by Rudolph Henny
R. 'Bowbells' as it appears on the coyer of the Quarterly Bulletin illustrates the growth habit and free flowering aspect of a plant over twenty-five years old. This plant now seven feet tall and over seven feet across has many of the good qualities sought by gardeners. It has excellent foliage and habit, is free flowering, reasonably hardy, and lacks only fragrance. An added attraction though is the new growth which is a colorful deep copper color. R. 'Bowbells' is a hybrid of R. 'Corona' x williamsianum, but the plant has all the characteristics of an outstanding species. R. 'Bowbells' is best grown in partial shade and unlike some other R. williamsianum hybrids one should not attempt to grow it in full sun. On several occasions I have seen plants in this unhappy situation here with their burned thin and undersized foliage they presented an almost miserable appearance. Occasionally I have heard reports that further south in the very hot seasons R. 'Bowbells' is not quite happy even with a shade canopy, though I remember seeing a fine specimen in Oakland several years back. The same holds on the east coast where I saw a few plants that were potted and moved during the hot and cold season. The flowering rhododendron in the lower right foreground is R. orbiculare, a slow growing species that is also slow to flower. Though neat in habit and foliage and fine in bloom I would have to rate it just under R. williamsianum but it is an excellent companion plant to set with the above. The transparency was loaned to the society by the editor.