Time's Up: Back Stoop Rhododendrons - May 2022

Back in early 2018, one of the initial moves we made in developing our garden and landscape was to add a pair of rhododendrons on either side of our back stoop.  Why rhododendrons?  Because the plan called for them.  PJM Rhododendrons to be precise.  They were planted in summer.  They bloomed and looked great.  A tropical-looking evergreen that is cold hardy to Zone 5b?  What's not to like.  

It was a couple of years that I mostly ignored them.  They were watered and fed.  But, that's it.  At some point, they started to turn.  And they started to deteriorate. By last summer, they looked shabby.

What do the pair of Rhododendrons look like this Spring?  Not great.  See below for the evergreen shrub to the north of the stoop:

And...here below is the other one - to the north.  This one looks *better*, but not awesome.

Cold Hardy Rhododendron

We've had a chipmunk that lived in these beds over the years.  Or...maybe more than one Chipmunk?  I am pretty sure that their burrows and/or munching on the roots were part of the issue. 

That leads us to this year where I included a 'stoop upgrade' project on my to-do list.  

13.  Fix/upgrade back Stoop.  Maybe it is a pair of Japanese Maples?  Maybe it is a combination of things.  Either way....the rhododendrons aren't working.  Change that.  Also, divide the volunteer sedum as it seems like it is adapting to Zone 5b.

The time had arrived to transplant them and replace these two shrubs with something more interesting.  

They were pretty easy to pop out of the bed - below is the empty bed ready to be replanted:

I decided to put these both out back - in a partial shade bed.  The worse-off-one is planted between a pair of Gold Cone Junipers and right in front of a fellow transplanted azalea.  You can see that one below in this land-of-orphans bed.  Random hostas, ferns and those troubled junipers are in there. 

The second one - that is more healthy - ended up being tucked *behind* the Dawn Redwood tree.  Close to the fence.   This feels more like a natural position for the Rhododendron, so I'm hopeful that it will succeed in this new home.

The removal of the rhododendrons is just one part of the whole 'stoop upgrade project'.  What goes in there next?  A pair of dwarf ginkgos.  But, I'll post photos of those once I get them planted. 

Here's my 2023 Morton Arboretum Plant Sale Posts:


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