The Seasonal Page:





[Rhody Cross, 'Fabia' x 'Unique']

From the end of March until the beginning of June, the rhododendrons are the stars of the garden. I don't have photos of all the varieties we grow, but I'm including some of the better ones. As this season progresses, I may be adding pictures that I am currently taking if they turn out well. I'll try to organize the photos as close to the order of bloom time in the yard as I can, but it can vary from year to year. The early bloomers are always the first out, but by midseason, it's up for grabs as to order! The list below is what I currently have. There are other varieties that I used to grow and gave away for some reason or another. Sometimes a plant just didn't like the location it was in and in other cases, I wanted to open up some space for perennials in front of the rhody beds. Our passions change as we garden over time. Many of the rhody cultivars we have would indicate to an enthusiast the decade in which we started this garden! There are so many wonderful varieties that have come onto the market since, but I'm not as into rhodies as I once was and don't want to dig up old ones or open up new beds for more. Enough is enough!

Anah Kruschke

Lavender Blue/Late May/Medium

Autumn Gold

Salmon/Late May/Medium

Azalea 'Pima'

Coral Pink Double Blooms (looks a bit like 'Homebush')/May/Medium

Azalea 'Rosebud'

Pink Double, Evergreen/Apr-May/Dwarf

Azalea 'Sylphides'?

Pink-White Blend with yellow flare/May/Medium

Buckingham Blue (?)

Light Orchid with blotch in throat/Early April/Medium


Yellow flushed lt. orange/May/Low


Buff with Orange-Red Throat/Early May/Medium

Cotton Candy

Light Pink/Early May/Tall

Cunningham's White

White/Late May/Low (hardy performer)



Dora Amateis

White/Late Apr/Semi-Dwarf (distinctive foliage)


Red/Early April/Low

Ex. Azalea - 'Dbl.Salmon-Red'

Blended Flowers of Salmon-Red-Cream/May/Medium

Fabia x bureavii

Pink-Orange/May/Low (indumented foliage)

Fabia x Unique Hybrids

Warm Pink Blends to Cream/May/Low to Medium (Photo of one at top of page)

Fastuosum Flore Pleno

Lavender Double/Mid- May/Med-Tall

Gomer Waterer

White with pink flush on opening/Late May/Med

Grace Seabrook

Traffic-Stopping Red!/Early April/Med.Tall


Blood Red with indumented foliage/Early May/Medium

Halfdan Lem

Large Bright Red/Early May/Med


Bright Rose/Early May/Medium


Canary Yellow/Early May/Low (SLOW grower! Almost glaucous foliage.)


Pink w/red eye/Mid-May/Medium

Isabel Pierce

Rich Pink w/Crimson blotch in throat/Early May/Tall (Flowers burn easily.)

Jean Marie de Montague

Bright Red/Early May/Medium Very popular for good reason!

Jenny Dosser

Lavender-Blue with blotch/Mid-May/Medium

Johnny Bender

Bright Red/Mid- May/Medium (Beautiful foliage.)

Ken Janek

White, flushed pink/Early May/Low (Yak selection with larger leaves & flwrs)

Knap Hill Azalea - Gold

Gold/May/Low (From my childhood home...deciduous, fragrant!)

Knap Hill Azalea - Orange

Clear Orange/May/Low (Also from childhood home...deciduous.)

Kubla Khan

Pink-Salmon Blend, Hose in Hose Flowers/Early May/Medium


Waxy Crimson-Scarlet/Mid-May/Medium (foliage indumented)

Leo x yak hybrids

Red fading to pink with lighter shadings/May/Medium (foliage indumented)

Lori Eichelsor

Cherry Pink Bell-Shaped Flowers/Early April/Dwarf


Soft Creamy-Yellow/Mid-April/Low

Mrs. Charles E. Pearson

Light Pink with brown freckles/Early May/Tall

Mrs. Tom Lowinsky

White w/Prominent Orange-Brown Blotch/Late May/Medium

Mrs. W. C. Slocock

Cream Blend with more Pink than Unique/ Early May/Medium (compact)

Nancy Evans

Bright Canary Yellow w/Bronze tints/Early May/Low (bronzy new foliage)

Odee Wright

Yellow/Early May/Medium (glossy attractive foliage)

Old Copper

Copper-Salmon/Late May/Medium

Pink Pearl

Clear Medium Pink/Mid-May/Tall

Point Defiance

Fading Pink Blooms with Darker Edge/Mid-May/Tall (huge trusses!)

