This stunning tree has defied one of Britain’s harshest winters on record and produced its first ever flowers – in 24 YEARS.
The magnificent rhododendron macabeanum was planted as a sapling in 1986 by gardener Ray Brown. Ray, of Newton Abbott, Devon, tended the tree for the next two decades but it failed to flower.
But this year the 10ft tree has produced beautiful white and yellow blooms – despite enduring the UK’s winter freeze.
Ray, who planted three tree at his Plant World garden centre, says it was well worth the wait. He said: ”No blooms appeared for so long that at one stage I thought about chopping it down – but I’m glad I didn’t.
”What a surprise we had this spring. After the worst winter in memory, to see all the absolutely enormous buds swelling all over it is fantastic.
”The enormous, leathery leaves are the largest of any rhododendron in the world. Finally after 24 years it is performing its full splendour.”
The plants come from north-east India and in the wild can live for hundreds of years and grown up to 50ft tall.