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azaleas There is nothing more stunning than azaleas and rhododendrons in full bloom where the glorious flower petals engulf the whole plant to reveal a riot of colour. Planting azaleas in great drifts under deciduous trees is a sight to behold come spring. Unfortunately for me, my azaleas seem to suffer badly from petal blight which is an unsightly fungal disease which takes hold when the weather is too damp and the flower display is ruined by the ugly brown spotting of the flower petals resulting in brown mush in a few days. I’ve thought about spraying with a fungicide but I loathe spraying with chemicals with a vengence and therefore try to halt the process by picking off spotted petals as fast as they appear and then bagging the lot to be dumped in the waste bin. These petals don’t go into my compost because I don’t want to spread it any further than it should. My compost heap doesn’t get hot enough to destroy these fungal spores and to use the compost later with my other plants would be to spread the dreaded disease further afield. Just a nice rule of thumb to remember that any diseased plant, cutting or prunings shouldn’t ever be put into your garden compost – bag ‘em and trash ‘em.

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