Purple Splendour

Deep Purple with Black Eye/Late May/Medium

R. decorum (open-pollenated)

Soft Mauve/Late April/Tall (grown from open-pollenated seed)

R. yakusimanum 'Koichiro Wada'

Tight trusses of white flowers, flushed pink on opening/Early May/Low

Salmon variety

Salmon-Orange Lax Trusses/Late May/Medium


Bright Lavender Blue/Early April/Dwarf


Two-Toned Pink with Bronze Throat/Early May/Medium (beautiful foliage)

Surrey Heath

Charming Rosy-Pink Blend/Mid- May/Low (has R. yakusimanum in its blood)


Soft Pink-Cream/Early April/Low

Tortoiseshell Wonder

Coral-Orange/Late May/Tall


Cream with pink flush on opening/Late April/Low (beautiful!)

Unknown Red - 'Vulcan'?

Bright Red with blotch/Mid-May/Medium

Van Nes Sensation

Soft Lilac-Pink Fragrant Blooms/Early May/Medium (Heavy bloomer)

Virginia Richards

Peachy Pink-Cream/Late April/Medium

yak x Susan?

Fading Soft Lavender Pink with Darker Edges/Early May/Low


The Photo Gallery

[Rhododendron 'Tiffany']


'Tiffany' is one of the earliest rhodies to bloom in the garden. This plant was a gift from Marilyn and Vern (friends who went crazy for rhododendrons for a few years). They also gave me the 'Nancy Evans' that is planted by the front entry, just because I should really have one. Years back, I would make a pilgrimage to a nursery in Rochester, WA, that raised rhodies and azaleas (owned by the Betts). Marilyn accompanied me, just to look because she liked rhododendrons. They were a bit tight on money from building a new house and before the day was done, the back of our van had $200 (or was it $400?) worth of rhododendrons that she alone had purchased! She didn't know how Vern was going to respond to her spending all that money and when he looked in the back before unloading her purchases...he just smiled and said, "I'm a sucker for plants." .....Wow!


[Rhododendron 'Buckingham Blue'?]

I wish I knew the exact name of this cultivar. I might have a little tag hanging on it that I can still decipher if it can be found, but I think it is 'Buckingham Blue.' I had no idea the flowers would be this pretty, but it had interesting indumented foliage and the color was listed as blue or lavender, so I ventured. It is extremely early and the first season it had a couple of buds, I missed the whole thing because it had bloomed and faded before I saw them! It is in a sheltered part of the yard near the orchard and very easy to miss when you're not pointedly looking for it. I love that little blotch deep in the throat.


On the heels of the above, come 'Elizabeth' and 'Dora Amateis' (ever notice how many rhododendrons are named for women?). 'Dora Amateis' is a nice dwarf to low growing white with distinctively twisted leaves. 'Elizabeth' is a very popular old low-grower of a clear and carrying red with lax bell-shaped flowers. It's not as hot as 'Grace Seabrook,' but very cheery.

[Rhododendron 'Elizabeth']


This is R. 'Elizabeth.' In this photo the flowers seem to be superimposed over the foliage background, even after taking some of the color out with Photoshop! Maybe different film or a filter would help...but my photo skills are not particularly sophisticated!'s a very nice early red.



Here's a long shot of 'Dora Amateis' with 'Elizabeth' in the background. 'Dora A.' is a sterile hybrid and a really prolific bloomer. The flowers have some fragrance as well. I've had this plant for years and this is as tall as it's gotten. It would probably fall into the dwarf category...or maybe low growing. The green flowers belong to the Euphorbia robbiae that you saw on the Early Spring Page. The tree behind this group is a Cedrus deodara. It was a gallon can size when we purchased it about 20 years ago. They are an easy care tree with low watering requirements. The branches are very soft and graceful and will stand up to shearing if you want to limit their spread around the bottom. There are only three true cedars in the world, and this is one of them.


