In Madison, at the Eastern edge of Lake County, is the David G. Leach Rhododendron Research Station. Bought by noted rhododendron hybridizer David Leach in 1970, it has been a part of the Holden Arboretum since he donated it in 1987. This 30 acre parcel is located in a stretch of NE Ohio that’s just perfect for growing rhododendrons.
The guide told the group that it takes 25 years for a plant to go from germination to possibly retail. Leach was able to put 80 of his hybrids on the market, all of which are planted on these grounds. Along with the display gardens there are test fields and greenhouses where seedlings and larger plants are checked to see which ones have the desirable qualities needed for a plant in today’s home garden. Steve Krebs, who has been director since Mr. Leach’s death in 1998, has continued with his small team this work. While Leach focused on plant hardiness, Krebs is working on plants that would be resistant to fungal root rot based on a species plant found in Taiwan.
Admission is $10 per person to see the grounds but for Holden members it’s free. The tours are conducted at set times.
Photographs by James Valentino