Q: We have subscribe to Southern Living for many years and seen many beautiful photos of homes and garden. I would like to submit these photos of our Rhodendrum bush, or should I say tree. This bush was planted in 1989 and stands approximately 15ft tall. It has never been fertilized and watered very little. Each year it produces a beautiful show of blooms. If I have selected the wrong department to submit photos to please forward it to the proper department.
A: Thanks for sending Grumpy your photos. You could not have picked a more worthy recipient. The rhododendron shown here looks like ‘Roseum Elegans.’ It is one of the so-called “ironclad” rhododendrons, known for its tolerance of Southern growing conditions. When it gets hot and humid in summer, most other rhododendrons melt faster than a bowl of ice cream. But not ‘Roseum Elegans.’ If you’re ever driving around the South in spring and you see a 7-foot tall rhododendron covered in lavender-pink flowers, it’s almost certainly this one.
Here are some more ironclad rhododendrons. Like ‘Roseum Elegans’, they’re widely available at nurseries and garden centers. They like dappled sun with light afternoon shade and excellent drainage — no heavy clay!
1. ‘A. Bedford’ — lavender-blue with dark blotch
2. ‘Album Elegans’ — pale mauve fading to white
3. ‘Anah Kruschke’ — lavender-blue to reddish-purple
4. ‘Anna Rose Whitney’ — deep pink
5. ‘Caroline’ — light pink
6. ‘Cynthia’ — rosy crimson with blackish markings
7. ‘English Roseum’ — lavender-pink
8. ‘Janet Blair’ — pink, cream, and gold
9. ‘Nova Zembla’ — red
10. ‘Scintillation’ — pink
SEND GRUMPY YOUR PLANT PHOTOS!! No matter if they’re beautiful or just plain weird, he loves them all!