THE RHODODENDRON AND CAMELLIA YEARBOOK 1968, The Royal Horticultural Society, Vincent Square, S.W., London, England, 264pp., Illustrated, Some Color Plates
This Yearbook, printed in November, 1967, is considerably larger than some recent issues and strikes this reviewer as being of greater interest. Contributions dealing with rhododendrons and camellias are fairly evenly balanced and integrated throughout the book. That is as it should be for one feature of the R. H. S. Yearbooks has always been descriptions of great gardens in the British Isles, and most of them feature both rhododendrons and camellias as basic landscape material. Featured in this issue are descriptions of many important gardens including the following: "Tregothnan - A Camellia and Rhododendron Garden in Cornwall" by Viscount and Viscountess Falmouth; "Black Hills - An Irregular Garden In Morayshire" by S. F. Christie; "Rhododendrons At Benmore" by A. Hall; "Rhododendrons In An Australian Garden" by P. G. Valder.
Early rhododendron shows of the R. H. S. are described by James Platt under the title of "Forty Years of Rhododendron Shows." Current shows are well covered by Allen Hardy and James Platt, describing "The Rhododendron Show, May 2 and 3, 1967" and by Patrick Synge covering "The Rhododendron Competition, March 14-15, 1967."
Mr. F. P. Knight, Director of the gardens at Wisley, will be recalled by many A. R. S. members as a featured speaker at the International Conference in Portland some years ago, and at the A. R. S. Annual Meeting in Asheville, North Carolina, in 1967. Mr. Knight gives his impression of the Annual Meeting and describes some of his other experiences in finding native plants in the North Carolina hills.
David Leach writes entertainingly about "The Ancient Curse Of The Rhododendron", and also contributes an article on "The Efficient Production of Deciduous Azaleas From Cuttings."
"New Guinea Rhododendrons in Australia" are discussed by A. W. Headlam. Mr. K. Wada of Japan, known to many A. R. S. members; writes on "Rhododendron Mucronatum." "Pests Of Rhododendrons" are discussed by K. M. Harris. Most of these pests are known to American gardeners and some of the comments might be helpful. There are a number of other extremely interesting short contributions covering special species or varieties, or other items of interest.
In general the Yearbook makes pleasant reading. There is one exception. This is the report of the passing of Roza Harrison. Mrs. Harrison, married to Major General Eric Harrison in 1961, may be better known to A.R.S. members as the widow of Mr. J. B. Stevenson with whom she had worked to create the great rhododendron garden at Tower Court. She made many rhododendron crosses, was a great student of rhododendron species and must have been of great assistance to Mr. J. B. Stevenson in the production of the Rhododendron Species Book, the ultimate reference for most rhododendron species collectors.
Many members of the American Rhododendron Society are yearly purchasers of the R. H. S. Yearbooks. They will make no mistake in obtaining this edition.