Published On: Fri, Apr 29th, 2016

Rhododendrons Survive Leaf-Clipping Job; Persian Lilac Not So Much; New Plants Added

Earlier this month I clipped a ton of damaged leaves from the smaller of the two Rhododendron bushes.  Later I did the same for the larger of bush.  I thought I went a bit overboard, literally clipping anything with even a speck of rust or brown spot or any kind of damage.

I think it worked.


I ordered some ladybugs from Amazon not too long ago.  Don’t know if they’ll stick around, but it’s cool seeing them clustered up under the flowers of the Rhododendrons.

Ladybugs in the Rhododendron

Unfortunately, though, the Persian Lilac isn’t faring as well.  It’s doing the exact opposite, with its leaves wilting, all of them, the whole plant dying.  I’m going to have to think of something.  There’s still a few leaves looking healthy so maybe a severe pruning.  Or replant it somewhere else with more sun or something.

Persian Lilac

Checking in on the other plants, the Doublefile Viburnum is going well.  Quite well.  The leaves have really fleshed out, the shrub looks healthy, vibrant; let’s hope it stays that way.

Doublefile Viburnum

In the space between the Rhododendrons and Doublefile Viburnum, I planted five Columbine flowers.  These are perennials with a weird looking flower that apparently attracts hummingbirds.

The Columbine (Aquilegia) is an easy plant to grow because it adapts itself to a wide variety of conditions. Columbines do best however, when they are grown in moist, rich, well drained soil in light shade. These one to three foot high plants generally begin blooming in early to mid-May and will often continue through June if the flowers are removed as they fade.

Columbines are one of a Hummingbird’s favorite flowers, and are excellent additions to the rock garden, or as a native woodland planting. They tend to cross-pollinate, hybridize, and self seed freely, creating new strains and colors. However, the formation of seeds will shorten the productive lifespan of the plant, so it is best to remove the spent flowers promptly.

Columbines tend to lose vitality after 3-4 years and it is best to replace them at that time.

Columbine Oragami Mix
Columbine Oragami Mix
Columbine Oragami Mix
Columbine Oragami Mix

In the corner potter, the Girards Saybrook Glory Azalea is doing fine.  It’s even blooming some new flowers.

Girards Saybrook Glory Azalea
Girards Saybrook Glory Azalea
Girards Saybrook Glory Azalea

As for the one plant that I tend to forget from time to time, because it’s so small and a bit out of place, is the Coral Bell.  Being so small and delicate-looking, I’m always surprised that it survives the cold winter.  But not only has it survived, it’s also getting in the flower business with its first flowering.

Coral Bell
Coral Bell

And in the new potter area I built, I finally put something in it.  A tree.  I ordered an Ann Magnolia tree from Amazon.  It arrived maybe two feet long, with some leaves already fleshed out, looking a bit brittle.  I’m not sure how well it will do so close to the house, not in direct sunlight, and in a relatively small potter for a tree, but I’m curious to see how the flowers look.

Ann Magnolia Tree
Ann Magnolia Tree

Progress is being made on the side of the house.  Plants are surviving, the retainer wall/potter areas are coming along, flowers are starting to bloom.  Overall, there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done, but it’s starting to make sense to me what I need to do.

side of the house
I’m not sure what’s going to go in this potter, but it’s going to be big.

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About the Author

David Gaines

- David Gaines is a Washington, DC, resident transplanted from North Carolina whose dream career was a newspaper writer but settled for the recruiting industry and simply blogging about whatever thoughts crosses his mind.

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