How long do you wait for a plant to flower? There’s a Chinese bamboo, isn’t there, which only flowers every century or so? But in the case of the ordinary garden plant…?
Rhododendrons don’t really flourish here, as they don’t appreciate clay. But they do grow, after a fashion, and they are useful for providing a splash of colour in woodland. Anyway, I decided that a touch of red on the wooded bank behind the Pictish stone would serve as a good background to the blue poppies. Proper red, mind you – not the kind of sickly raspberry ice-cream colour our great-grandfathers so loved for their mass plantings of hybrid rhododendrons.
Being lucky enough to have one of Britain’s last great plant-collecting families virtually on my doorstep, in the shape of the Coxes of Glendoick, I scoured their rhododendron catalogue, and eventually decided on rh. thomsonii. Looking at my records, I see I planted it in Spring 2003. For eight years it has done nothing – except grow in a green sort of way, and I readily admit I became fed up with it, and allowed it to become half buried in sycamore saplings.
And there it was, in all its waxy perfection. Only two blossoms….but still….
Worth eight year’s wait? I think so.