Monday, August 26, 2013

A Hogsback Garden Legend

The above flower is that of the Rhododendron Lindleyi, native to Nepal and Bhutan. Hogsback legend tells the story that siblings John Nicholls, Rae Nicholls and Nora Bergers ( Nee' Nicholls) were each given 2 of these beautiful plants. They were then told that they only flowered every 7 years. John, who created the garden "Hurry " , promptly pulled his 2 specimens out, saying he was not prepared to wait that long ! Those who knew John, would know that this is entirely plausible. John was a magnificent gardener but expected all his favourite species to earn their keep. That left 4 specimens at Hogsback. To my knowledge 2 of those have each flowered once in the last 10 years. Funny thing is that no mention is made of this unusual flowering pattern in references or accounts of its cultivation. It is regarded by some Rhododendron collectors to be one of the "top four " species and also has a strong scent. 

Another floral jewel of Hogsback

The pic above is a close up of the exquisite flower of the Kalmia Latifolia or Mountain Laurel, a shrub from North America which is found in many Hogsback gardens. Many gardeners have tried to grow it elsewhere in SA with limited success - seems to be one of the many species that does not want to live anywhere else but Hogsback !