Dispatch from home: Early, small and pink

close up of two pink flowers
Rhododendron ‘Pink Snowflakes’

In the spring of 1997 I came across an adorable little pink rhododendron called ‘Pink Snowflakes’. It was absolutely covered with small white flowers with a bright pink ruffled edge and a tiny smattering of pink dots in the throat. I brought it home and gave it a place of pride next to my driveway. Soon after a foraging deer rudely stepped on it, breaking off two thirds of the plant. I forgave that deer only after some time.

Over the years ‘Pink Snowflakes’ has recovered and seems to be growing well. It is one of the earliest rhododendrons to bloom in my garden, just about the same time as Rhododendron ‘Seta’. It was just this spring when I thought to look up the parentage of ‘Pink Snowflakes’ and I was not surprised to find that the two share a parent- Rhododendron moupinense. Rhododendron moupinense is an early season bloomer and has passed that trait onto its siblings. You can read all about R. moupinense in the March Plant Profile.
close up of flower cluster
Rhododendron racemosum

The other parent of R. ‘Pink Snowflakes’ happens to be a favorite species of mine- R. racemosum, itself a producer of a profusion of small, pink blooms, which I also have in my garden. My plants are small and mashed a bit by the snow of the last two winters, but large specimens can be found in Rhododendron Glen, just above the small, upper pond.

tubular shaped pink flowers
Rhododendron trichostomum ‘Rae Berry’

The next rhododendron to bloom in my garden looks to be Rhododendron trichostomum ‘Rae Berry’, whose flowers are tiny and bright pink and whose foliage can be mistaken for rosemary when not in flower.

Cheers from Snohomish
Roy