I'm telling you right up front that I killed this plant, and it could have been avoided. If only I'd listened to the advice I give people all the time. THE FACTS: I bought three rhododendrons in June and two of them diedly, suddenly like rhodos do, with no helpful warning signs like wilting. That's a 33 and a third percent survival rate. And here's the point: I was home every day. I thought I was taking good care of them. I was in my garden probably 13 days out of every fortnight (I have English readers now and I want them to feel included.) I'm not saying my care was perfect, but it demonstrates it has to be perfect if the damn things have a chance of surviving their first summer.
I probably never would have gone public with this but yesterday I wrote about Paul James, about how he gives the exact same advice that I'd so recently ignored, and I just had to come clean with it. And now that I've gotten it off my chest I feel I can learn from my mistakes and look to the future, a future of planting in the fall if possible, early spring when necessary. I feel better already.