In The Garden: Rhododendrons

Evergreen rhododendrons surround our property in CT. They are hearty and scale easily so they tend to be a northeast favorite. Frankly, I have never been too thrilled about them as they seemed outdated and remiinscent of 80's landscaping. In fact, we had been planning to rip most of them out. However, I took a new view towards them this year when I saw several NYC restaurants with stunning large-scale pink rhododendron arrangements. I loved how they created an indoor/outdoor look and instantly brought the feeling of spring into the room (the evergreen varieties only bloom for about three weeks towards the end of spring). The waxy texture of the leaves and the large round blooms lend to an organic, sophisticated look. I now have rhododendrons arranged all over the house and have a completely new appreciation for them. Thus far each arrangement has lasted about 10 days.

Here are a few tips on how to prepare them for an arrangement: 

  • The best time to cut the rhododendrons is in the early morning. 
  • Before heading outside, fill a bucket with just enough warm water to be able to cover the stems. 
  • Take the bucket with you and as soon as you cut the rhododendrons, place them immediately into the water. 
  • When it comes time to arranging, cut the stem of the flower on an angle at a desired length, and place into a vase with warm water. 
  • Keep the flowers in a cool place, away from direct sunlight.

I have taken a keen interest in how to make the shrubs look better when they are not in bloom so I can enjoy them throughout the year. I have also learned that you can "force"them to bloom in the winter. To learn more about caring for rhododendrons, read here

Next up, my favorite...peonies!! 

Images: pinterest & IB

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