My husband is crazy about rhododendrons. He loves them because they are showy, easy care and grow well in deep shade; which we’ve got in spades. I suspect he also loves them because in order to really see them in their splendor, you must be in the woods; his happy place. Last fall, we planted four PJMs and carefully tended them while they were settling in to their new home.
A few months later, we noticed the leaves turning yellow and falling off. It was an extremely rainy fall; did they get too much water? Maybe we planted them in the wrong area? Were they getting too much sun? We had no idea.
Shortly after that, we saw to our horror, that the neighborhood thugs (also known as deer) had come through and eaten the ends off every single branch of all four plants! They’d shown no mercy. It looked like we had wandered through the yard picking up sticks after a wind storm and decided to shove them into the ground instead of the burn pile.
Deerscouraged – Yes, it’s a word. I just invented it.
having lost confidence or enthusiasm for gardening in deer country; disheartened. “she must be feeling pretty deerscouraged”
Dejected, we paid a visit to the nursery where we purchased the rhododendrons, looking for a glimmer of hope for these little guys. The owner guessed that the wet weather had contributed to the leaves falling off. She encouraged us to leave them alone and wait until spring to see if they came back.
Well, this story has a happy ending (or middle?) because the plants have budded out and are blooming today. We’re hopeful that healthy leaves will return this year.
A few weeks later, the leaves have returned to the PJMs, they’re growing like crazy and seem to be very healthy!
If you’d like to try PJMs in your landscape, you can read more about them here:
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