[Rh. 'Dora Amateis' and 'Elizabeth']


This is the glorious 'Grace Seabrook.' The only other plant I've seen to rival this for striking color (red) is 'Taurus' ... a similar 'Jean Marie de Montague' x R. strigillosum hybrid (although not "sister" seedlings). As I write this, it is opening in the back yard (9th of April). There is no way you can miss this plant and the flowers are spellbinding....not only the color but the shape and fullness of the trusses. The leaves droop a bit like R. strigillosum and it gives the plant somewhat of a tropical appearance compared to many of the other rhododendron hybrids.



[Wow! Rhododendron 'Grace Seabrook']


[Rh. 'Grace Seabrook' whole bush]

This is a long shot of 'Grace Seabrook.' It really stands out like a beacon in the back yard when it is in bloom. Maybe it's just me, but when I looked at this picture, a profile of George Washington leaped out at me. Can you see it? It's on the left side of a truss toward the center top of the picture. Maybe I need therapy.

'Hallelujah' has many traits to recommend it. The leaves are heavy textured and a nice dark green. The flowers are a saturated rose-red color. This plant will tolerate heat better than some, which is why I placed it in back where it doesn't get much shade. The only drawback to that is that the flowers don't last as long if we have a hot spell during its bloom season.



[Rhododendron 'Hallelujah']


[Rhododendron 'Hurricane']

'Hurricane' is a cross between 'Mrs. Furnival' and 'Anna Rose Whitney.' It's only supposed to be a medium sized plant, but this is well over my head and is in for some radical pruning after it blooms this season. The flowers are a bit thin in texture, but it is a heavy bloomer and a showy plant. The foliage is quite attractive when it's not in bloom important trait for a rhododendron when so much of its year is spent without flowers.

[View of House from Front Rhody Bed]

I'm repeating this picture of the north side of the house taken from the farthest bed by the road. On the left is 'Van Nes Sensation,' and on the right 'Odee Wright.' I fell in love with 'O. Wright' while reading Rhododendrons in America by Ted Van Veen in the 70's. The pictures of 'Odee Wright' in that book were so gorgeous and at that time, good yellows were hard to come by. The plant habit hasn't been as nice as I'd hoped for. It gets taller than wide and isn't as full as 'Unique,' for instance. Of course, 'Unique' is a hard one to beat for all around attractiveness. A picture of it can be seen further down the page.


[Rhododendron 'Odee Wright']

Here's a closer view of 'Odee Wright' as it is beginning to open. The yellow color actually gets stronger after it has been out a few days and these flowers haven't fully "colored" up yet. The foliage is very nice on this plant. I was just disappointed in its general growth habit.

[Rhododendron 'Van Nes Sensation']

'Van Nes Sensation' with some backlighting. I wish you could smell this picture because these flowers are sweet! It took a few years for this to bloom regularly, but now it's a really heavy producer.


['Fabia' x 'Unique' Cross]


This is a sister seedling to the one pictured at the top of the page. They were both from a cross of 'Fabia' and 'Unique' I did when Ron and I were first married. Most of them tend not to hold their foliage for very many seasons. This is probably my favorite if I consider both flower and plant. The one at the top of the page has really pretty flowers but the foliage is a lighter, flat green that I don't think sets them off very well. The cross at left has a nice two-toned effect and I love that little touch of red deep in the throat. You can't see it from this picture, but there's a little calyx on these flowers (only a teeny one, but still fun!).



This is a R. yakusimanum selection called 'Ken Janek.' It is larger in all respects than the F.C.C. ('Koichiro Wada') form of yak and the blotching on the upper lobe is more noticeable. It is absolutely yummy when open and the flowers last for a long time, slowly fading to more white with age.



