These were first planted in the woodland from the middle of the 19th Century when the range of plants available was hugely boosted by the exploration of areas in the Sino-Himalaya zones. There are still survivors from this period which have now reached a massive size. These first species mainly descended from original introductions from Sikkim by Joseph Hooker and were spread around many Cornish gardens. Rh. grande, arboreum, falconeri, hookeri and barbatum all survive from this planting time.
These massive spring flowering survivors provide the main riot of colour in the spring and early summer. They provide a spectacle that is rare to see outside their native habitats in South East Asia, and only a few climatic zones in the world are suitable for generating such a display.
This original 19th Century collection was added to in large measure by Rupert Carlyon in the 1930's and also by Tom Hudson over the last 25 years. Species make up the bulk of those planted and many are of a tender nature originating from the series Maddenia, Irrorata, Grandia, Falconera and Fortunea in particular. Most of these have been grown from wild seed in the nursery and often planted in small groups to aid conservation value and to make a bigger impact in the garden.