After the snow, there is the promise of colour to come. In the rock garden are specimens of a naturally occurring hybrid Rhododendron; Rhododendron charitopes ssp. tsangpoense x campylogynum. Introduced from SW China by Frank Kingdon Ward where it grows amongst many other Rhododendron species on the sheltered flank of a valley at c. 3600 – 3900m.
The image shows the silver bud scales which protect the embryo flower bud. As these develop they colour shades of mauve/purple. These plants rely on a regular supply of water to thrive and appreciate the benefits of a sheltered situation. After rain the evergreen foliage releases an aromatic scent.
The magnified image clearly shows the immature flower parts. The anthers are tightly packed together and it appears some have suffered frost damage depicted by the area of browning.