The Rhododendron Camellia and Magnolia Group held an amazing event at the centre of RHS Wisley Garden on the weekend of May 7th & 8th 2016. Launching the main Centenary Celebration, the show and Centenary Cup Competition were really popular with the visiting public and will have helped to reinforce the positive impression of rhododendrons recently presented by the media.
The Competition was deliberately arranged to be simple and fun, having just five classes. Over 200 entries were staged and the winner of each class was put forward to challenge for the Centenary Cup, a brand new award introduced especially for this event. Of the five contenders: Rhododendron kesangiae (best species), Rhododendron 'White Glory' (best hybrid), Rhododendron lindleyi (best tender rhododendron), Rhododendron schlippenbachii (best deciduous azalea) and Rhododendron 'Caerhays Lavender'(best evergreen azalea), the R. schlippenbachii exhibited by the Crown Estate, Windsor Great Park, was the unanimous choice of the judges and was awarded the Centenary Cup.
Throughout the two days of the show the public were invited to make their first choice from these five by taking part in a secret vote. Endorsing the judges' decision, the clear winner was also the Rhododendron schlippenbachii. How fortunate that this rhododendron (deciduous species azalea) is easy to grow and very agreeable in the garden all year round with lovely autumn colour being a bonus. Lucky too, that it is available in commerce, at least from the main rhododendron suppliers and is very easy to raise from seed. Not surprising either, that this rhododendron is also highly valued by our members, coming in at No 12 in the Top 100 list of our favourites.