Rhododendrons and Dawyck


My photographs of plants never seem to do them justice, especially if I use a hand-held camera and then reduce the photo to fit a small space, like here. I am a bit of a softy for rhododendrons, for me they have something special. Over the years they have had a bad press, but only because of the crazy spreading habit of one particular variety, Rh.ponticum, which has become a bit of a thug.

Many of the rhododendrons at Dawyck Botanic Garden (an hour’s drive south of Edinburgh) are in now in bloom and are well worth a visit. The rhododendron in the photo is Rh.roxieanum and is a ‘high altitude rhododendron’. If you happen to be in China it can be found at between 3,000 to 4,500 metres. Alternatively, Dawyck is only at 220m. And there’s a very good cafe, which is something you’ll probably not come across at 4,000 metres in the Himalayas.

There are also these:

Whenever I see them my mind wanders to John Wyndham, and Triffids… though they didn’t scare the toddler who decided to get in amongst them and run about, to the anguish of his guardian (granny?) who apologised profusely. To me, not to the Triffids (and why to me?).

The Triffids’ real name is Lysichiton americanum. It is also known as Yellow Skunk Cabbage (easier to pronounce, but nowhere near as posh as its latin name).

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