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Vanishing rhododendron buds

Hi - I have a very happy rhododendron (no idea which one, label fell of yonks ago) which has flowered beautifully every year.  Looked at it today and all the gorgeous fat flower buds that were on it last week are gone.  Just gone.  There's no notching on the leaves, no buds on the ground, no clues at all.  There are no deer in the garden (epic deer fencing does a grand job).  The rest of the plant looks healthy.  Anyone any ideas?  Do I wait a year and see if it flowers next year or is this a sign of something terminal?  Thanks!
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  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,223
    Sounds like something's eaten them if they were definitely there last week.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Tanty2Tanty2 Posts: 211
    It definitely has (and it wasn't me, sleepwalking, pretty sure of that...).  I'm very annoyed, it's a super pretty rhodie and its flowers make me happy.  
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 20,126

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,223
    edited 18 March
    Not a problem I've ever had, but I expect someone will have an idea. 
    I don't recall rabbits eating them, but it could be something like pheasants, although they never touched mine when we had both in the garden. 
    Are you sure they haven't shrivelled in dry weather or similar? They can disappear quite quickly if they get frosted and dried out for example. Again, not something that really happens here, but it's surprising how easily they can shrivel up.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • DogmumDogmum DerbyshirePosts: 72
    We have a squirrel which nicks whole camellia buds if they grow too close to the fence, so that could be a possibility.
    Tomorrow is another day
  • VictorMeldrewVictorMeldrew Peak District foothills, CheshirePosts: 438
    Yes squirrels. We had that problem one year and I actually saw him eating them. Out of desperation I smeared the remaining buds with axle grease and amazingly I stopped them being eaten. What's more we got flowers!
    Every now and then I like to do as I'm told, just to confuse people
  • ErgatesErgates Devon, east of ExeterPosts: 1,493
    Squirrels often help themselves to the buds of camellias, rhododendrons and magnolias in our garden. Too high for me to reach most of them, but I have tried spraying some of the smaller camellia bushes with dilute washing up liquid, seemed to help a bit.
  • Tanty2Tanty2 Posts: 211
    Thanks, everyone, for the insight.  Squirrels, eh?   Greedy little cretins.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,223
    "Greedy little cretins." 

    Much worse than that unfortunately  :/
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • @VictorMeldrew , @Dogmum that’s answered my question and what I can do about it, don’t know if OH has axle-grease though, as that’s what has been happening to my camellia tree. Valerie 
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