This beautiful native plant is blooming now! You may wonder why a rhododendron is blooming so late, and this is a positive ID for Rhododendron maximum, or the Rosebay rhododendron. Living up to its name, it is our tallest rhododendron growing 10′-25′ tall and wide. We often use it in designs where year-round screening is called for and place it in a semi-shaded or completely shaded position where it can reach its full potential. This plant is scrawny when young and takes a few years to fill out, so be patient with it! As with other rhododendron species, protect from harsh winter sun and wind.
Native from the Appalachians of northern Alabama to coastal Nova Scotia, you can visit both a native stand and a planted drift of mature Rhododendron maximum if you will be in New Hampshire this month. Rhododendron State Park in Fitzwilliam, NH is located on Rhododendron Road, just off Rt. 119 heading to Brattleboro, Vermont. You can wander through towering plants in full bloom and imagine yourself in the cool mountains of North Carolina.
The Fells, an estate open to the public on Lake Sunapee in Newbury, NH, has mature stands blooming pink, lavender and white in their restored and renovated woodland garden. These plants are very striking from a distance or close up. More information at <www.thefells.org>