Keeping Rhodies looking good in NH
I just had a landscape architect draw up some detailed blueprints for my yard. Because I have a lot of shade, he suggested mass plantings of rhodies (probably about 50 shrubs total). My problem is that, while I like rhodies, I seldom see nice looking ones in NH lately. The large majority look wind-burned, shriveled, brown and basically very unappealing. I do see some that look nice and healthy, but I am afraid to invest in so many of the same shrub if they are hard to keep nice looking during our NH winters. Some winters we do not get a lot of snow, but it will get very cold. I think those are the winters that wreak the most havoc on the shrubs.
What can I do to protect my investment (something that would be feasible with mass plantings)? Are there varieties that are more hardy than others? I used wilt-proof last winter on the few rhodies I already have. Some look a little "sad" this spring, some look okay - but not great. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!