Last updated: 12 November 2017

Address and contact details
Rhu, Helensburgh, Argyll and Bute, G84 8LL, UK.
Tel: 01436 820493
Web site:
Latitude: 56,0165
Longitude: -4,77071
Background to the collection
Ownership:Michael and Sue Thornley
Umbrella organisation:Glorious Gardens of Argyll and Bute (principally marketting and information sharing)
Total Horticultural Staff:Trainee student gardener 1 day per week
Accessions:Mostly obtained as plants from nurseries or grown from seed from exchanges (i.e. Magnolia Society International)
Collections:Maintain and develop existing collections
Physical environment
Altitude:50m above sea level
Soil type:Acid
Total area:15 acres
Weather recordsY
Absolute maximum:+26 Centigrade maximum in last 10 years
Absolute minimum:-3 Centigrade minimum in last 10 years
Strength:Up to Gale Force (Severe to Storm Force from NW)
Average annual:74 inches (last 10 year average)
Month of maximum:December
Month of minimum:April
Plant collection
Genera:Rhododendron (main, recorded collection: under review)
Taxa:555 (inc 210 hybrids)
Accessions:Historically often more than one
Plants:Historicallly often in multiples
Notable plants within the collection:
Rhododendron falconeri: said to be from Joseph Hooker 1849-50 expedition to Sikkim (and Magnolia rostrata: one of 5 UK champion trees in garden)
Geographical area(s) of specialisation:
Eastern Asia and southern hemisphere temperate areas
Special families within the collections:
Ericaceae, Magnoliaceae, Eucryphiaceae, Amaryllidaceae
Special genera within the collections:
Rhododendron, Magolia, Eucryphia, Narcissus
Special collections:
ICCP ( 1no. taxon. unless stated) Chamaecyparis formosensis 19934377M Pilgerodendron uviferum 19922572 EP and EQ., 2 no. Pinus morrisonicola 19934375AC Pinus armandii var mastersiana 1993975 ETE 71 Podocarpus salignus 19921592 C and F, 2 no. Taiwania cryptomerioides 19934154J Cunninghamia kowishii 1993152F
Rhododendrons from Ludlow and Sherriff collected seed direct to garden including R. lindleyii L&S 6562 R. baileyii L&S 3020 R.viscidifolium L&S3750
Record Keeping:Yes
Record System:Manual
Plant-collecting trips:No
Facilities on site
Library:Personal horticultural library
Research facilities:No
Publications:Contribute articles to horticulutural publications
Teaching and Education:Trainee horticultural students (part time employment) plus informal and local initiatives
Interpretation:Garden leaflet with different theme annually Guided walks on themes (for instance “Red Book Rhododendrons”)
Friends Organisation:No
Visitor facilities:Small bought -in plants on sale Occasional plant sales of plants propogated in garden
Access to the collections
Access conditions:Open under Scotland's Gardens: from 21 March to 21 September, and by arrangement outwith these months.
Public access:Open Dawn to dusk from 21 March to 21 September. Entrance fee: Currently £4.00 (£5.00 from 2017)
Public opening hours:See above
Guiding principles behind the collection
Maintain and develop the collections of plants within the garden while at the same time conserving the historic framework and its sense of place.
Location map
Location map

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