Potential Value of Rudolph Henny's Hybrids In the Philadelphia Pa. Area
Raymond P. Jefferis, Jr., Media, Pa.
The winter of 1962-1963 brought such a combination of climatic extremes in this area that plants which survived these conditions can be said to have great promise for establishment in our landscape. The rhododendrons below, created and named by Rudolph Henny, survived without damage and without protection the prolonged cold, little snow, brilliant sunlight, and high winds of the past winter. To those who contemplate growing Mr. Henny's plants I offer a brief cultural note: In this climate and latitude his plants definitely prefer shade both in winter and in summer. Evergreen shade is best.
CAPTAIN JACK P. A. ('Mars' x R. eriogynum)
Mr. Henny said of this hybrid: "This is the finest red I have raised. You might call it a greatly improved 'Mars', with better color, bigger flowers, fine compact truss; wonderful foliage with big handsome leaves. It is very hardy." Rudolph, in my view, understated the beauty of 'Captain Jack' as a foliage plant: the whole effect of this plant is that of trying to show off its great beauty. The rather large leaves are moderately down-curving on the edges; there is a definite swayback to the leaves which gives the appearance that at about mid-point they could hold a small supply of water as in a pool-which in fact they do after a rain or watering.
LEONA P. A. ('Corona' x 'Dondis') Mr. Henny said of this hybrid: "A hardy shrub with fine very dark green foliage; the winters of 1950 and 1955 did not damage this plant; the truss is tall, well-filled and larger than a fine truss of Corona. Probably the finest pink I have yet raised." To me, the outstanding feature of this plant is the exotic pink color of its bloom.
LAST CHANCE P. A. ('Mars' x R. eriogynum)
Rudolph in a note to me said this was his largest red blooming hybrid. Out of the same seed pod as 'Captain Jack', it was the last to bloom. It has larger individual flowers than 'Captain Jack', and fewer to the truss. Leaves are smooth with a definite sheen. The rather sharp points to the leaves and the canal-like veining on the upper surfaces are noticeable features of its foliage. My plant has an open branching and symmetrical habit of growth. Like 'Captain Jack' it has moderately clown-curving leaf edges. The whole effect of this plant is that of grace and artistic development.
DR. ROSS (R. griersonianum x 'Borde Hill')
This plant won first place for the best American hybrid shown at the 1949 A.R.S. Rhododendron Show. Mr. Henny said of this plant: "A hardy plant with fine, rather narrow foliage of good habit that requires some shade." It has a light red, large bloom. My plant is rather small, but hardy. It did not set buds this year. The shiny, narrow foliage reminds me of Margaret Dunn var. 'Golden Belle.'
WHIMSEY (R. souliei x 'Bowbells') This plant grows well in the most exposed part of the rock garden. It has large pink flowers on a medium size plant. This plant has not yet set buds; perhaps it is too shaded.
FINCH Mr. Henny made a brief comment to me, "A form of R. desquamatum that is superior in size and color. One of my selections." Deep mauve.
PURPLE FAKE: Growing well here are rhododendron varieties 'Finch' and 'Purple Fake'. 'Finch' should be in every grower's collection for its bronze foliage alone. On these plants: Mr. Henny made a brief comment to me, "A form of R. pseudoyanthinum. One of my selections. Larger flowers of almost red wine color."