Rhododendrons near the formal garden
Rhododendron ‘Blue Peter’ Distinguishing Feature An evergreen with small mid-green leaves ‘Blue Peter’ has violet-blue flowers, paler at the base. The flowers are borne in small trusses.
Flowers in early summer and retains its foliage all year.
This a mature shrub and has achieved its maximum height and spread (2.5 m x 2.5 m). Like most of the shrubs in this area this was planted sometime in the 1980s. This is a low maintenance plant requiring little pruning but like all Rhododendrons requires a humus rich acid soil to thrive. It is good in most aspects but does require shelter from prevailing winds. ‘Blue Peter’ as with other cultivars will not come true from seed so is best propagated by layering in the autumn or semi-hardwood cuttings in late summer.
Rhododendron luteum or Honeysuckle Azalea
This is a species of Rhododendron with bright yellow, strongly perfumed flowers. It is a medium sized shrub which may reach 3m in height. The leaves are roughly two and half times longer than wide (typically 8 by 3 cm).
Covered in trusses of flowers this is spectacular in late spring and early summer.
Rhododendron luteum has an extensive natural range being native to southern parts of Poland and Austria it is also found in Russia and Asia. Like other ornamental plants R luteum has colonised parts of the countryside in Britain, particularly wet heaths and bogs. Unlike the purple species R ponticum, this form does not become dominant nor out compete native plants so is not a major conservation problem.
Rhododendron nectar is poisonous and honey made by pollinating bees is toxic, although not fatal, to people causing intestinal and cardiac problems. Interestingly only pale flowered (white, light pink and yellow) Rhododendrons are highly scented. Like most of the shrubs in this area this was planted sometime in the 1980s.
This hybrid has clear rich almond-pink flowers with a faint orange flash. The flowers are very fragrant.
‘Westminster’ is deciduous losing its leaves in the autumn and it flowers in late May.
Rhododendron ‘Westminster’ belongs to a large group deciduous azaleas with a complex breeding history and is categorised as an occidentale hybrid. Occidentale hybrids were developed in England in the early 20th century by cross pollination of Rhododendron occidentale with Mollis hybrids. Rhododendron occidentale or western azalea is native to north America.
Mollis hybrids date back to 1873 when L van Houtte, a Belgian nurseryman selected varieties of Rhododendron mole (subspecies japonicum) for breeding. The result was a range of plants with more intense and diverse colouring in their flowers but no scent.