The plants of Rhododendron lanigerum originally collected by Kingdon Ward during his travels in south western China are starting to flower. Just as attractive when in tight bud as when the petals unfurl and the intense rose red colour shows. The contrast of these terminal buds emerging red against the brown sheaths with folded leaf petioles covered in white indumentum is to be appreciated. The enclosed bud gives protection on a frosty night. Once colour shows these petals are vulnerable to frost damage as early sun warms the surface of the plant following sub-zero overnight temperature.