Although there are a number of rhododendrons scarcely exceeding half a foot in height, even the smallest of them will eventually attain twice as much in diameter or even more. Therefore, however small and neat they may look in their nursery pots, they are not for the smaller types of miniature garden where elbow-room is scarce. Where a larger enclosure can be devoted to them alone, however, an attractive collection could be formed, allowing at least 2 sq. ft. of surface area to each plant. They must be given a lime-free soil containing a high proportion ofor leaf-mould, and a position in which they are shaded from the morning sun. The following is a representative selection of the dwarfer species.
R. imperator, a semi-prostrate plant with dark green leaves, grey on their undersides, and reddish-purple flowers. May. 4 to 6 in.
R. keleticum, a more upright shrub with narrow, glossy leaves and bright purplish crimson flowers. May and June. 9 in.
R. myrtilloides, a compact species with small glossy leaves and claret-coloured flowers. May. 6 in.
R. prostratwn, a prostrate plant with dark green leaves, rust-coloured beneath, and violet flowers spotted with red. April. 4 in.
R. pumilum, a neat little shrub with small glossy leaves and rose-pink flowers. April and May. 6 in.
R. radicans, the dwarfest of all, making mats of thin wiry stems with minute leaves and relatively large purple flowers. April and May. 2 in.
R. re pens, an attractive species which requires more shade and moisture than the rest, though the site must be well drained. It has thick, woody stems with dark green leaves and large crimson flowers. April. 6 in. or less.
R. tapetijorme. Prostrate and spreading, with dull green leaves and pink flowers. April. 4 in. Rosa Like their full-sized counterparts, these little roses look best in a place by themselves, though in a formal layout they might be associated with such plants as miniature, grown in separate beds. But on no account whatever should they be allowed to invade the sacred precincts of the miniature alpine garden, where they would look merely grotesque. A rich and sunny position suits them best.
R. Roulettii, a dwarf form of the China rose and the only kind really small enough for the average miniature garden, bears double flowers of rose-pink. June. 6 to 9 in.
For the larger miniature garden the following are suitable, but will eventually grow to a foot or slightly more:
R. Lawranciana, red.
R. Oakington Ruby, dark red.
R. pumila, pink.