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Rhododendron caucasicum

The next rhododendron to be introduced to the British Isles again demonstrates their international background. High up in the Caucasus mountains Rhododendron caucasicum grows as a scrub plant, with flowers varying from pale cream and almost yellow to quite deep pink. It was first received in this country at Kew Gardens by Sir Joseph Banks as a gift from the Russian collector Count Puschkin in 1803.

The German nurseryman Conrad Loddiges of Hackney received some seeds of this plant about the same time from the Botanic Garden in St Petersburg. This species has many advantages. It is a low compact grower, which makes it more suitable for the gardens of today than for those of the time when it was introduced, and it also has the advantage of producing its flowers over a long period. This means that if one crop should be caught by a spring frost - and it is early flowering, coming out about the same time as the daffodils - there will be other buds which will develop unharmed.

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