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Rhododendron Cilpinense — 37 Comments

  1. Rhodos are a hard go here, but I am not ready to give up on the idea of trying to grow them when I see such lovely ones in pictures. It is sad about your sycamore. When we moved in to our house the back garden was a herb garden. In the ten or so years that we have lived here the trees have really filled in. Now I can only grow shade plants. It is hard to imagine how big a tree will grow. Yours is a good cautionary tale.

  2. Janet, last year we were bragging as to how good early Spring was last year. So far this year only the sight of the sun gives the impression of Spring but the temperature is still between 2 and 5c Looking for a change soon.

  3. It may not be the one you intended, but it is a pretty rhododendron Alistair, would that the ones I inherited had been as pretty, sadly they were a dull flat red and are now gracing the woodland border in the park next door!

    Your sycamore comment made me smile, it seems to be the “tree du jour” around here, one neghbour has a stand of 5 in her tiny back garden, but her husband won’t let her get rid of them so they just get ruthlessly lopped every couple of years! So easy to get carried away planting trees, they are such wonderful things to have in the garden, but I can almost hear your garden cheer at the sight of all that extra daylight, I hope you get a good summer to enjoy the results!

  4. I also think rhododendrons are beautiful, but unfortunately they don’t do really well here: unlike Aberdeen, heat and dryness are a problem here in California :). Trees require maintenance here too – we have to keep them trimmed because of high winds.

  5. Hi Alistair, I have to live without rhododendrons and azaleas here as this part of the UK is on chalk and so the soil is alkaline. These plants would be very unhappy here. Before I learned about soil acidity and which plants prefer which, I put in two very small azaleas, both of which are now barely clinging on and I don’t expect them to last much longer. As for the trees, each year I have to uproot a whole woodland’s worth of seedlings that come from the trees around us.

  6. I never saw a rhododendron that I didn’t like. And it gets me nervous seeing someone up in a tree like that!! Jeannine

  7. Linnie, rare or not I don’t think I would ever have found the name for the Rhododendron if it hadn’t been for you. Thats exactly what we felt about the cooking arrangements when we got her sorted out with this housing. It would have been better if mother had been able to take advantage of this sheltered housing two or three years ago when she was able to be more appreciative about her surroundings.

  8. Frances, our garden is very sheltered but I can imagine some of the tall varieties becoming damaged in conditions which you have described in the past. Perhaps it would be interesting to try a couple of the shorter growing ones like Scarlet Wonder or the Yakushimanum seven dwarf series.

  9. cutting the tree back does make such a difference to your view Alistair, I have been very careful with the trees I’ve planted, I have a large garden and most are planted around the perimeter, I wish mine would grow and feel the people you have my house when I am gone will get the benefit of them for filtering the winds,
    the rhododendron is pretty, I still haven’t tried any, I have the soil conditions but understand they do not stand up to the winds very well, Frances

  10. Alistair! I just got here and found you talking about R. Silly Penance and also cutting a tree. Honestly I have to watch you every minute. Of course I heartily thank you for the mention; it was such a miracle that I have a record of the name of that shrub. Very rare. (Not the shrub, the record-keeping.) I can only plant trees, not cut them. I’m sure you did the right thing but I’m glad I didn’t have to watch. With your cool summers, I can see you might want more sky/sun. Here we tend to bake in July and August and the shade is our best hope. I think your mom has an awesome living arrangement. Does someone cook for her? I want someone to do cooking for me, now.

  11. I wonder if your garden will breath a sigh of relief with all the new light that will get through and I wonder just what affect loosing this tree will have on some of your plants…time will tell. Maximum sunshine, heatwave in Scotland – don’t we just wish 🙂
    That’s a pretty Rhoddie – there is a very similar one growing in a garden round from me. Very early to flower but quite a bit taller than the one you are describing. I always admire it!
    My grandfather used to live in a similar accomodation – it’s good for the to still feel independent yet still get the care they need. Looks like a nice place.

  12. That variety of rhododendron has the most beautiful blooms–a soft pink. And what a joy it must be to see those in February or March. I have some azaleas but no rhododendrons…no more room. We have some trees that need to be cut down because they are diseased. The spring is always such a busy time. 🙂

  13. Donna, the Akita a few doors up the road from us has no liking for Rhododendrons but it did eat the neighbours pet rabbit.

  14. It is always a good idea to plan a head. I make a similar note to beginners myself. Their exuberance gets the best of them sometimes in planting. I had this rhododendron until my Akita ate it one year. He found it and an Azalea tasty I guess.

  15. Linda, I would be happy with your Magnolia Soulangeana, they just wont grow in Aberdeen, well the few I have seen look rather sorry for themselves.

