University of Exeter
Falmouth University College

Nurturing our historic plant collection

30 January 2013

Rhododendron Shilsonii is not only one of the earliest to flower in the year, but it is also the first rhododendron hybrid to have been developed at the Tremough estate.

In the mid-1800s, species of rhododendron were sent back from the Himalayas by Victorian plant hunters.

These rhododendrons thrived in the Cornish climate and Head Gardener, Richard Gill led the world in hybridising these rhododendrons once they had matured.

In the late 1800s, the first Gill hybrid was registered – R. Shilsonii.  This was named after Mr Henry Shilson who owned Tremough House at the time.

We are fortunate to have hundreds of rhododendrons at the Tremough/Cornwall Campus.  Some plants from those Himalayan originals still remain and others are hybrids created by Richard Gill more than 100 years ago.

Rhododendron Shilsonii is situated below the Peter Lanyon building, just to the right of the red brick footpath that leads down to the old drive.

Our gardeners not only nurture these special plants but also know their stuff!

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