Historical Notes About Two International Rhododendron Conference Speakers
Fig. 19. Dr. J. S. Yeates Fig. 20. Herman Grootendorst
Only a few weeks remain before the opening of the International Rhododendron Conference in Portland, Oregon on May 11. Much interest centers around the Conference speakers coming from overseas. Background sketches are presented here on two more of these speakers, Dr. Yeates and Dr. Grootendorst, with whose horticultural careers Americans may be less familiar than they are with the careers of their fellow Americans who are also speaking at the Conference. The fact, that the homes of Professor Yeates and Mr. Grootendorst are on opposite sides of the world, undoubtedly gives additional testimony to the wide appeal of the large and varied genus Rhododendron.
Dr. J. S. Yeates is a New Zealander by birth. He took first class honors and later a Ph.D. in botany at Victoria University, Wellington, specializing in plant cytology. Post-graduate scholarships from both the University of New Zealand and Trinity College, Cambridge, resulted in two years of additional research in plant cytology at Cambridge and the award of a Ph.D. there. (Fig. 19)
After a year back in New Zealand working on the selection and breeding of Phormium tenax ("New Zealand Flax") for the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Dr. Yeates was appointed in 1928 to take charge of the Agricultural Botany Department of Massey Agricultural College (University of New Zealand), a post which he still holds.
His Phormium research continued until 1938, when the time demands of his teaching forced him to discontinue further work in this field. Dr. Yeates helped to organize a new Horticultural Department in the College, and taught plant propagation and horticultural botany until a separate Horticultural Department was formed.
Between 1938 and 1942, Dr. Yeates wrote a sizable volume, "Farm Trees and Hedges," a third edition of which is now being prepared. With E. O. Campbell he also wrote "Agricultural Botany," now in its second edition.
Dr. Yeates was one of the foundation members of the New Zealand Rhododendron Association in 1944, and has been its Secretary-Treasurer since then. He has been active in the introduction, propagation and distribution of new rhododendron species and hybrids among the members, and in the breeding of deciduous (Ilam) azaleas, and evergreen rhododendrons. The evening of May 13 at the Conference, Dr. Yeates will speak on "Rhododendrons and Azaleas in New Zealand."
In his home garden, Dr. Yeates has been breeding Lilium hybrids for about 15 years, specializing in L. auratum x L. speciosum hybrids, and as part of his hobby runs a 2 or 3 acre lily nursery. His wife is interested in roses, and the varied horticultural interests of Dr. Yeates and his wife provide a wide range of subjects for his camera.
In 1957. Dr. Yeates was elected an Associate of Honour of the Royal New Zealand Intitute of Horticulture, which is the highest honor the Institute awards.
After graduating from the State Horticultural College at Boskoop in 1928, Herman J. Grootendorst studied for a short time at the Ecole National de Versailles (France) before going to London to enter business college. After completing his studies in England, he joined the family firm of F. J. Grootendorst and Sons, Export Nurseries at Boskoop, Holland. For many years before and after the war, Mr. Grootendorst has visited Canada and the United States on business traveling from coast to coast.
Before the war, Mr. Grootendorst was particularly interested in Conifers, specially their correct nomenclature. He assisted Murray Hornibrook in rewriting his book "Dwarf and Slow Growing Conifers" (1938).
During the war years, being confined to Holland, Mr. Grootendorst became interested in the present day rhododendron and azalea hybrids, a very large collection of which was planted at the trial garden in Boskoop.
As President of the "Boskoop Growers Association," Mr. Grootendorst made up the evaluation reports on these garden hybrids. After much research in the make-up of the older and present day hybrids, he wrote a handbook, "Rhododendrons and Azaleas" (1954), in which 400 Rhododendron "garden hybrids" and 600 azalea hybrids are described and rated as to value and hardiness. The afternoon session of the International Rhododendron Conference May 12, Mr. Grootendorst will speak on "Rhododendron and Azalea Hybrids in Holland."
Together with his brother F. J. Grootendorst II, Herman J. Grootendorst is running today the largest export nurseries at Boskoop, Holland, sending their plants all over the world.