'Saffron Queen' is my favourite of the smaller yellow rhododendrons, a
beautifully soft colour for mid-spring. It is not one of the hardiest
rhodos, though, being a hybrid between two tender Burmese species. For
several years, I cautiously grew it in a pot in the cool greenhouse until
eventually, it got too big, and I was forced to decant it into a part-shaded
border. Three years on, it is still doing fine. There are nice groups of it
in the woods at Portmeirion (see Garden of the Moment), where its slightly
leggy habit is not so noticeable.
According to Peter and Kenneth Cox's books, it does well in parts of
California and Australia, too, being fairly drought tolerant. The Cox
rhododendron nursery in Scotland, www.glendoick.com, is one of the world's
best. The family are intrepid plant hunters, and their ravine garden is full
of the spoils of their seed collections.