Gardens To Be Visited During Annual Meeting
The Phetteplace Collection
The Phetteplaces have their "garden" at their summer home about 27 miles east of Eugene, Oregon, on the south bank of the McKenzie River. As Dr. Phetteplace says, this is not really a garden at all, but more properly a "collection" of rhododendrons and azaleas. The planting covers an area of somewhere between one and two acres, in a wooded setting.
Here it has been the object, almost from the beginning, to collect and grow interesting rhododendrons with little or no concern or knowledge about arrangement of the plant material in a form that would deserve the term "garden." Although the Phetteplaces grow here a great many of the most esteemed hybrids, they have, through all the past 25 years, continually tried to find and obtain wherever possible the best forms of species. In some cases these have been acquired by importing plants from abroad or eastern U.S.A. or from others who have imported them. Where plants were unobtainable cuttings or selfed seed have often been obtained from England, Scotland, Germany, Japan and our east coast.
Perhaps the real heart of the species collection came from the acquisition of about 15 fairly large plants obtained from the Barto gardens shortly after Mr. Barto's death. These had been grown from seed obtained by him from different expeditions into the Orient during the 1920', and '30's. Some of these plants are now 12 or 15 feet tall and considered good specimens.
Another source of species was from seed sent from the 1918 Dr. Rock expedition. Although regrettably many of these have been lost, several dozen of these Rock numbers here are 19 years old, from seed. Some are large, beautiful plants now, but many have still not flowered.
Perhaps this "collection" is mainly worthwhile for two reasons. One, it affords an opportunity to see some specimens, especially among the specie,, that could hardly be grown in a small garden. Secondly, Dr. Phetteplace feels that although this is not a garden it will serve as a source of material from which another generation of rhododendron growers may develop a real and proper garden.
At any rate, rhododendron folks are always most welcome at this place.
Dr. Charlie Thompson's Garden
This garden is relatively small in space, but has many prize rhododendrons which are well grown. In addition to some species, Dr. Thompson has quite a number of new seedlings which are blooming, from crosses made by the late Del James. Some of them will undoubtedly he named in the near future.
Dr. Thompson has the same problem as other rhododendron growers who have pursued the hobby for many years. Some of his plants are getting quite large for a small garden. However, by taking out one here and there, and using the pruning shears rather heavily, he has been able to keep his yard in proportion. Dr. Thompson has a small greenhouse and a lath house and does some propagating and growing of new crosses, as well as grafting of Rhododendrons of the new, unusual and rare types.
Rhododendrons in Hendricks Park
The rhododendron garden which is situated in Hendricks Park in Eugene, Oregon, is a Chapter project which has keen in existence many years. There are several charter members of the American Rhododendron Society who are active in the local chapter, which was originally known as the Eugene Camellia and Rhododendron Society. In fact, the group originally was made up predominantly of men who were interested in growing Camellias. However, it did not take long for Rhododendrons to take over, and the Camellias gradually lost their popularity amongst the members of the Eugene chapter.
About the time the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden was being started by the Portland Chapter it was decided that Eugene should also have a rhododendron Garden. A site was chosen in Hendricks Park on the top of a hill which provided a view of a considerable portion of the Eugene area. The original plants were donated by the members of the local rhododendron Society Chapter and plant sales were held regularly to raise money to buy additional plants as well as other companion plants that grow well with rhododendrons.
As the years passed, the rhododendron garden continued to grow larger and larger until today it covers several acres and includes a considerable number of Oak trees as well as native Fir trees which give partial shade, so necessary to the culture and happiness of Rhododendrons.
One of the early rhododendron Society members in Eugene was Dr. Royal Gick. Shortly after his death, Mrs. Gick contributed a sizeable amount of money and material for a section of the garden to be known as the Gick Memorial. Several outstanding specimen plants given at that time are still there today in all their glory. Among these plants is a new Exbury Azalea cross with extreme ruffled edges which has been named 'Gicksville'. Also there is a large Magnolia cambelli trees which is getting to be of considerable size and which has bloomed for the last several years. The blooms are dark pink and considered to be of excellent quality by those who have viewed the tree.
Another section of the garden is in honor of B. S. Cole, a prominent lumberman, who passed away several years ago. This area has benches for the visitor to rest upon while he enjoys the view of the surrounding garden area.
At the death of Del James, a charter member of the Eugene group and of the American Rhododendron Society, his wife Ray James donated the bulk of the rhododendrons in the James collection to the Eugene Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society and they were planted in a new section of Hendricks Park, along a new walk called the "Del James walk." Del James and Ray made many, many crosses of which quite a few have been particularly outstanding and in much demand by rhododendron fanciers on the coast. Many of these plants you will See in this section of the garden.
Eugene is fortunate in having a city park bureau that is interested in having a beautiful rhododendron garden. It is felt that the local chapter furnishing the material and advice and the local park bureau taking care of the planting and upkeep of the garden, makes an ideal arrangement for the enjoyment of all the citizens of Eugene. There is considerable lawn area that is always kept nicely groomed and in good weather you will always see a large group of Eugene citizenry enjoying the rhododendrons when in bloom as well as the natural native splendor. One may See quite a few varieties of Magnolias and other flowering Shrubs Such as flowering cherries, crab apples, Stewartias, and others.
Due to the fact that Some of the plants were getting to be of considerable Size and, of course, crowded, a new area was opened up this last fall with new roads, pathways, and new planting areas So that all can be shown to better advantage.
The Eugene Park Bureau is going all out to have the Hendricks Park rhododendron section all dressed up by the time of the rhododendron convention next May.