Rhododendrons form an integral part of Benmore’s history. They were one of the main drivers for finding a West Coast garden, as the conditions and space at Inverleith were not suited to the numerous new species that were being bought back by Forrest, Wilson and Rock. Benmore offered the space needed and a mild climate, acidic soil and high rainfall that was favoured by the Rhododendrons.
The mature trees at Benmore provide cover and shade for many of the large leaved Rhododendrons in sub-sections Falconera and Grandia. Whilst in the more open areas specimens from other sub-sections including Triflora can be found.
Currently Benmore holds more than 3,000 plants of around 300 species of Rhododendrons, which in April and May provide a riot of colour and scent. The foliage and bark also continue to provide interest throughout the year. Many of these plants are those grown from seed in the 1920s and 1930s, the result of plant hunting expeditions. The space provided by the site at Benmore has allowed many of the Rhododendrons, to achieve a wild beauty which isn’t often seen in cultivation.
The collection is still being added to today, helping to build up a conservation collection throughout the gardens, including some species which are now very rare in the wild.