The Role of Rhododendrons in Cornish Gardens
For gardeners and horticulturists the words "Cornish Garden" conjure up images
of places lush, green, moist, mossy, shady, mature, and dramatic. They are extraordinary
collections of exotic plants flourishing in the midst of a rich native flora. The
fundamental achievement of this type of West Country garden is that the planting
mix is often now accepted as being natural and the intervention of the gardener is
barely appreciated. But Gertrude Jekyll was always quick to point out, regarding
her successful naturalistic plantings, that "they are more hap than hazard".
The most prominent, ubiquitous, and striking plant in this "natural exotic mix"
has to be Rhododendron. The flowering of mature specimens is expected in a spring
garden and the size and splendour of many has earned them the name "lilies of the
sky". In fact, so used are we to the idea of the Cornish Garden with its integral rhododendrons that it is hard to imagine that up until the latter half of the nineteenth
ISHS members & pay-per-view
(PDF 173238 bytes)
IPPS membership administration
ISHS membership administration