Rhododendrons – A Treasured Collection in Cronwall

Pink Rhododendrons at Heligan, from their Rhododendron Gardens Cornwall
Impressive Rhododendrons at Flora’s Green, The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Rhododendron Gardens Cornwall

 

Among Heligan’s most treasured collections are the vintage Rhododendrons and Camellias, nationally acknowledged by Plant Heritage. As Heligan, you will discover possibly the most impressive ancient Rhododendron gardens Cornwall has to offer. Wandering along the secluded pathways towards Flora’s Green, you are soon overshadowed by the Rhododendron canopy. Peer into the gloom and observe extraordinary the tangle of bronze coloured trunks. These underpin some of the largest Rhododendrons grown in the UK, many reaching circa 60 feet high.

Enormous trunks of vintage Rhododendrons at The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Rhododendron Gardens Cornwall UK
Enormous trunks of vintage Rhododendrons at Heligan, Rhododendron Gardens Cornwall

 

These magnificent evergreen specimens are at their finest during April and May, when clouds of crimson and magenta flourish and fade in undulating waves around the lawned garden known as Flora’s Green. It is a beautiful sight…

Rhododendrons flowering on Flora's Green at The Lost Gardens of Heligan
Rhododendrons flowering on Flora’s Green at Heligan

 

Close up of Pink Flowering Rhododendrons at Heligan. Buy pink Rhododendrons online UK.
Superb blooms of the Pink Flowering Rhododendrons on Flora’s Green at Heligan

 

These spectacular Rhododendrons are all pre-1920’s shrubs, many are the progeny of original seed collections brought back to England by Sir Joseph Hooker, from Sikkim and Darjeeling in the 1850’s. In the wild, Rhododendron colours occur naturally at different altitudes and with differing levels of hardiness. White Rhododendrons and the very palest hues are found at the highest altitude. The pinks, magentas and crimson’s from further down at medium levels. With the deepest reds (the most prized in England at that time) only found at the lower altitudes which meant they were far more tender to grow. Examples of all these breathtaking colours are in abundance at Heligan.

Magenta coloured Rhododendrons, flowering at The Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall
Magenta coloured Rhododendrons, flowering at The Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall

 

Since their introduction to the UK, plantsmen and nurserymen began the process of crossing the various varieties to produce hardier hybrids that were frost resistant. This has led to the enormous variety of glorious hybrid Rhododendrons now available to grow throughout the UK, where soil type and conditions permit.

 

Rhododendron Trees in The Jungle Garden at Heligan. Buy Rhododendrons online UK
Rhododendron Trees, Crimson Flowering, in The Jungle Garden at Heligan

 

Rhododendrons reach up to 60 feet high at maturity in Heligan Gardens, Cornwall
Rhododendrons reach up to 60 feet high at maturity in Heligan Gardens, Cornwall

 

The Rhododendrons at Heligan can be located in the Jungle Garden, Flora’s Green, the entrance to Heligan House (this is one of the deep red varieties known as Rhododendron Heligan) and don’t miss the splendid Rhododendron Falconeri, growing next to the Head Gardener’s offices.

Enormous Rhododendron tree by Heligan House. Buy rhododendrons online at our London plant centre
Colossal vintage Rhododendron tree in full bloom, growing by Heligan House

 

It is an uplifting sight to view these incredible specimens still surviving at Heligan, in the knowledge that these are the direct descendants of the very first introduction of the species to the UK.

Crimson Red Flowers of Rhododendrons, buy online UK
Sumptuous Crimson Red Flowers of Rhododendrons at Heligan in Cornwall

 

We recommend visiting Heligan in Cornwall, during late April/early May for the best show of blooms. If you are interested in growing Rhododendrons in your own garden, Paramount Plants & Gardens has a large and varied selection of these stunning shrubs with many colour options available. Some Rhododendron hybrids have been especially produced to remain relatively small, there are also many hardy varieties, we have something suitable for most size of garden.
Talk to our expert team, for help in deciding which Rhododendron is the best choice for your outdoor space.