I had planned to write about this later in the spring, but events overtook me.
I am a Rhodoholic. Gardening in an oak and hickory forest has given me an appreciation of Rhododendrons, Azalea's and Mountain Laurel. They are amongst the few plants that grow here and the deer won't eat, I have come to love them.
The greatest Rhodoholic that ever lived recently died, Edmund de Rothschild, scion of the Rothschild banking family. His family garden is known as Exbury Gardens and is THE worlds treasure garden for lovers of RAMLs.
Exbury garden web site home page
His Daily Telegraph Obituary includes the following about his life: Edmund de Rothschild - Telegraph
"After his return from the Second World War in 1946, Eddy de Rothschild set about the restoration of Exbury Gardens in Hampshire, the 260-acre woodland garden created by his father Lionel in the 1920s and 1930s. The gardens had been greatly neglected since Lionel's death in 1942.
Over the next 50 years he replanted some three-quarters of the acreage, and produced several dozen new rhododendron hybrids. He also developed the highly successful Solent Range of Exbury deciduous azaleas, which are noted for their strength and colour. In 1955 he opened Exbury Gardens to the public.
Well into his eighties, Eddy de Rothschild would hurtle around Exbury's network of garden paths (designed to be wide enough for his father's Armstrong-Siddeley) in a small car with the number plate NMR 1. He would stop the car to pass the time of day with the visitors, and liked to get out to hack off dead branches and blooms with a stout rhododendron-wood stave."
I have several of his rhododendron hybrids here at The Park. They are an enduring legacy to a fascinating man.