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Hello Chops. This looks like Rhododendron ponticum. It is an introduced species to this country and is causing havoc wherever it grows.
Whole areas of Britain are being invaded by it and hundreds of hours of volunteer work are put into clearing it every year. It will grow as tall as your bedroom windows and drown anything else in the garden.
Enjoy it while it is young, but throw it in the bin when it gets too large.
It is Rhododendron ponticum, the common rhododendron. I can be pruned quite hard to keep it small, the problem is you will then have very few flowers. It will grow in any acid soil, rich or poor. Have a look at what your neighbours grow, if they have Camellias, Pieris and Azaleas then you have the right soil in that area. Keep it watered through this summer as it is not rooted into your garden soil and unable to access the water there.
I agree with pansyface, I love them and we have them everywhere round where I live and they can get huge. If you wanted something small like that I'd go for a azalea type of rhodo, i think they tend to be smaller and might be a bit more to scale with your front garden.
Yes, looks like R. ponticum. They can be pruned, but they often dont flower the year after pruning. It will grow to a humungous size in a few years, but I like them.
Hear hear! I did my back in during January, trying to clear some of this pernicious foreign weed, I agree that it looks spectacular but it smothers everything else.
Don't throw it in the bin: burn it so it can't spread!
It's a small area to have it in Chops. I'd get shot of it if it was me but you might want to enjoy it just now. I'd buy a reliable named variety if you want a rhodie for the front garden. They'll take a while to get big and you can prune them to keep them the height you want.
Am I right in thinking that it is poisonous to bees or did I just dream that?
Sorry! I personally loathe them! I was wrong about them being poisonous to bees, it's the honey that is poisonous to us.
Prune them but have no flowers next year. Don't prune them and move house....
Prune it with a saw, about 2" above the ground then chop of the regrowth as it appears. Should only take a few years to get rid of it.
(Personally, I'd do the same with the conifers, but chacun a son gout).
(Ducks to avoid missiles)
Some things just don't do small.