Spring Rhododendrons At Trebah

Spring Rhododendrons At Trebah

Over the last week the beeches in the garden have finally opened their leaves, and very few sights can be more beautiful than that of sunshine filtering through the foliage.

So I've picked a few branches to bring spring into my displays this week. The beech trees at Trebah are around 165 years old and the contrast between the green and the purple form a wonderful backdrop to the valley.

The white lily-shaped Rhododendron flowers are growing in a sheltered position on Stuart's Hill where the overhanging trees provide some protection for their tender disposition. Their fragrance is sublime.

The variety I've selected is Rhododendron lindleyi 'Dame Edith Sitwell', named after the modernist pioneer of avante-garde poetry. She was 6ft tall and dressed in exotic costumes, wore turbans and a plethora of rings with stones as large as cottage loaves. She was once described as resembling 'a high altar on the move'.

The yellow buds are from Rhododendron luteum, commonly known as deciduous Azalea or Honeysuckle Azalea. This plant is native to south east Europe and south west Asia and there is a massed planting of it along Badgers Walk. The highly perfumed scent drifts on the breeze.

Finally, the third member of the Rhododendron family I've selected is Rhododendron obtusum 'Hino-crimson' which has stunning clusters of crimson trumpet-shaped flowers in mid-spring that are so profuse that the shrub is almost entirely covered at peak bloom.

By Garden Archivist Nicky Wharton

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