Rhododendron Bloom Report: June 24, 2021

Hi folks-

As is usual, no big surprises this week at the grove. An early morning visit was relatively bug free, but they are thick enough. It is June, after all. A few mushrooms to be seen here and there, and a little bit of moisture in the drainage areas this week. A sign of the rains that we had, but still a long way to go before it is still not too dry.

Some flower bud expansion right on schedule for blooming in mid-July

As is shown in this week’s pictures, the flower buds are swelling in preparation for the bloom, but there are still plenty that are tight and will not open until late July. This is normal.

More of the same

And two different ways of procreation-sprouted seeds and root cloning. The germinated seeds will ensure genetic variation, and the root clones (the main way that this plant spreads) ensure more living tissue although by definition it is asexual reproduction, and does not vary genetically from the “parent.” Rhododendrons are not unique this way. Most woody plants, especially multi-stemmed shrubs-lilac, blueberry, many dogwoods as a few examples spread very successfully by asexual reproduction-most woody plants for sale in a nursery are “clones.”

A view of the bridge about halfway around the Rhodo Loop trail

The seedlings shown are growing in a natural nursery in the grove, and can be seen along the trail. It is a tree stump, and between the nutrients made available in the rotting wood, and the critters that over the years have left behind certain nutrients while eating something on the “table,” there are plenty of things to grow on.

Seedlings in the “nursery”

The example of “root cloning” can be seen at the bridge where some roots were disturbed and reburied in the retaining timbers as the bridge was being constructed. New shoots can be seen coming up from the roots. How do I know this? Deduction and experience mixed with a bit of bullfeathers, that’s how.

Root clones by the bridge

Remember to be prepared for bugs when you come to the grove.

Yet another boring picture of swelled buds

Until next week,
Ted Lenk

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Ted Lenk

Ted Lenk is an NH State Park Volunteer who checks in regularly at Rhododendron State Park.

3 thoughts to “Rhododendron Bloom Report: June 24, 2021”

  1. Ted,
    We are new to NH and visited the park for the first time on Wednesday. We were surprised to only see one or two Mountain Laurels in bloom. Did we miss the peak blooming time for them? Also, there were certainly a lot of rhododendron plants. We knew they would not be in bloom until July but there seemed to be relatively few buds on the plants. Is there just a poor settings of buds this year or will significantly more buds be produced before peak flowering time?

  2. Hi Ted,
    NH Home magazine would like to photograph some of the rhodies in park this year as part of a story about rhododendrons and azaleas for next year.
    Please send me your contact info so I can put our photographer in touch with you about when to visit and get some pictures. I would like to do a short interview with you as well.
    Thanks so much for keeping the bloom report updated!
    Robin Sweetser

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