This week’s tour of Rhododendron State Park was a bit on the cool side – 58 degrees F at 3:00 pm – windy and dry. Not much in the way of biting insects, but a few found me. As shown in these photos (which were taken on Thursday June 9, 2016), the flower buds are still tightly wrapped and it will be another 5-6 weeks before they bloom. This is normal and, if anything, the bloom may come a bit early this year. Having said that, it really is too soon to tell with any accuracy, so stay tuned, nature is very hard to predict in some ways.
Demonstrated very well in the pictures included this week is the difference between flower and vegetative (leaf buds that will not produce any flowers this year) buds. Basically, flower buds are short, fat and tight. Leaf buds are slender, a bit longer and not quite as tight as flower buds. This rule doesn’t necessarily apply to most other plants, but once one becomes familiar with rhododendrons it is fairly easy to tell the difference.
At this point it does not look like a “banner” year for numbers of blossoms, but perhaps a few more than last year’s. As “peak” bloom approaches, often more can be seen than was originally estimated. So much for predictions. I won’t be totally wrong, but maybe not exactly right either-as I said before, keep tuned…
Even though it was windy enough today to keep most of the bugs down, the Rhododendron grove is a buggy place so come prepared.
Until next time,