DROPPING BY at the excellent Bernaville Nursery on our way home from Exeter last week, I spotted some interesting plants in a “three for £10” tempter.
And, naturally, my temptation caved in!
One of my choices was a rhododendron called Molten Gold, widely regarded as one of the best – if not the best – variegated rhodo currently on the market.
My own plant is quite small, though even without its pinky-purple trumpets it still looks handsome in its striking foliage of dark green splashed with a cream-yellow flash.
I’m told it seldom reverts to solid green, as happens with many variegated plants, but I will still keep a watchful eye as it grows . . . just in case.
Molten Gold is hardy and evergreen and will demand a lime-free home like most rhodos and azaleas, though my soil does veer towards acid so no worries there.
But I had to smile when I checked a few facts online, not least the disparity in the plant’s colours which appeared to be deep purple according to plant firm Thompson & Morgan. Hardly molten gold!
My own label seems more accurate, describing the flowers as “soft pink” though, bizarrely, there’s no mention of the variegated foliage dividend in the write-up to back up the pretty picture on the label.
Molten Gold will eventually reach around 6-7ft high, flowers in May and June and will be happy in full sun or partial shade.
Whatever colour finally emerges, I shall be happy to strike gold early next summer and, hopefully, for a few years down the line . . . just like the gardener who discovered it for the first time on his Norfolk patch a few years ago and probably shouted “Eureka.”
⏩⏩➡» A rhododendron by any other colour? Top – as it appears on the label; above left – as it shows on the Thompson & Morgan website; above right – no doubt about its gorgeous variegated leaves.