Rhododendron dauricum 'Hemelrijk'
In 1994, Philippe de Spoelberch took cuttings of a Rhododendron dauricum in Hemelrijk, the estate of the late Jelena and Robert de Belder, founders of Arboretum Kalmthout and the International Dendrological Society (IDS). Only one of the cuttings succeeded and since 1997 it has been flowering every year in Herkenrode from mid-January to the beginning of February. It flowers abundantly with beautiful reddish-purple funnel-shaped flowers, hanging together in clusters from 1 to 5. Depending on the winter temperatures, this plant will keep most of its leathery scaly leaves during the entire year. The oval to elliptic entire leaves have a rounded to slightly notched apex. In 20 years’ time, the shrub reached 2m high and became just as wide.