Scottish rhododendron grower, hunter and breeder Peter Cox visited the garden of a neighbour and the world reknowned plant hunter George Sheriff when he arrived in Scotland in the 1950s with his collection of plants. Peter was so inspired by a yellow rhododendron he spotted that he was allowed to take pollen home to create hybrids. This started a long challenge to grow dwarf rhododendron suitable for today's smaller gardens and the tough Scottish climate.
The results were a series of new hybrids named after birds and among those, in my opinion, are 2 of the best dwarf rhododendrons ever.
The first, Razorbill, is a beautiful, unusual hybrid with lovely, tubular, bubblegum pink flowers on an open attractive plant showing its stems leaves buds and flowers. For small gardens it is just perfect with really attractive foliage.
Amazingly Razorbill was a chance seedling that Peter spotted in a pan of seedlings. How it got there and what its parents were we will never know but the plant hunter's eye in Peter saw the rogue seedling and wanted to know what it was and grew it on. It is rated one of the best of all the dwarfs he raised!
Snipe is the second and has silky looking, light pinky lilac flowers. The foliage is somewhat like box and it makes a superb replacement where box doesnt grow well with the added drama of flowers.
These two hybrids are both fabulous in pots but also add some structure to rockeries giving height among all your other treasures. They love a semi shady position with some shade from the hottest sun of the day. In winter just make sure the soil is well drained and if in pots they can be moved nearer the house to keep off some of the winter wet.