Miss Millie, originating from Belgium, is "easily the best variegated rhododendron on the market with a lovely vivid lilac flower from May onwards". The plant, named after Bridgemere nursery manager John Simmonds' daughter, has been in production for three years to ensure that it offers stability and is now available to be offered to the market after intensive trial work.
Rhododendron XXL, to be traded in the UK as Pink Ruffles, is the first variety from the Hortinno range. Obtained from a crossing in 2001, it took three years to develop from the first seed and four more years to trial before starting production.
The variety is easily distinguished by a strikingly large raceme and an extended flowering period. Compact growth makes it suitable even for smaller gardens and for use as a potted rhododendron. It has variegated flowers and the uni-coloured bud is an intense carmine red. Flowers then open to display a carmine red edge with a contrasting white flower heart.
The flowering period is extended on average by one week. The green rosette-shaped leaves emphasise the flowers, which will blossom very early. If artificially induced, the plant can be made to blossom as early as the end of January. In the garden, its flowering is from April onwards.