Conservation of Rhododendron Species and their historic Gardens
The Lost, Forgotten and Abandoned Rhododendron Gardens of Scotland Locating, Identifying and Assessing the ‘Key’ Rhododendron Gardens of Yesteryear
John M. Hammond
There is little doubt that it was never going to easy to establish a listing of the ‘Key Rhododendron Gardens of Scotland,’ which is one of the aims that the R.S.C.G. has taken on-board as an objective. At present the listing contains around 90 gardens, a surprising and significant number that has its origins in a listing collated by the Late Mervyn Kessell for his book ‘Rhododendrons & Azaleas,’ published in 1981. On many occasions over the years this listing has been updated, but it is still very much ‘a work in progress’. The contents of such a listing is at best going to be subjective, and at worst is going to be fraught with problems which may arise from determining exactly what the constituents of a ‘Key’ garden are in practical terms. Over the coming years there is likely to be considerable discussion on this subject, together with organising visits to some less well-known gardens on the listing to assess the collections they contain, which in turn will help to establish a criteria for taking this project forward.
The group is now activly involved with several in-site and ex-situ garden conservation projects. Initially we have been surveying gardens in order to identify what rhododendrons are growing where. Once plants of historic value and/or highlighted in the RED-List have been identified our iam with permission of the owners is to propgate and distribute them throuout our network of conservation sites. Hopefully securing their future for many generations to come.
The group has two main meetings a year with slide lectures, talks and demonstrations. Then we have many other days out doing survey work. Members of all ages and knowledge welcome.