Photographic Print. Pink Rhododendron blossoms in Portmeirion woods where they are allowed to flourish.
Rhododendron Ponticum is the only variety which causes problems but I believe landscapers often get rid of all Rhododendrons, as they prefer a wood to be a sparsity of trees rather than a wood. A wonderful example of how this varierty has been replaced is at Portmeirion Woods. Robin Llywelyn explained to me, "Gwylit woods had become choked with them, they turn the soil acidic and no wildlife inhabits ponticum woods and they were finally eradicated in the 1980s. The Victorian Rhodedendrons and other exotic trees have flourished since then, we have re-planted some that were close to dying out and the collection is now back to full strength." There are 70 acres filled with a mesh of pathways winding from landscaped areas into areas of dense lush woodland with trees allowed to arch beautifully over where you walk. The Gwyllt wild gardens were largely developed by Caton Haig who collected all the originals during his travels in the Himalayas around 1900. He was given a merit by the Royal Horticultural Society for his unique hybrid Rhododendron bred in Portmeirion, 'Gwyllt King' c. 1938 with intense red blossoms. Species include Pines, Hollies, Cherry Laurels, Rhododendrons, tall Conifers and the exotic Monkey Puzzles, Maidenhair trees, Gingko biloba, the huge leaves of the Gunnera Manicata from the Brazilian rainforest, Camelias and Magnolia campbellii with its huge light pink flowers and Chilean Maytenus boaria, reputedly the largest in this country.
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