Purple Gem – Rhododendron

By Todd Fratzel on Landscaping

Today we started planting some plants in our flower gardens. Since we built this house we’ve had a hard time coming up with a landscaping “plan” that we both like. The biggest problem we have is the huge size of our yard and house. Trying to get enough landscaping done so that the place actually looks nice is a challenge. I’m sure we could hire a landscape architect or landscaper to help us out but frankly I can’t see spending the money.

Today we planted a couple of Purple Gem Rhododendrons in the flower gardens in front of the farmers porch. The Rhododendron that we chose was a dwarf variety that only grows to a height of two feet. These plants can survive up here in New Hampshire with a -20 degrees. The beauty of these plants is they love acidic soil. If you’ve been reading my blog you know that I had my soil tested last fall and the pH was 5.3 which is quite acidic. These plants also like a well drained soil and that’s not a problem either considering we built our house on an old sand pit so if you dig down about a foot you hit pure “beach sand”.

The directions recommended digging a hole twice the size of the earth ball that the plant came in. I also dug that hole down about twice the depth and filled it with good planting soil. Then you just plant the Rhododendron so that it’s about 2 inches higher than the garden bed, fill around the root ball with soil and then put the mulch back over it. Hopefully these will take off and develop into a great addition to our flower beds.

About the author

Todd Fratzel

I'm full time builder for a large construction company in New Hampshire. I run their design-build division that specializes in custom homes, commercial design-build projects and sub-divisions. I'm also a licensed civil and structural engineer with extensive experience in civil and structural design and home construction. My hope is that I can share my experience in the home construction, home improvement and home renovation profession with other builders and home owners. I'm also the author of Tool Box Buzz and Today's Green Construction. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or you'd like to inquire about advertising on this site.

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1 Comment

  1. Jennifer says:

    We had a landscaper come out and give an estimate for a plan… we chose to NOT use her, as we didn’t have the $300 wanted for the whole .18 acre plan (front and back).

    That being said… after hearing her estimate and some of her suggestions, I would totally do it if we weren’t entirely DIY and do everything for almost free… (I’d like the WHOLE backyard to cost no more than $300… not just the plans).

    I got a lot from listening to her talk about ways to open up areas, different plants, etc… I wish we had the $300 to hire her!

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