  16. I do not have great luck growing Rhodies in my clay soil…but these blooms are so lovely and much lovelier than the common ones I see growing around most gardens here. We are using a tree specialist to help remove the ash trees that will become infested soon. And I am only replacing a few and leaving snags up for wildlife, but I love the look of your garden without the tree…more sun now!

  17. Indeed, quite an early Rhododendron it is! I don’t think I have ever seen it before.

    I can relate to your problem with the trees. I have not planted the trees in my own garden, they were here when I moved in. There are two maples (Acer negundo and Acer platanoides) and a large Magnolia soulangeana, all in a very modest backyard (100 m2). They are here, and very welcome to stay, but indeed I’d advice every new gardener to carefully consider planting certain trees. It takes a lot of pruning every year, but the alternative is removing one or two and I’m not ready to do that…

  18. I have never seen this very early rhododendron. I don’t have luck with rhododendrons in general and have given up trying. I use camellias instead. I am terrible at pruning much less cutting down woody plants. You are brave.

  19. Hi b-a-g, The Rhododendron Ponticum in the countryside was a welcome sight to most of us who were unaware of the damage caused by invasive alien species. They have now been virtually eradicated. I doubt if your mother had this invasive species. In spite of some of the pictures I see online showing Ponticum as being pink, the wild form were in fact very much a pale purple.
    Naw, thats not me with the orange breeks, that is the tree surgeon, I need to add a link giving him the thumbs up.

  20. Speaking of sycamore, funny enough we gave ours a little trim yesterday and now we’re pondering of felling it later on altogether. Happy Easter!

  21. On the subject of mothers and rhoddies … My mother had a rhoddie which I can remember ever since I was small. I’ve tried taking cuttings of it but failed so far. Probably not so unlucky because I read in some-one’s blog that the pink variety ponticum is invasive in the UK. By the way, those orange trousers really suit you.

  22. Good point on planting trees. They do grow – and shade much more than one may first realize. Years ago, we had very few trees here. So my husband went on a tree-planting mission. I keep reminding him that several of them are planted in spaces where I want full sun – thus, they will eventually have to be removed at some point. Or, my vegetable garden, my roses, etc., will all have to be moved!

  23. Hi Alistair, nice to see your nice photos from Scotland. We still have snow, and it’s nice to see your situation of spring. Greetings !

  24. Hi Linda, On one occasion I cut back a Rowan tree that had become sickly. It started to make new growth and is now looking very good second time around.

  25. Those Rhodi’s are lovely and flowers so early in the spring, no wonder you like them so much.
    Oh dear re the Sycamore. We have one right next to our house that we had to get rid of due to it’s root location, we were gutted as it’s a lovely old specimen. Unfortunately or fortunately (depending who you ask 😉 the hubby didn’t do the best job of removing it and it’s now producing a lot more healthy new branches from the stump than it ever has before.
    It’s such a shame to have to take such drastic action isn’t it, but there are times when it’s unavoidable.
    My own mistake where trees are concerned is willow. Willow does not make a decent substantial tree in these exposed conditions and despite what i’ve read online makes a naff hedge.
    Still we live and learn.

    Thanks for sharing

  26. Hi Helene, Even when we don’t have the room we are always trying to squeeze in a little more. I have reason to believe Praecox may stand up to the cold better than Cilpinense. May I also wish you a happy Easter, its actually looking and feeling a little more Spring like today.

  27. What a wonderful name – Silly Penance. Yet how much it doesn’t suit the plant!

    I suspect it’s fairly standard for people to over-estimate what will fit in a garden. Maybe taking things out again can be seen as a kind of pruning.

  28. Hi Alistair
    Good detective work on tracking down the name of that lovely Rhododendron! I’m glad you showed us some lovely photos of it before the cold snatched it away.
    And don’t feel bad about letting more light into your garden. Not every tree can be saved or needs to be saved. Now you can grow some interesting sun plants and tell us about them.
    The first snowdrop bloomed in my garden. I think Spring has finally arrived.

  29. Hi Alistair, the Cilpinense and the Praecox both looks like lovely rhododendrons, I clicked on the link to the nursery you had here, and have now spent a whole hour drooling over all the gorgeous rhododendrons and azaleas they have! I have two rhododendrons and an azalea in the Geisha series already, but I wonder if I could squeeze in a few more? I have one of the ‘Seven dwarfs’, Dopey, would have loved to have one of his brothers but also great with these you present which flowers much earlier. However, there is a risk with the early flowering rhododendrons, as you saw, if there still is night frost, all the flowers can be gone in one night. I don’t risk that with either of my rhododendrons, Christmas Cheer shows no sign of opening its buds, despite the name and my Dopey is late to arrive every spring.

    Shame with your lovely sycamore, but taking down trees can sometimes open for new possibilities – more plants instead 🙂 Hope you have a lovely Easter, despite the weather – take care, Helene.

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