Rhododendron augustinii - Not Quite True BlueThursday, March 26, 2015
|Rhododendron augustinii 'Marion McDonnell'|
Garden purists, sometimes called snobs consider that the only colours in a garden should be white or blue. My wife Rosemary was one of those. At one time anything red, orange or yellow was banned from our communal battle-ground garden. Two roses softened her up. One was the very orange Rosa ‘Westerland’ and the yellow single tea rose (single tea roses are snobbish) Rosa ‘Mrs.Oakley Fisher’.
But remnants for that desire for blue still remain with her. Anybody with a basic knowledge of gardening would know that plants with blue flowers are in short supply. This is why we have aconitums and the difficult to grow Meconopsis betonicifolia and delphiniums which need full sun. Full sun is just about disappeared in our garden because our neighbour’s (they rent) encroaching large trees.
There are no rhododendrons that are blue. The closest is Rhododenron augustinii. We have two in our garden that are a variety grown by our friend Alleyne Cook. It is Rhododendron augustinii ‘Marion McDonnell’. McDonnell who died quite a few years ago was also our friend and she grew (to perfection) the famous blue poppy Meconopsis betonicifolia and Meconopsis grandis.
Cooke selected the bluest (or closest to blue) augustinii he could find and renamed it after our famous Vancouver Blue Poppy Lady.