Tabasco sauce & squirrels
I have a beautiful, well travelled rhodo. It started in Ste Agathe, Quebec (Zone 2) moved to Montreal (Zone 4) and for the past 6 years has been in Burlington Ontario (Zone 6). It has really thrived here and is about 4X the size it began as.
Problem #1: most years I don't see any blooms because the squirrels eat them. Last year we had ONE bloom. This year the plant was covered with about 40 buds 2 weeks ago. One day I went out and half had been eaten. Since then I have been dousing the buds with tabasco sauce and most have stayed put. I wish I had seen the rodent who tried the several which have gone.
Problem #2: I noticed last night that some of the leaves are discolouring (dark green is getting mottled with light green areas) and I am wondering if the tabasco is harming the rhodo. If so should I wash it off and learn to be happy with a nice foliage shrub and give up on blooms? It is kind of weird because there is a rhodo on the other side of the very small garden that the squirrels leave alone. They're not too bright, but they are very busy.