The world of blooming rhododendrons
Mustila arboretum rhododendrons
If you drive from Lappeenranta towards Helsinki for about 100 km, you can get to an amazingly beautiful place - Mustila Arboretum.
In the very first days of June, there, in the "Valley of Rhododendrons", you can observe a colorful sea of flowers, when hundreds of these beautiful evergreens, brought from all over the world and acclimatized in northern Finnish conditions, bloom at the same time.
At this time, the arboretum is crowded, because tourists from different parts of the country and even from abroad come to Mustila to admire the lush flowering of rhododendrons and azaleas. The entire arboretum can be divided into several zones. Moreover, the trees there are planted in large areas, which creates the effect of homogeneous and in some places mixed forests.
In this area of the arboretum, the first conifers were planted in the early twentieth century in order to expand the variety of wood species in Finland's northern climate. And today you can already see here rolled broad-coniferous pine, Siberian and Sakhalin fir, different types of larch and thuja.
This part of the arboretum is warmer and more fertile. It is here that a large number of exotic trees and shrubs from the Northern Hemisphere have been planted since the beginning of 1920. For example, several types of walnut, red oak, hornbeam, Korean fir appeared here. A large number of hardwoods from warm countries are adapted to grow under the protection of pine trees. These are bearded and three-flowered maple, actinidia kolomikta, high aralia, Japanese scarlet, beech, Siebold's magnolia, Amur velvet, sumach-leaved lapina.
It is a sunny area with well-drained soils. Since the beginning of 1990, about 4000 plants of azalea hybrids have been planted here (azaleas are representatives of the rhododendron family - ed.), Obtained from the crossing of Canadian, Japanese and yellow rhododendrons.
"Valley of Rhododendrons"
This is by far the most attractive part of the arboretum. Most of these beautiful plants grow here under the canopy of the pine forest, which provides them with shade and protection from the cold and wind.
Today in Mustila you can see more than 100 species and varieties of rhododendrons, and one of the first varieties is named after the creator of the arboretum - Axel Fredrik Tigerstedt - "Tigerstedt".
Here you cannot do without a small excursion into history. The fact is that since 1902, State Councilor Axel Fredrik Tigerstedt begins to plant various types of ornamental trees and shrubs brought from North America, the Alpine regions of Europe, and the Far East on the Mustila estate. In 1917, he retired and devoted himself entirely to experiments in the transplantation and acclimatization of plants.
Together with his son Karl Gustav, he founded the Mustila Arboretum in 1920. For more than a hundred years, about 2000 species of plants have been planted here, many of which have not taken root, but some of them have successfully passed the test of time. Today, on an area of 120 hectares, visitors can see more than 100 species of conifers and 130 deciduous tree species, as well as numerous shrubs.
The arboretum is widely known all over the world for its unique collection of rhododendrons. The first planting and research on the selection of evergreen varieties of rhododendrons with increased winter hardiness were made by Karl Gustav.
In recognition of his work in forestry and horticulture, he received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Helsinki. In 1981, the Mustila Arboretum was declared a national reserve, and in 1983, the Mustila Arboretum Foundation was established to preserve the heritage of the research work of the three generations of the Tigerstedt family. Until recently, this arboretum was open only to specialists, but today it welcomes everyone who is ready to see its unique beauty.
Getting lost in Mustila is difficult as there are signs on all routes.
The routes begin and end at a small office building, where, after an informative walk, you can have a cup of excellent coffee and get advice on soil preparation, planting and growing rhododendrons (although so far only in English and Finnish).
I think if you also decide to make a short trip to the Mustila arboretum, you will get the most positive emotions at the beginning of summer. For example, I am very glad that I discovered the wonderful world of flowering rhododendrons.
Alexander Bazarov, St. Petersburg
Agrotechnics of hydrangea tree
A place for planting with shade during hot hours or in partial shade. The soil is necessarily fertile, moderately moist, with a slightly acidic or acidic reaction. Unlike other hydrangeas, it tolerates the presence of lime in the soil better.
The best time to plant is in spring, before bud break. Planting pits measuring 40X40 and 40-50 cm deep, depending on the need for drainage. The distance between the plants is about 1 m. The seedling can be slightly deepened, no more than 2-3 cm. After planting, it must be spilled abundantly, then the trunk circle is mulched.
Top dressing is carried out with a special fertilizer for hydrangeas until the end of July or the beginning of August. Regular mulching is done in the spring. A layer of mulch of 7-10 cm prevents the growth of weeds and prevents the roots from drying out and overheating. Peat, wood chips or bark are used as mulch. Plants are very demanding on moisture in the soil. With a dry summer, frequent and abundant watering is needed.
Pruning is done in the spring. First, he conducts a sanitary cleaning, cutting out sick, broken, frozen branches. Then thinning is done. The remaining branches are cut into ?, leaving 2-3 strong buds on each. Faded inflorescences can be cut in the fall.
The most winter-hardy type of hydrangea. Even with strong freezing in severe winters, it quickly recovers and blooms in the same year. Shelter is desirable, but not necessary in normal winters. For shelter, it is enough to tie the bush to the stake and cover it with spruce branches.
When planting, it goes well with roses, clematis, with any conifers. Suitable for creating edges, uncut hedges, planting in groups. Can be a spectacular tapeworm. Dried inflorescences are used in winter bouquets.
100% natural fertilizer. Ideal for hydrangeas and other acid-loving plants (blueberries, azaleas, rhododendrons).
- provides long-lasting and abundant flowering
- increases the number and size of buds
- optimally lowers soil ph
- supply of nutrients for 100 days.
Composition of the product:
- fermented grains (corn, rye, wheat),
- legume flour,
- feather meal
- bone meal.
Application: Apply fertilizer to the surface of the soil around the plant, water, mulch. For flowers - 200 grams per sq. meter. For 2 year old seedlings and shrubs - 200 grams per plant. For 3-year-old plants - 300 grams.
It is recommended to feed the plant once a month to maintain the required level of soil acidity.
Planting Japanese azalea
The place for the shrub is chosen taking into account the quality of the soil and sunlight. Do not place plantings in an open place, with drafts and direct sunlight. The seedling hole should be twice as large as the earthen clod from the pot. A drainage layer is laid at the bottom to avoid stagnation of water. A mixture of peat and compost (humus) is added. If desired, you can purchase ready-made mixtures in specialized stores.
The distance between the bushes should not be less than half a meter. After planting, the soil is tamped and mulched with bark, peat, cut grass, watered abundantly. Planting Japanese azalea in heavy soil requires preparation: the soil is loosened and sand, peat, compost, and mineral fertilizers are added.
Planting a rhododendron
The best time to plant rhododendrons is spring. When planted early, the plants adapt well and take root in a new place. Rhododendrons with a closed root system can be planted at a later date.
It must be remembered that in natural conditions rhododendrons grow on acidic, loose, humus-rich, permeable soils. Therefore, the substrate should consist of a mixture of leafy soil, peat, coniferous litter with the addition of mineral fertilizer.
Rhododendrons have a sensitive root system. Therefore, it is imperative to pour mulching material around the bushes, which prevents overheating of the soil, and also retains moisture. Pine bark, coniferous litter are best suited as mulch, while the layer should be at least 5 cm.