Rhododendrons, Warwick Castle
Tags: Asia, castle, Castles, cattle, curtain wall, Derbyshire, ecological damage, ecological disaster, England, garden, gardens, insect life, invasive species, Mediterranean countries, no natural predators, peonies, plant collectors, R. ponticum, rhododedendron, Rhododenron ponticum, seeds, sheep, sloping garden, splash of colour, steeply sloping garden, toxic to sheep, UK countryside, Victorian, Victorian plant collectors, Warwick, Warwick Castle
The Castle Gardens at Warwick Castle in England are a semi-wild riot. Here we can see a profusion of rhododendron bushes, along with peonies. The steeply sloping garden huddles underneath the curtain wall of the castle, and makes a splash of colour.
Rhododendrons were brought to Britain by Victorian plant collectors. They are native to some Mediterranean countries and in Asia. Unfortunately, the introduction of one species, Rhododenron ponticum, has proved to be an ecological disaster. In my native Derbyshire, for example, large areas have been subject to invasive growth, and since there are no natural predators, and the plant is toxic to sheep, cattle and most insect life, it has to be physically dug out – a difficult task. Not only that, but the leaf and soil litter underneath the bushes (which can grow 20 feet high, or more) needs to be removed, as it remains toxic, and will contain seeds. All in all, the rhododendron (especially R. ponticum) was a bad choice, and it has done immense damage to the UK countryside.