Bussey Brook, summer, Rhododendron Dell, ca. 1993
Alternate Title: Stony bed of Bussey Brook in Rhododendron Dell
Photograph by Anton Maria Grassl
Bussey Brook, Arnold Arboretum, Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, United States
A larger version of this image is available in HOLLIS, the online catalog of Harvard Library.
Rhododendron Dell is a contemplative landscape showcasing the Arboretum’s core collection of hybrid and evergreen rhododendrons. An overstory of hemlock, birch, oak, maple, and pine provide ideal rhododendron habitat. In the early 1900s, Ernest Henry Wilson evaluated many of the rhododendrons in the collection and in 1917 published a list of “ironclads”—a group of hybrid rhododendrons that had proved hardy and floriferous at the Arnold Arboretum. Bred in the United Kingdom, these ironclads became the focus of regional plant introduction and breeding endeavors in New England. Many of the original ironclads, acquired in 1886 from the Woking Nursery in England, are the largest plants in the collection.
Today, rhododendron collections in Rhododendron Dell include 238 plants representing 108 taxa (kinds). Of these, 80 are cultivars which have been selected for horticultural merits including flower color and fragrance, truss (domed flower mass) size, leaf morphology, and hardiness.
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