The Living Collection

Carefully collated. Expertly maintained.

Our plant database contains handwritten records that date back centuries, revealing that the first gardens were planted 300 years ago. This makes for an extensive living collection. Here are just some of the record-holding plants you can find.


Forever a talking point among visitors, the colours of our champion rhododendrons have peppered the landscape for years. The Rhododendron Arboreum alba is just over 10m high, and is believed to have been planted as far back as 1863. Hailing from India, Bhutan and China, the Snowy rhododendron is another highlight. Flowers bloom in a deep magenta, before eventually fading to a creamy white.

Other trees and shrubs

Flowering and evergreen. Towering and deciduous. The trees in our living collection are as diverse as they are majestic. The Nootka Cypress – an evergreen conifer standing at 34.8m high – is a must-see. As is the alluring Japanese Yew. Our shrub collection is equally fascinating, with several species endangered in their native countries flourishing here. If you’re visiting in the late autumn, don’t miss the vanilla-scented flowers of the Daisy Bush.

Plant of the week

Find out which plants have caught our gardener's eye each week.

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