Three groups of plants – one group of enthusiasts worldwide
Welcome to the Rhododendron, Camellia and Magnolia Group’s Outstanding Gardens. This scheme furthers the goals of the RCMG by recognising public gardens that hold magnificent, well maintained collections of Rhododendrons and Magnolias. This will help prospective visitors, whether interested amateurs or professional, to find gardens they will enjoy. The scheme also provides additional publicity for the gardens, with opportunities for networking and collaborating.
It may seem odd that the Rhododendron, Camellia and Magnolia Group only covers Rhododendron and Magnolia gardens in its Outstanding Garden scheme. The reason is that the International Camellia Society (ICS) already has a very successful Camellia Gardens of Excellence programme, which was started in the late 1990s and now boasts almost 50 gardens. Jennifer Trehane an ICS Regional Director and RCMG member suggested that the RCMG should have a similar scheme, and so the RCMG Outstanding Garden Scheme was born, closely modelled after the ICS Gardens of Excellence programme (with permission).
Initially the scheme applies to gardens in the UK only, and any UK garden is welcome to apply. To receive the award, gardens must meet a set of challenging criteria, which have been agreed by the Plant Committee. Gardens may apply for either Outstanding Rhododendron Garden, or Outstanding Magnolia Garden, or both. To apply, they create a dossier that describes in detail how they meet the criteria, which they then send to the Outstanding Garden Coordinator. The application is assessed by the Plant Committee, including a visit to the garden.
The RCMG Outstanding Rhododendron Garden and Outstanding Magnolia Garden awards are valid for ten years, after which gardens must reapply in the same way as for the original award. Those gardens with the award are listed on the RCMG website, along with an overview of the garden and contact details. Those gardens which are well on their way to meeting the criteria, but not quite there yet will also receive a mention.
As the scheme is new there are not yet any gardens with the award, but applications are warmly invited from interested gardens.
Guide for Applicants
Criteria for an RCMG Outstanding Garden
Procedure for applying for RCMG Outstanding Garden status