Hinton Ampner Garden

Rhododendron williamsianum

Location:

The Main Drive

Description:

A wonderfully distinctive plant, forming a perfect mound up to 4 or 5 feet. Originally found only in China in central and western Sichuan. It is a plant of the mountains, growing at altitudes between 8,000-10,000' (2,400-3,000 m.) in isolated spots on cliff faces. There are usually only 2 or 3 flowers in a truss, bell-shaped nodding blooms in pink or rose, sometimes with spots. When the leaves are new, they are bronzy or chocolate-coloured, spectacular and unmistakable.

Site and Care:

It is infamous for having that lovely bronzy new growth burnt by late frosts but planting it in shadier, more sheltered areas can results in fewer blooms. It thrives here on an acid clay cap on a chalk ridge but it does require an acid fertile well-drained soil. Pruning should only be carried out immediately after flowering.