Our Growing Seed Program
Esther Berry, Aberdeen, Wash.
This year we have distributed seed collected in Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, England, Japan, Malaysia, and all parts of the United States. We have also sent seed to Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. Here, at home, the response has been even more enthusiastic than last year. We have sent over 2500 packets of seed to 227 applicants for a total income of $874.36.
The greatest demand was for species seed, the total number of requests, including both open pollinated and hand pollinated seed, was roughly three times the number of requests for the hand pollinated hybrid crosses. It is interesting to note that the 50¢ seed averaged more than twice the number of requests per item as did the 25 cents seed.
The species seed requested most frequently were: yakushimanum, makinoi, schlippenbachii (Birch form), metternichii, hemsleyanum, keiskei (dwarf form), cumberlandense, catawbiense var. album 'La Bar's white' X catawbiense var. album 'Catalgla', chrysanthum, catawbiense var. rubrum G#3 X catawbiense var. rubrum G#1, bakeri, maximum var. leachii, pentaphyllum, prunifolium and quinquefolium. We had adequate supplies of schlippenbachii (Birch form), hemsleyanum, pentaphyllum, chrysanthum and the catawbiense crosses but we were able to fill only a fraction of the requests for the others.
Although demand for seed of the hand pollinated hybrid crosses was relatively smaller, there was a large increase over last year. We had very small quantities of many of the items on this list, so the shortages were proportionately greater. This was especially true of the yakushimanum crosses. Each applicant was permitted only two packets of these but even so supplies were still inadequate. Most popular items other than the yakushimanum crosses were: catawbiense var. album 'Catalgla' 4164, catawbiense var. album X 'Naomi', 'La Bar's White' X williamsianum, 'Mrs. Furnival' X 'Catalgla', wardii X ('Crest' x 'Jalisco'), 'America' X 'Elizabeth', (macabeanum x 'Loderi King George') X 'Hawk Crest', 'Hawk Merlin' X 'Letty Edwards', ('C. I. S.' x 'Lem's Goal') X 'Yellow Creek', 'Pink Twins' X 'Annie Dalton'. Of the 112 items listed in this section, all but 29 were sold out completely.
Interest in the deciduous azaleas continues high with strong demand for every item listed; fortunately we had excellent supplies of some of these so the shortages were not great. Requests for seed of the evergreen azaleas were relatively small but our limited supply was sold out.
From the entire list, we had over 700 requests for seed which we were unable to fill. Of course, substitutions were sent, in some cases, but not all. A few applicants received none of the seed which they requested. Fortunately there were not many of these.
At its last session, the board of directors authorized the seed committee to augment our seed supply by employing the services of qualified persons in Botanical Gardens to hand pollinate rare and choice species for the seed program. Our efforts in this direction have, so far, been unsuccessful. We cannot therefore expect to have this resource for the 1966 distribution. However we shall continue to explore this possibility and we are hopeful that we may be able to make some arrangement in time for next year's flowering season.
We regret that our list did not go out as early as we would have liked but we are dependent upon the generosity of our contributors and we must consider their convenience. We also had a delay in getting our copy from the printer which we would hope to avoid in the future.
We still have far to go before we shall achieve the seed program that we must have but we are indeed grateful for the generosity that has brought us this far in so short a time.