Sunday 8 April 2012

Meet the Rhodo Guys Of Glendoick

The story of the Cox family would make great reality T.V. Three generations of adventurers headed into uncharted territory in India, China and later Vietnam, gathering plants for the collection on their Scottish estate.
Glendoick House
Following service in WW1 Euan Cox was a disillusioned young man frittering away his time at society parties and trying to avoid returning to his wealthy family’s business. By chance, in 1918, he met Reginald Farrer, one of Britain’s most famous plant hunters and garden writers, who invited him to join his next expedition to Burma. Unfortunately, Farrer died in Burma in October 1920 leaving Euan to manage their collection including several new rhododendron plants. Required to apply himself to serious study it was to define his true passion. 

Glendoick the family estate in Scotland became the repository of many of the seedlings and Euan went on to become a well respected writer and magazine editor. 
Glendoick Garden
Although Euan never went on another expedition his son Peter embraced the adventurers’ life. Together father and son established a nursery at Glendoick in 1953 and then Peter was off to China, Turkey, India, Armenia and Tibet over the course of 47 years and 23 expeditions.

R. huianum from Cox collection
Peter’s son Kenneth Cox is the third generation to go plant hunting, most recently to Vietnam.. For the previous 3 years Kenneth explored one of the least known and most impenetrable parts of the Himalaya, where most of the mountain ranges are virgin plant-hunting territory. He is often called the “Scottish Indiana Jones”. 

R. ochraceum from Cox collection
Glendoick itself has flourished under the care of the Cox family, benefiting from the various expeditions. It is now recognized as a world class centre for rhododendrons.

Glendoick Garden
I cannot do justice to the adventurous lives of the Cox family or the scope of Glendoick.
For more info visit the website and read the books they have authored.


  1. Plant hunting sounds so romantic, and exotic. I have read books on the rose hunters. I think I would like the books on this family. Thanks for letting us know about this interesting family.

  2. I'd like to get the inside scoop from their wives.

  3. Interesting post about the Glendoick family, their plant hunting adventures and their garden. The rhododendrons are looking wonderful! Would love to see this gardens in person!

    1. I love visiting gardens. Tend to forget the time though, which tries the patience of my family.