The Selfed and Selfless Seed
Esther Berry, Aberdeen, Wash.
From the midst of the most incredible clutter, I still venture to say that the Seed Exchange will proceed this year, about as before. We plan to send our list to the printer on February 1. With luck, it should be ready for mailing about the 15th. Hopefully we will start distributing seed on March 1 - if all goes well. The seed list will be sent by first class mail to all members except those living outside the United States and Canada, whose lists will be sent air-mail.
We are elated to welcome the renowned co-author of "Modern Rhododendrons", Mr. E. H. M. Cox, to our list of contributors. He has sent hand pollinated seed of two forms of R. wardii, both the pink and white forms of R. souliei and R. yakushimanum F.C.C. x R. yakushimanum, wild seedling. All, very much sought after by our members.
Seed of several species, collected in the wild, will again be available. From Taiwan, Dr. John Creech of the U.S. Plant Introduction Station has supplied seed of R. ellipticum, R. kanehirai, R. morii, R. oldhamii, R. rubropilosum, and one listed as probably R. pseudochrysanthum. These will be listed with the plant introduction number and Dr. Creech strongly urges that these numbers be retained for the purpose of future identification.
Also from Taiwan John Patrick, of Richmond, Cal., has sent collections of R. kawakamii, R. ellipticum, R. morii, and R. rubropilosum. From Japan, he has also sent two forms of R. fauriei (brachycarpum) and R. keiskei, (with red spotting and red in the indentation of the petals). Happily, Mr. Patrick's business takes him to Japan quite frequently so we are hopeful that this resource may hold even more exciting possibilities for the future.
Dr. Frank Mossman and Mr. Britt Smith have long been engaged in searching the wild for outstanding forms of R. occidentale. This year, Dr. Mossman has sent us seed of his hand pollinated crosses between some of these superior plants. In addition, there are several crosses between these plants and R. calendulaceum var. 'Collossus'. This is a rare opportunity to share in the exploration and development of this excellent species. Since there is a limited supply of some of this seed, those who request it should give several alternate choices to avoid disappointment.
Seed is arriving daily, but even now, we have an excellent selection of hand pollinated hybrid crosses from the faithful and dedicated contributors who have served us so generously all these years. The search for the 'best yellow' is still very much in evidence but even so, the choice is wide; something for everyone. Well, almost everyone. I cringe as I write this but there is virtually nothing to quell the loud clamor, the wild yearning after R. yakushimanum hybrid children. Please, someone, do something!
To our good fortune, Mr. Lewis Bagoly and Mr. Charles Herbert of Phoenixville, Pa. have joined forces to send us a fine selection of hybrid crosses; many of these crosses use Mr. Joseph Gable's plants. This is a resource that we have coveted because of it's great value to those who are striving for hardy plants of top quality.
There has been a marked increase in the contribution of open pollinated hybrid seed this year. We do appreciate the time and effort spent in sending these contributions but with rare exceptions there is very little demand for this seed. Certainly there have been and will be exceptions but usually we do not feel that it is worthwhile to list seed of hybrids that are readily available. To do so would invite still larger contributions, in kind, which could easily swamp the entire program.
We should perhaps explain, once more, the procedure for the distribution of the Malaysian species. Since the seed retains it's viability for such a short time. I have tried to devise some method of fair distribution that would get it to the members more quickly. Members wishing to acquire this seed should send in their want list which I will keep on file, to be filled whenever supplies become available. Since there is no way to determine what will come in, or when, it might work just as well for applicants to list the kinds they do not want, if that is easier. This is, quite frankly, an experiment which may not work at all or perhaps work so well that I will not be able to manage it. Still, it seems worth a try.
Gratefully, I wish to acknowledge my debt, and yours, to Mrs. Victor Manenica, Mrs. James Haines, Mrs. Clarence Burlingame and Mrs. Helen Pattison who have generously offered their assistance, 'one more time'.