Sonja Nelson Rhododendrons in the Landscape

ISBN 13: 9780881924404

Rhododendrons in the Landscape

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9780881924404: Rhododendrons in the Landscape
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Rhododendrons and azaleas are among the most popular of garden shrubs because of their wonderful variety of colors, textures, shapes, and sizes. Selecting the best species or hybrids for various garden situations can present a real challenge to the gardener. Sonja Nelson, editor of the Journal American Rhododendron Society, offers practical and inspiring guidance on how best to use rhododendrons, starting with a brief explanation of basic design principles that serve as guidelines for creating many different kinds of gardens. She discusses woodland and alpine rock gardens, small gardens, and elements such as island beds, containers, hedges, and water features in which rhododendrons can be effectively used. In addition to suggesting and encouraging the use of suitable companion plants, she provides 19 tables listing species and cultivars most appropriate for specific garden situations. Including many inspiring photographs, the book will enable any gardener or landscaper to display these spectacular plants in harmonious surroundings.

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Review:

There are a great number of books listing rhododendrons, identifying them, and enumerating their virtues. Such books are useful for rhody fanciers who want to learn more about their favorite plants, but do little to help gardeners with what they really need to know: how to choose the best rhododendrons and how to use them in the garden.

Sonja Nelson concentrates her considerable experience on explaining which of the many kinds of rhododendrons are the most garden-worthy and how to incorporate them into your garden's design. Color photos show rhodies growing in different conditions, along with a variety of other plantings. Rhododendrons are pictured growing lushly and flowering profusely in gardens in such diverse locales as Los Angeles, Scotland, Georgia, and Pennsylvania. They work well mixed into a perennial border, thriving in a pot (the large-leafed Rhododendrons sinogrande), and consorting with a Japanese maple, as in the spectacular combination of lacy foliage found in R. macrosepalum "Linearifolium" and Acer palmatum "Dissectum."

The most useful chapter in the book may be the one on companion plantings for rhododendrons. Finding suitable plants to layer with rhodies can be difficult, as they need plenty of water and have a number of surface roots that don't like competition or disturbance. Nelson sees rhododendrons as versatile plants useful as hedging, pruned up as trees, or layered into borders with a wide variety of shrubs, perennials, and groundcovers, including hydrangeas, Oregon grape, bleeding heart, coral bells, and maidenhair ferns.

The old, sterile gardening style--with an expanse of lawn, barked beds, and lined-up shrubs--is over. Nelson provides the gardener with the information he or she needs to make rhododendrons part of the newer, more naturalistic garden filled with a variety of plantings. She also makes a compelling case for rhododendrons' place in mixed borders and convinces the reader that these plants deserve to steal the show. --Valerie Easton

Book Description:

Offering exciting new ideas for enhancing gardens with rhododendrons, this book also lists many garden-worthy species & cultivars.

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Nelson, Sonja
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