Millais Nurseries to celebrate rhododendron centenary at Chelsea

Millais Nurseries which has won gold for the last four consecutive RHS Shows, and will return to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May 2016.

This year their exhibit will be a walk through display to encourage visitors to get up close and personal to the blooms and their scent.

It will be divided in two by a path, with one side showing taller plants and those which might have been popular 100 years ago, and the other side showing smaller plants more suitable for today's smaller gardens.

The display celebrates the centenary of the Rhododendron Society which later evolved into the RHS Rhododendron, Camellia and Magnolia Group (RCMG). The Rhododendron Society held its first AGM at Chelsea Flower Show in 1916 – 100 years ago. The Society was founded by four members, one being the naturalist J G Millais, the great uncle of David Millais, owner of Millais Nurseries and chairman of the committee of the current RCMG.

With the centenary approaching, in the past year the RCMG have surveyed their members and have produced a list of their members favourite Top 100 Rhododendrons. Millais Nurseries will be exhibiting as many of the large old plants as possible and comparing them to today's modern and more compact range. The member's number one plant will be announced and will have pride of place.

David Millais said: "We will endeavour to display the RCMG Top 10 Rhododendrons, but this will be subject to trying to make them flower at Chelsea time."

New varieties to be featured include:  

  • Deciduous Azalea 'Sun Star Glowing': salmon pink in bud, opening bright yellow, changing to soft orange, double fragrant flowers in late May. A choice new hybrid from Tijs Huisman in Holland. Height 150-175cm in 10 years.
  • Rhododendron 'Cherry Kiss': Exceptionally vibrant deep red in good flower trusses, flowering in mid May, with contrasting white anthers. A very tough plant from Hachmann's with lovely dark glossy foliage. Height 125-150cm in 10 years.
  • Rhododendron 'Goldinetta': A stunning new yellow from Hachmann's in Germany. Clear deep yellow flowers without any markings, flowering in May. A very tough plant, hardy in the UK. Height 150cm in 10 years.
  • Rhododendron 'Lupinenberg Laguna' (Bohlken's Lupinenberg Laguna): Purple buds open to deep mauve flowers with green yellow speckling, in late May. An excellent yakushimanum hybrid with the deepest mauve flowers. Bred in Northern Germany, and very hardy. Height 90cm in 10 years.
  • Rhododendron 'Metallica': Stunning deep violet flowers with a prominent blotch and speckling on the upper lobes. Late May and early June. A very hardy plant bred by Hachmann's in Northern Germany. Height 150-175cm in 10 years.
  • Rhododendron 'Prinses Maxima': Cream coloured double flowers, with prominent red spotting over all the lobes. Mid to late May flowering. A very hardy plant from Tijs Huisman, in Northern Holland and named after the Dutch Princess. Height 150-175cm in 10 years.
  • Rhododendron 'Snow Fire' (Bohlken's Snow Fire) A much admired new German variety. Pure white flowers with a prominent fiery redorange flare in the centre. Late May. Good compact habit with dark green foliage. Height 75-90cm height in 10 years.
  • Rhododendron 'Yellow Saucer Orange' red buds open to brilliant yellow flat faced flowers, with vivid red spotting on the upper lobe. Early May flowering, from a young age. A compact growing shrub, bred in America. Height 100-125cm in 10 years.

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