Birthday for Blue Mountains Rhododendron Society

Celebration: Blue Mountains Rhododendron Society's 3rd president, Ivan Menzies, and  current president, Alan Lush, cut the cake.
Celebration: Blue Mountains Rhododendron Society's 3rd president, Ivan Menzies, and current president, Alan Lush, cut the cake.

The Blue Mountains Rhododendron Society celebrated its 50th birthday on Saturday, with cake and champagne in the Lodge at the Rhodo Gardens in Blackheath.

It was April 1969 when a group of local nurserymen gathered to find a way to celebrate the rhododendrons of the Upper Mountains.

They eventually got the use of 18.5 hectares of Crown land in Blackheath and, within a year, the Campbell Rhododendron Gardens was established. It was named after two of the driving forces behind the gardens, Norm and Olive Campbell.

A team of volunteers planted hundreds of exotics - rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias, viburnums, flowering cherries, maples and other deciduous trees - under the native bush canopy.

At Saturday's party, the society's third president, Ivan Menzies, was given life membership of the society by the 20th - and current - president, Alan Lush.

And a book featuring photos of the gardens taken by David Cook and Jimmy Lim was launched. 

The actual gardens will turn 50 next year.