Annette Treble – Minute Secretary

My small west coast of Scotland garden, is on a northeast facing hillside that is in the shadow of the hill during December and January. Spruce trees had been planted in 1920s to shelter the garden from the strong winds that funnel out of the loch valley but have had to be felled because of the damage caused to surrounding boundary walls. Despite the challenges of the conditions I am slowly managing to create a colourful garden. Being very acidic I am privileged to be able to plant the many beautiful ericaceous shrubs. I inherited three rhododendrons. A red R. ‘Nobleanum’ providing lovely colour outside the window during the winter, the sweet strong smelling R. luteum that fills the garden in spring with its fragrance and a R. x ‘Obtusum Amoenum’ coccineum. I then bought a few hybrids such as R. ‘Fantastica’ but at that time did not want too many rhododendrons because I thought for the majority of the time all you have is boring green leaves. How wrong could I be.

Tours of the great rhododendron gardens such as Glendoick showed me variety in size, flower and leaf. Then the collection began. It was whilst on a visit and tour with David Chamberlain of the Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh during the rhododendron festival that I heard of the Rhododendron Show at Garelochhead. That was it. Hooked. I now have a small collection of rhododendrons species and hybrids that bloom from November through to September and when not in bloom some have interesting leaves. I have also invested in some for posterity so unfortunately I may not see them bloom.

Joining the rhododendron society has given me the opportunity to learn so much about the plants from all angles including the educational day on propagation. I’ve visited private gardens on tours, had the opportunity to buy both unusual rhododendron plants and companion plants at very little cost and be part of conferences covering a wide range of subjects from plant explorers, garden stories, varieties of magnolias (note not always about rhododendrons) and managing large gardens. Always there is a social aspect to the society and the opportunity to share experiences and gain advice.

So now that some of the long standing committee members would like a break I have volunteered to take on the task of minute secretary to contribute to the running of the society. I hope that I will be able to do as good a job as the previous minute secretary.