A windy day but still on the buggy side at the grove in Fitzwilliam, NH. It usually is buggy there this time of year.
As shown in the pictures below, the flower buds are still pretty tight, but there is ever so little expansion to be seen in a few buds here and there. My prediction of mid-July (for when the blooms can be seen as “peak” is accurate enough to be counted as good. Of course, it is not really my prediction, is it? It is a well established belief that mid-July is the time for blooming in SW New Hampshire for Rhododendron maximus. I am only repeating what I have heard.
One thing that sets this species apart from the more common cultivars is the extended season of blooming. Each cluster of flowers will last 2-3 weeks depending on the weather, but some clusters will come out earlier, and some will wait until early August before they open. The show goes on longer than cultivars, but is rarely as profuse (fewer and sometimes smaller flowers).
The other distinguishing characteristic about this species is the shade “tolerance” it developed over the eons. This is demonstrated about halfway around the loop trail, where there is a very sunny spot at the bridge. A lot of sunburned and yellowed leaves can be seen there. Ironically, extra sunlight often translates into more flowers. The result of this phenomenon is often more blooms at the sunny bridge, as is potentially the case this year. It is a sight that is worth the short walk.
Until next week,
Do not forget to come prepared for the bugs!