bushy plants and are ready for sale after 3 to 5 years. That is why they are expensive. Firms such as C. Esveld www.esveld.nl carry an extremely large selection for sale and the choice is far more extensive than in the average garden centre

For more photos of large flowered rhodedrons in our garden go to the album at the bottom of the page

Choice of plants

While the focus on flowers is understandable, it needs to be recognised that the flowering season of a rhododendron rarely extends for longer than 3 weeks. The implication of this is that one has in excess of 11 months of the year to look at the leaves alone. This is why it pays to purchase plants that are attractive in their own right apart from the flowers. Another obvious but equally overlooked consideration when buying a 50cm plant with gorgeous flowers is how big it will grow. Hybrids reaching in excess of 2-3m. in height and diameter are not uncommon. Moreover, many of these larger hybrids basically comprise an outer shell of leaves around an inner skeleton of bare twigs. So, be aware and choose your rhododendron with care.

Rhododendron yakushimanum

While the hybrids are generally notable for their flowers, the original species from which they arise often have quite attractive leaves with less spectacular blooms. The exception to this rule is Rhododendron yakushimanum, more correctly known as rhododendron degronianum subsp. yakushimanum nowadays. This shrub and its numerous hybrids generally have both attractive leaves and flowers (white, pink, red colourations) and form compact plants which rarely grow much larger than ~1m in circumference. There are numerous examples of yakushimanum and different hybrids throughout the garden but a concentration of them can be found in the southeast corner of the woods near the very large oak tree. Rh. yakushimanum itself and some of its hybrids have a silky smooth covering on the underside of the leaves – just run your finger gently over this “indumentum” to feel what I mean.

Colours

Gardeners wanting to explore flower colours in the yellow-orange portion of the spectrum have a more difficult task in rhododendrons. Hybrids such as the now classic  Rhododendron “Goldkrone” and Rhododendron“Viscy” often have Rhododendron wardii in their lineage but the plants as a whole lack the attraction of the yakushimanum hybrids.

Rhododendrons as windbreak

We inherited a fairly large number of large rhododendron hybrids and you will still see plenty of examples of “inner skeletons of bare branches”, which I referred to earlier. Some of these have a structural function and provide a break to cutting winter winds. Note, even large rhododendrons have relatively shallow, fibrous root systems and are fairly easy to move. An alternative is to cut them back to bare stems in early spring and they will invariably sprout back to reform more bushy plants – you will miss about 2-3 years of flowers but they will regenerate. Yet another trick, which my wife exploits almost to excess, is to plant clematis such that they climb through the rhododendrons. In fact, one can do this with many larger shrubs to add a splash of colour. I also saw this done using Tropaeolum speciosum at  The Garden House  in UK some years ago and have repeated it here. The tropaeolum survives but somehow fails to coat the small-leaved rhododendron that is meant to act as a climbing frame. I keep forgetting to try it elsewhere and I also need to propagate the tropaeolum, which isn’t easy.

Summer flowering – Rhododendron auriculatum

Most of the our winter-hardy rhododendrons have given of their best by the time June arrives but there is one which bides its time for the rhodo fanatics.

This woodland species from China comes into flower in July- August, a month after the longest day, with the added bonus of a pleasant perfume. It has an open tree-like habit in light shade and the flowering period is no more than 14 days with us. I wouldn’t personally describe it as beautiful or a must- have for a smaller garden but it is worthwhile for a woodland garden – a true summer flowering rhododendron. It was discovered by Augustine Henry in Hubei province in 1885 and subsequently introduced to the West by Ernst Wilson (1901, 1907)

Below are some photos of our garden in May – the flowering period of most rhododendrons

