'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.

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