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Rhododendron griersonianum

As the colour of spring and early summer fades, certain individual plants stand out against the shades of green. One of these is R griersonianum with its soft orangey red flowers and lovely long narrow leaves with pale brown indumentum. The flowers come in succession so it appears to be in flower over a long period.

They form shapely bushes and need some shade- or cloudy skies as we have at present- the flowers tend to dry up in bright sun. However they seem completely hardy here although said to be slightly tender.

R griersonianum is the parent of many hybrid rhododendrons, several hundred crosses have been made over the past century since it was introduced by George Forrest in 1917 from West Yunnan and named after a friend Mr Grierson. It is probably extinct in the wild. Tally Ho, Matador, May Day and Vanessa all show their parentage in their crumpled silk textured flowers.

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