Proposals of the Ratings Committee
A meeting of the A.R.S. Ratings Committee was held recently to discuss the handling of several features of the rhododendron and azalea list in the forthcoming book. Where the proposed procedure differs widely from that used in the previous books, it was felt that the proposals should be brought before the Board of Directors for their approval. The following items include the more important proposals with a brief discussion of the reasons for the suggested changes.
Instead of actual height in feet at ten years of age, use four size groups, dwarf (D), semi-dwarf (SD), medium (M), and tall (T). A key may be required to give a size range for each classification. The dwarf classification would include all those plants growing to a maximum of 15 inches or less at ten years.
Since the commonly used H number to denote hardiness requires the use of a separate key, the Committee proposes to use H followed by the minimum temperature in degrees Fahrenheit. In this manner, H-5 becomes H+15, etc. This would require no separate code or key, although one might be needed to show the relationship between the proposed and the present systems.
Plant quality will be indicated, as was done in "Rhododendrons For Your Garden," by the use of two numbers, for example 3/4. However, where previously only 1 to 4 were used to indicate flower quality and plant quality, five numerals, 1 to 5. are suggested. The use of five numerals allows 3 to indicate plants which might be termed average in flower or habit. Actually, the previous ratings used numerals 0 to 4, although few plants or flowers were assigned the 0 rating.
Varieties that are propagated as clones would be rated for hardiness and quality in the above manner. However, where varieties are known to be distributed as groups rather than clones, quality and hardiness ratings would be assigned using a suitable range. There would be only a limited number of these.
These would appear in alphabetical order in the general list of varieties. The hybridizers, awards if any, and other available information would be included.
Flower and Plant Description
This would involve a short paragraph containing information on parentage, hybridizer, awards if any, general plant habit, resistance to sun, truss type, flower shape, fragrance if any, and a suitable, adequate color description, etc. This would require considerably more space than was used in the last hook.
Species and Azaleas
While most of the foregoing has been aimed at the hybrids, much the same would apply to the sections on species and azaleas. Where suitable, the same format would be used. The description of the species, for example, would include named clones and unnamed, but selected forms. There would be cross references in order that information on named clones such as 'Finch' and 'Warpaint' could be included.
It is proposed to follow a form similar to that used by the R. H. S. in "The Rhododendron Handbook, Part L" The name of the entry would be at the left margin and under this would be hardiness and quality ratings, and other suitable information. To the right of the entry would be the short paragraph giving parentage, hybridizer and general description.
Suggestions as to these proposals or other changes would be welcomed by the committee.
The Ratings Committee:
Merle Cisney, Chairman
Art Wright Sr.