Shine Bright Like A Diamond

In an attempt to get into a routine of posting on the blog again I thought I’d share this Rhododendron Blue Diamond here.

This years peak bloom.

You’ll notice the one branch at the front without flowers. It’s a weak branch which gets weaker every year. There is a very thin live vein on it and I had removed the flowers from it for the last few years to try and strengthen it with no joy. Enough was enough. It had its chance so time to remove and redesign.

And then past peak with dead flowers showing.

The ideal time to remove the flowers and more importantly the little seed pods at their centre.

I’m sure we missed some late openers.
After deflowering before pruning.
Structural pruning
After pruning and set for the post flowering flush. You’d hardly notice the front branch at the main apex gone. A few bits wired to fill the gap.

Below is how the tree came to me in 2002.

Rhododendron ‘Blue Diamond’

Not it’s best flush of flowering, but it’s overdue a repot and a new pot next Spring. Still eye catching though.


Rhododendron Flower Removal

Well, not really flower removal but seed pod removal. This is a boring task but a vital one. We remove the old flower heads so that the tree doesn’t waste energy producing seed. Some people think that once the flowers fall off that’s it but, if  left behind the seed pods ripen and can make the tree sluggish in it’s growth that year. On this variety of Rhododendron, each flower head can have up to 10 individual flowers, each with it’s own seed head to remove.

Here we see the tree with my removal already started from right to left.



This is a branch were I have already removed the offenders and you can see the strong new shoots emerging.


This is a branch still to be done. It’s easier to remove them at this stage. The flowers have faded but are still on the tree. If you wait until the flower petals fall, it makes it harder to find all the seed pods. You can see how many flowers were on this one branch!



Same branch with the petals removed to show exactly what we need to get at.




This is one seed pod, I am able to removed them by plucking on this species but just be careful as some pecies can be different and need to have them removed by cutting to stop damage to new emerging shoots.



All gone.


This is a seed pod that I missed from the previous year! It was still hanging on the tree!



And this is the tree with all flowers removed.


and the aftermath!!


Full Tilt Rhododendron

Here the Blue Diamond Rhododendron in full glory taken over the last few days.

Getting Close

This Rhododendron is getting close to fully opening. Looks like as good show this year.




First Rhodie Flowers

First flowers opening on this Rhododendron ‘Blue Diamond’.




Rhododendron Virtual Pot

One of the trees Peter W.  looked at on his visit here was this Rhododendron Blue Diamond. I posted about the changes made here.

Peter suggested a pot change, this one was always just a stop gap until I could get something more suitable. He suggested a bag pot and I had a quick virtual play around with a few that might be suitable just to see how it looks.

This is how it looks now.

 Virtual Pot 1 Glazed Pot

Virtual Pot 2 Matt pot

Virtual Pot 3 Something a little different

Virtual Pot 4 Something a very different, tried it but no!

Give it a pot yourself 🙂

Rhododendron Alterations

Another tree that Peter Warren looked at on his recent visit was this Rhododendron.

This was it a few weeks before his visit.

Peter suggested opening it our a little along the main long branch and a few other suggestion about future growth and pot. A few pot virtuals over the Winter months perhaps.

Heavy wire used to add a slight separation in the pad. Like Azaleas always use a heavier wire than normal to alter branches on this species. Some other areas were reduced. This was the first time that the tree has even had wire applied!

This was it in 2002

A few dodgy years were major TLC was needed to keep this one alive.

Confused Rhododendron

This Rhododendron is a variety called Blue Diamond and normally flowers in March/April. As you can see, it’s decided to flower now. I’m not exactly sure why. It may be due to the fact that I removed nearly all of the flowers this Spring to help the tree gain a little extra vigour. The flowers are a little sporadic but will add a nice splash of colour as I wait for the real Autumn colour to hit the benches.

De-Flowering Today

Bonsai that is 🙂

My big Rhododendron has started to drop some of it’s flowers and to make sure I get all the seed pods off, I removed the rest by hand today. If you do it at this stage, it’s easy to spot the little red tips and the emerging shoots below are easy to avoid. If you leave it until all the flowers drop of their own accord, seed heads are hard to spot, you tend to knock off new shoots and it stresses the tree even further.

Here’s it before.

These are what I’m removing. Some have already dropped the flower petals leaving the seed heads.

and this is it 45 minutes later.

this is under the bench!

I have given the tree it’s first feed and a good watering in.