It’s interesting to observe the variation in rhododendron and azalea bloom times from year to year. Especially here in Ohio, where we’re not sure if snow or rain will be part of our day in early spring. This sets the tone for how the buds are preserved for their unveiling. This year, the rhododendrons had an erratic start, with some only blooming near the bottom of the plants where the buds were shielded from the cold. Then the heat came, and the buds burst so quickly on some plants that they fizzled out much faster than usual.
But no matter what Ohio throws at them, they manage to put on a beautiful show each year in the Rhododendron Discovery Garden.
Sommer Tolan brings her sense of creativity, design and wonder to the Horticulture Team at The Holden Arboretum. Previously, she taught children about organic vegetable gardening with the Chicago Parks District, and designed rooftop gardens and patios with Sprout Home in Chicago. She’s so thrilled to extend her aesthetic of using native plants fused with a modern edge into the Eliot and Linda Paine Rhododendron Discovery Garden.