The Rhododendron Society was the forerunner of the Rhododendron, Camellia and Magnolia Group. Formed in 1915 by Charles Eley, J G Millais and PD Williams, one of the conditions of membership was the requirement to contribute occasional notes about the burgeoning number of new species of rhododendrons and the developing skills required to grow them successfully. These offerings were collated and published in fifteen parts – three volumes of five parts each – between 1917 and 1931.
Only published for the Society’s limited membership, original copies are scarce and expensive but they contain much of interest for current growers and students of rhododendron history alike. Fortunately, this continuing value was recognised in 1976 by the Pacific Rhododendron Society, based in Tacoma, Washington, USA, which produced a facsimile copy of each part.
The Group has been given permission to scan and publish the facsimile edition online by Fred Whitney – the last remaining officer of the Pacific Rhododendron Society. Without this it is unlikely that the project would have come to fruition as the inevitable damage to original bound copies in the scanning process would have been unthinkable.
Until now these works have only been accessible to the lucky few; the various permissions that the Group has received make this online publication freely available to all.