by Leslie Cox; Monday; June 11, 2018

Rhododendron 'Anna Rose Whiney'Deadheading a rhododendron can be quite a chore at the best of times…especially if it is a tall one like our beautiful ‘Anna Rose Whitney’. And we have two of those!

Not only is ‘Anna Rose Whitney’ very tall, but the spent blossoms are very sticky. So sticky, they cling to your gloves, or bare hands if you prefer to deadhead without gloves.

One solution we have found is to don a pair of disposable gloves and slather our fingertips with Vaseline. Works like a dream…the spent blossoms don’t stick at all. However, there is one caveat…you have to keep re-applying more Vaseline.

There is a second solution which I have just recently discovered…deadhead the sticky rhodo blossoms on a rainy day. Preferably after it has been raining for a while and the shrub is thoroughly wet.

I usually stick to inside chores on big rain days in consideration for my arthritis. However, I was falling behind on garden chores so suited up into rain gear and ventured out to tackle some deadheading on the rhodos. I started with a non-sticky rhodo and then moved on to ‘Anna Rose Whitney’ right next to it…without switching to disposable gloves and Vaseline. What a pleasant surprise to find the spent blossoms were not clinging to my garden gloves! (If I could ignore the soaking I was getting from the rain, that is!) Seems wet gloves, as yucky as they are to wear, work every bit as well as Vaseline!

Happy deadheading on those rhodos!