A Note From Japan
The name, K. Wada, is well known to Azalea connoisseurs who will recall it in connection with the introduction of various Japanese varieties.
Mr. Wada, at least partly through the efforts of Ben Lancaster of Camas, Wash., has recently joined the American Rhododendron Society. With his application came two pictures, with the following explanation.
Rhododendron metternichii, Aff. Dwarf Form. Before the war we tried to aggregate many plants of all species and geographical forms of Rhododendrons from every corner of Japan, to find best clones. The F.C.C. form of R. yakushimanum was one of these gatherings. The Rhododendron on this photo is outstanding in blooming very early in the spring before Azalea Kurume with very large seven to ten lobed flowers, waxy and jewel-like, bright carmine in buds and opening paler. The leaves are leathery, glossy green and stay on the twigs for four years, thus making the plant very ornamental even without flowers, characteristics seen in other Japanese species. In fact, it was so beautiful that it even shadowed the F.C.C. form of R. yakushimanum which has since created the sensation when introduced to England. We are quite sure it will create more sensation when it is introduced. It is a most valuable species to breed early hybrids. R. metternichii proper blooms one month later in the season and less beautiful. There are many geographical forms among metternichii, say, more than ten forms. This is without question the finest.
Fig. 17. A dwarf selected form of R. metternichii
Hakoneya Nurseries Photo
Fig. 18. Hybrids of R. tashiroi from the breeding of K. Wada,
Hakoneya Nurseries Photo
Azalea tashiroi, Wada hybrids. Azalea* tashiroi is the only species of the Tashiroi subseries and has beautiful dark evergreen coriaceous leaves arranged on the twigs as in Azalea reticulatum. It is very much heat-resistant and grows luxuriously in hot summer climates without enough humidity. It is more twiggy than reticulatum and as floriferous but has smaller flowers.
We crossed this species with Azalea shikokianum (a hardier dwarf relative of Azalea weyrichii with flowers of the same orange red colour) and could obtain glorious deciduous Azalea hybrids which grow quickly as tall as 8 to 10 feet high wreathed with a mass of deep rose large flowers in May. A splendid Azalea to plant as a tall specimen and as a tall background. We have also hybrids between Tashiroi and reticulatum roseum.
*R. tashiroi according to our present usage. -- Ed.