Friday, May 26, 2023

The Other Side of The Porch.....


Are You Ready?....

It Occurred to me, Dear Readers, as I was watching my RL Rhododendron shrub begin to bloom last week, that if I was going to start on the shrub for the Other Side of The Folly porch any time soon, then I had better get started or I would have to wait an entire year for the chance to accurately copy the blossoms! I needed to know how large the florets really are, the precise color of the red to use, how they are attached to the stem, the number of florets to make per cluster and so on! The Lilacs in my RL garden have now finished blooming for the year, and the Rhododendron is taking over the show, and I have always intended to have this same sequence for the Folly Garden. The Lilac on one side of the porch is an old and venerable shrub and they are common in this part of the world. Once planted they last forever. The same is true for the Rhododendrons, the only difference being that their popularity is slightly more recent, the nineteenth century instead of the eighteenth century for lilacs. So the shrub beside The Folly porch will be old and venerable too! How fortunate that I have a nearly one hundred year old specimen beside my porch to use as a model! 

The little removable garden pod was constructed when I made the lilac base....
The nail poking out of it is so you can remove it easily.... 
there are three other pods which can each have their seasonal shrub,
 but in this case I will not have to use them all!
 There is no "bare shrub" in winter because it is evergreen.
So I will only be making three Rhododendron versions...
 spring flowering, summer green and winter snowy green.
As you can maybe guess, I got started right away!

I needed to know just how big the florets really are...

The blossoms are each about 2 inches in diameter,
 which is about 1/6th of an inch in mini scale.

I needed to test the color mix to try and duplicate the red...
The sample at the top is a combination of the other two...

And seems to match the blossom fairly closely.

I needed to figure out how to make a five petal trumpet shape...
I started with the punched shape above, 
and cut off three of the petals...
and glued the remaining five around a wire stem.
 Of course, I forgot to take pictures of some of the steps...

I got a floret painted.... 
but have to add the stamens...

Which I made from thread dipped in yellow paint...

But on closer inspection the stamens
 should be more white than yellow...

But so far, Dear Readers, 
I think the blossoms look promising!

So the next day I set about trying to make the leaves...

For reference I also picked a lilac leaf... 
to compare the difference in the green.
The rhododendron is clearly much darker.

I tried various combinations of greens.... 
the closest was just the chromium oxide mixed with mars black.

And the underside of the leaf is a pale yellow green.
Alas, I do need to mix three pigments to get this color!
But it is the underside and will not be very visible.

The rhododendron leaves are between
 five and six inches long at the longest... 
(there are smaller leaves too)
which is about 1/2 inch in mini scale.
I used a multi petal leaf punch to separate into leaves...

Here they are glued onto wire in pairs....
painted the green with a narrow paler vein stripe...

And glued onto a stem, fanning out the leaves.

And by now I have made lots more blossoms... 
with paler stamens... 
I need to use cream, not white or yellow!

I have determined that five stamens and one pistil
 will work in this scale 
(The real florets have ten stamens)
They need to be bunched together and glued securely.

The glue must be allowed to get very dry
 or the stamens clump together when added to the blossom.

This is a cluster of ten florets, 
not yet attached to the main stem and leaves.
Many of my shrub's clusters are between eight and fifteen florets...
I will experiment with the number in a cluster.

Here they are with the leaf cluster... 
not yet attached together....
But I think it looks promising, Dear Readers!

And here we have the first batch of florets
 attached to a stem with the leaves too!

Can you picture it, Dear Readers, 
A towering shrub covered in
 bright red blossom clusters...?
Are you Ready for the Rhododendron marathon
 for the other side of The Folly Porch?


  1. This is so exciting! -Talia

  2. Oh my goodness, your Rhododendrons are amazing! You've taken such care to make them so life-like! I enjoyed seeing your process here.


  3. Dear Betsy
    The cluster of florets looks amazingly life like. What an exciting project making 3 versions of a rhododendron shrub. I loved seeing all the steps of the blossoms making. Such an artistic achievement.
    Hugs, Drora

    what an artistic achievement

  4. They look really convincing Betsy! And hopefully a little quicker than lilac blossoms!

  5. Hooray!!! Another stunning project... and with the benefit that this time you'll *coughcough* "only" have to do three shrubs. Bless the rhododendron for being an evergreen plant. Believe it or not - this was my first thought when I started to read this post: "A rhododendron!!! Wow!!! But my, Betsy will have to make three of them... what a project and what an amount of work!"

    It's already clear that rhododendron No. 1 aka the blooming version will become another masterpiece. Your struggling for realism is once more amazing and the accurate studying you're doing to understand the structure and appearance of the florets and the leaves is impressive. A total déja vu for me... as it reminds me so well of your lilac making times. And I can remember how much fun I had back then with every progress you made... so it's great to have this kind of fun back. *teehee* Your first steps are already breathtakingingly beautiful and I'm really looking forward to see more. You'll have one advantage now... you already know what colours it takes! ;O)


  6. Estás haciendo unas copias estupendas. Seguro que el resultado del arbusto será genial. Desde luego te espera un gran maratón.

  7. Wow, I'm amazed! You never cease to astonish me with the level of detail you create with your shrubs and flowers. This will be gorgeous.

  8. Wonderful project! The tiny flowers are perfect and you are just getting started. I'm curious to see more.

  9. I am so sorry to be so late to get to this wonderful post, but the tardiness hasn't effected my excitement at all! Oh Betsy! This Rhodie (all three versions) is going to be magnificent!!! And The Folly's garden will be the envy of all miniaturists everywhere! You seem to have perfected the parts, and like the lilac, I am sure you'll make each leaf and petal blazing fast before long. Enjoy this wonderful labor of love! I am sure going to enjoy seeing it unfold!

  10. Dear Betsy, the Lilac in four seasons was a daunting project that you have completed in such great detail. The Rhodondendron triplets is hardly any less daunting! The flowers you have already made look stunning! you have your work cut out for you. but the result will be no doubt stunning.


  11. Hello! The flowers look very realistic. The shape, size and especially color is perfect. I would love to come back and see the progress. Thanks for sharing the process!

  12. Oh gosh your little rhododendron flowers look fabulous, I look forward to seeing the whole plant. We love rhododendrons!