A selection of rhododendrons at OpdeHaar gardens

Rhododendron Aberconwayi X yakushimanum    Rhododendron Aberconwayi X yakushimanum Rhododendron Amaretto                             Rhododendron Amaretto Rhododendron Annae  Rhododendron Annae Rhododendron Arabella Rhododendron Arabella Rhododendron Balalaika                                Rhododendron Balalaika Rhododendron Balfourianum                                 Rhododendron Balfourianum Rhododendron Bambi                                   Rhododendron Bambi Rhododendron Bambi                                     Rhododendron Bambi Rhododendron Bellringer Fortunei                                    Rhododendron Bellringer Fortunei Rhododendron brachyanthum Tsangpoense                                                Rhododendron brachyanthum Tsangpoense Rhododendron brachycarpum Multimaculatum                                                 Rhododendron brachycarpum Multimaculatum Rhododendron Brandy Wine                                                  Rhododendron Brandy Wine Rhododendron Buketta                                                   Rhododendron Buketta Rhododendron Bureavii hyb. Hazel                                                  Rhododendron Bureavii hyb. Hazel Rhododendron bureavii hyb. Hazel                                                     Rhododendron bureavii hyb. Hazel Rhododendron bureavii Lems Form                                                      Rhododendron bureavii Lems Form Rhododendron bureavii subsp Taliensia                                                       Rhododendron bureavii subsp Taliensia Rhododendron Burletta                                                        Rhododendron Burletta Rhododendron Calliope                                     Rhododendron Calliope Rhododendron Calliope                                                 Rhododendron Calliope Rhododendron Caroline Albrook                                                            Rhododendron Caroline Albrook Rhododendron Chikor                                                                 Rhododendron Chikor Rhododendron Christmas Cheer                                                                  Rhododendron Christmas Cheer Rhododendron ciliatum x leucopsis Snowlady                                                                     Rhododendron ciliatum x leucopsis Snowlady Rhododendron Cilpinense                                                                      Rhododendron Cilpinense Rhododendron concinnum pseudoyanthinum                                                                         Rhododendron concinnum pseudoyanthinum Rhododendron Cunningham's White                                                                          Rhododendron Cunningham's White Rhododendron dauricum Ostara                                                                             Rhododendron dauricum Ostara Rhododendron dauricum Ostara                                                                               Rhododendron dauricum Ostara Rhododendron degronianum ssp Yakushimanum Koichira Wada   Rhododendron degronianum ssp Yakushimanum Koichira Wada Rhododendron dichroanthum scyphocalyx( Rhododendron dichroanthum scyphocalyx( Rhododendron Euterpe                                                   Rhododendron Euterpe Rhododendron forestii Buketta                              Rhododendron forestii Buketta Rhododendron fortunei group                               Rhododendron fortunei group Rhododendron Furnival's daughter                                                                        Rhododendron Furnival's daughter Rhododendron Golden Age                                                                                         Rhododendron Golden Age Rhododendron Great Dane  Rhododendron Great Dane Rhododendron griersonianum x arboreum                                                                                           Rhododendron griersonianum x arboreum Rhododendron Hackmann's Constanze  Rhododendron Hackmann's Constanze Rhododendron Helena                                                                                            Rhododendron Helena Rhododendron Hino Crimson                                                                                            Rhododendron Hino Crimson Rhododendron hippophaeoides Blue Pool                                                                                             Rhododendron hippophaeoides Blue Pool Rhododendron hippophaeoides Blue Pool                                 Rhododendron hippophaeoides Blue Pool Rhododendron Horizon Monarch   Rhododendron Horizon Monarch Rhododendron Hydon Ball                                                                                            Rhododendron Hydon Ball Rhododendron Hydon Dawn                               Rhododendron Hydon Dawn Rhododendron hyperythrum                                                                                            Rhododendron hyperythrum Rhododendron hyperythrum Taiwan                                                                                            Rhododendron hyperythrum Taiwan Rhododendron indicum Macranthum                                                                                            Rhododendron indicum Macranthum Rhododendron Isola Bella                                                                                            Rhododendron Isola Bella Rhododendron Jan Dekens                               Rhododendron Jan Dekens Rhododendron Jan Dekens                               Rhododendron Jan Dekens Rhododendron Jingle Bells                                                                                            Rhododendron Jingle Bells Rhododendron Kalamaika                               Rhododendron Kalamaika Rhododendron Kalamaika Rhododendron Kalamaika Rhododendron keiskei Shamrock                                                                                            Rhododendron keiskei Shamrock Rhododendron keiskei Yaku Fairy                                                                                            Rhododendron keiskei Yaku Fairy Rhododendron Ken Janeck Rhododendron Ken Janeck Rhododendron Kimberley                                                                                           Rhododendron Kimberley Rhododendron Lemon Ice                                                                                         Rhododendron Lemon Ice
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