[Rhododendron 'Ken Janek']


[Rhododendron 'Moonstone']

'Moonstone' is a very soft yellow... a bit brighter than this photo. The leaves have a distinctive shape and it blooms rather early. In the bottom photo it is in the company of its peers, but this year it is open by itself. It's interesting how the time of bloom can vary from one season to the next on with the same plants.


[Indumentum on Rh. yakusimanum F.C.C. Form]

This is the "back" side of Rh. yakusimanum 'Koichiro Wada' (F.C.C. Form). Since it is tipping its leaves toward the driveway direction (and more light) you can see the indumentum on their undersides. If you are a rhody nut you know exactly what that is, and if is soft felt-like hairs on the undersides of the leaves that makes them look sueded. The color varies and can be anything from white to cinnamon brown (but only one color per variety). Most rhodies don't have this and it tends to be found on certain species. When hybridizers use those for breeding, they usually hope that the indumented quality will be retained in the offspring. For other people who don't get off on fuzz, it probably matters more what the flowers look like! Usually on an indumented plant like this, there will be a fuzzy covering on both sides of the leaves and new stems when the current season's foliage is developing. Once it is mature, the indumentum on the topside of the leaves disappears.

[North Rhody Bed '96]


These next two photos are repeats from the garden tour. In the foreground at right is 'Mrs. W. C. Slocock.' and it is a beautiful plant. It looks a lot like 'Unique' but there's more pinky-apricot in the flowers. It was hybridized by the same man that did 'Unique' and he used R. campylocarpum in their breeding. Just beyond are a few opening buds on 'Hotei' and 'Moonstone' in full flower. It is similar to R. 'Bow Bells' in all respects except the flower color. The last taller spot of darker pink is R. 'Hurricane.'



[Northeast Corner of House Beds]

Again, here is 'Hurricane' just starting to open, to the right. To the far left is 'Unique' (although very washed out in this shot) and that bit of warm pink just over the sidewalk is 'Surrey Heath.'


[Rhododendron 'Unique']

Here's a better shot of 'Unique.' The foliage is distinctive, compact and attractive all year round. The long-lasting flowers gradually lose their blush overtones and fade to a clear cream.This is a landscaper's favorite.


These look almost too exotic to be rhododendron flowers and belong to 'Isabel Pierce.' I used to have it in a more exposed location, but the flowers would burn as soon as much sun hit them. It's a bit lanky on the north of the house, but the flowers remain attractive until they drop. Halfdan Lem hybridized this plant and has so many beautiful hybrids to his name, including 'Lem's Walloper,' 'Lem's Cameo' and 'Lem's Monarch.' It's too hard to count them and they are all so gorgeous!



[Rhododendron 'Isabel Pierce']


[Rhododendron 'Isabel Pierce' Bush]


This is a larger view of R. 'Isabel Pierce' as it appears on the whole bush. The evening light in this photo makes the flowers appear a bit more bluish than they usually are, but you can see how they lighten toward the center after they've been open for awhile. I love the deep red eyes (except when I see them looking in the mirror!).



I waited YEARS for 'Hotei' to get any size and finally bloom, but it was worth it. The foliage of this plant has a bluish color and is very attractive and distinctive all year round.


[Rhododendron 'Hotei']

[Rhododendron 'Virginia Richards']

[Rhododendron 'Virginia Richards' Bush]

'Virginia Richards' ...long shot and closeup. This is another one whose photograph I fell in love with from Van Veen's book. It is such a yummy blended color. My biggest complaint about this plant is that it has so many deadheads and they are really STICKY! You have to scrub layers of the goo off your hands after spending a deadheading session with Virginia. There are supposed to be two forms sold under its name, but this is the only one I've seen. Wish I could say we owned that beautiful pink dogwood in the background, but it belongs to the neighbor's yard. Sure makes a good background though!


[Rhododendron 'Pink Pearl']

I never thought much about why 'Pink Pearl' was such a classic until this bush got established enough to throw these blooms. The trusses are huge and the contrasting stamens beautiful. The dark flowers in the background belong to 'Cynthia' although I don't think the shade captured here is quite right.



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