Letters To The Editor
Dear Dr. Clarke:
I am glad you like 'Ramapo' and 'Windbeam'. They are my most successful introductions so far, and are grown pretty generally around here. 'Wyanokie' seems to be more popular than 'Windbeam' with the nurserymen, the reason being that it is dwarfer and shapes up immediately, while 'Windbeam' stays straggly for three or four years. But when mature, 'Windbeam' is the better of the two.
'Mary Fleming' will probably in the end equal or surpass all of these, but it is just coming on the market. In May 1967 I received a letter from a Mrs. Peterson in Pennsylvania. She wrote "... I have acquired many of the smaller species and hybrid Rhododendrons...Two weeks ago I visited the home and nursery of the Knippenbergs in Pines Lake, and as we drove in the driveway I saw something I'd never seen before. Mrs. Knippenberg later told me it was your 'Mary Fleming'. I am truly entranced. Of all the hybrids I have seen, this one, in my estimation, has the most exquisite and unbelievable coloring." A year later a woman landscape architect drove in with a number of 'Mary Flemings' in full bloom, and a number of 'Ramapos' also. She got them from Joseph Folding, Woodcliff Lake, N.J. He grows them side by side and sells them in bloom for their unusual color harmony.
I have had no reports on the hardiness of 'Mary Fleming' from farther north, but it is perfectly hardy here. I have sold several hundred in 3-inch pots, but have none of larger size except my stock plants. I believe Warren Baldsiefen is building up a stock. The cuttings root very well.
Coming along, but not yet named, are a number of hardy hybrids of dichroanthum, griersonianum, etc., obtained by crossing hybrids of these species with my 'Catanea', a white form of catawbiense much shapelier than any of the others. These new hybrids range in color through scarlet, orange and yellow and salmon. As most of them are not shapely plants, it will take years to select the best. 'Golden Horn', with pollen from 'Catanea', produced a number of fairly bud-hardy forms, the best flower of which was orange-salmon fading to ochre, with a very shapely truss, but there was no plant, just a couple of sprawling branches flat on the mulch. Another plant of the same batch made a little plant so shapely that one friend remarked that he wouldn't care if it never flowered. The scarlet flowers were poor and small, and some florets winterkilled. So I decided to make the cross again, growing a thousand or so, until the beautiful flower came on a beautiful plant.
Several others of the same cross have flowered, and one of an orange-scarlet color is about half good enough in the plant and might possibly improve enough to be named, but I think I will wait for the new generation, although I am 78 years old.
An orange-salmon cross of 'Catanea' with 'Fabia' bloomed this year. and it is not a bad plant, though the truss is somewhat droopy. It is the best of that cross so far. and may get a name. But I like to watch a plant for two or three years before I name it, finding out in the meantime whether the cuttings root well.
If I live long enough, I will surely get hybrids in these shades, but so far, no buttercup-yellow has appeared, and that I am working hard to get. There is a pure salmon with a good truss which roots well from cuttings, and I think the plant will be shapely.
Though it was torn apart by a heavy snow, and the new shoots from the base were all eaten off by chipmunks. The cross was 'May Day' X fortunei. I may name it soon. A salmon pink 'Azor' X 'Catanea' with foliage and growth habit much like 'Catawbiense Album' will be named as soon as I think up the right word, but the cuttings root rather poorly, so there is no hurry.
I am not bedding out any plants for sale, but sell only rooted cuttings in pots, as I do all the work with my own hands, and want time for hybridizing. But other growers seem to be willing to do the hard work. I have no facilities for packing or shipping, but someone with facilities for shipment can come here and pick up the plants for those who want them.
Dear Dr. Clarke:
Our meetings have been extremely well attended - we are delighted as we feel we must be doing something right! We have a portion of each meeting beamed at the less experienced member and it has worked well. We are getting questions asked at the meetings and more of an exchange of thoughts. Our Educational Program Chairman is Dick Houghton, a member who is very much interested in this aspect of our programs for his own information, therefore we felt Dick a good choice to direct it. I feel sure the best volunteers are those who have something to gain - they have the initiative to get things done - the incentive. They don't have the established gardens - they don't know all the sources for plants and information - they are eager, and most of the time willing (with a little coaxing). It is this type of committee person we are trying to cultivate. I have spent many hours on the telephone, but it has paid off in increased interest.
Only two persons have volunteered for committees without first being approached and asked. One is our Publicity Chairman, Howard Mason, and he is working out great. After a few hours going over Publicity ideas, he has taken the bit in his teeth and worked at it. So we are off to a good start with the much needed publicity for this Chapter.
I am personally convinced one of the reasons we lost membership last year was lack of publicity. Meeting notices were not sent to the papers (it was felt not necessary), and as we did not appear at public shows, we just had no exposure. The International Flower Show did not allow amateur plant societies to exhibit last year (they were sorry later). Usually we sold 3,000-4,000 booklets here and this got information on ARS around. The Long Island Nurseryman's Show did not appeal to this chapter last year, as it was mostly a furniture show, so here again we did not exhibit, and lost public contact. Our two truss shows were very successful, but no publicity had been sent out.
The reverse will be true this year we are going ahead full force on publicity.
Again this year there will not be a Long Island Nurseryman's Show, but we will exhibit as follows:
March 8th - 16th-International Flower Show, Coliseum, New York, New York. We will have a 10'x10' booth exhibit, with display of rhododendrons, azaleas, and educational materials. A new flower show booklet will be sold for 25 cents. May 17th - Truss Show at Walt Whitman Shopping Mall, Huntington, New York. June 1st - Second Truss Show at Planting Fields Arboretum, Oyster Bay, New York.
Our chapter intends to have an early, informal flower show in the classroom at Planting Fields (probably late in April) so our members may see some of the material that blooms very early, and is never seen at scheduled shows.
By the way, it might interest you to know that we usually serve coffee ½ hour before the start of each meeting (the suggestion of Bruno Kaelin some years ago) and it has been a marvelous idea, as persons come to chat together and it has kindled friendships. The newer members get a little acquainted, and don't feel so 'left out'. We make an effort to introduce them to some one in the room, before the meeting starts. It does mean that some wonderful dedicated volunteer, or two, needs to arrive an hour before to set up the coffee and perk two huge pots, but it has worked out very well. Formerly, we had coffee at mid-break, or after the meeting, but this has worked out much better. After a full meeting, most members wish to get back home and don't stay for late coffee.
Our Plant Sale in October was very successful - the best ever in terms of profit for our Chapter and we hope to outdo this by our Spring Sale. I personally feel this is a benefit to our newer members, in particular, and we use the money for projects that we otherwise could not afford. Last year we gave Planting Fields $500 for their Species Garden Development, and this next Spring, we hope to make it $1,000. That is our goal, anyway. There is a great deal of work to put across the plant sales (just a few people again that are involved), but it is well worth it.
Regarding the Seed Program, we established a local seed program, also, as some members have a few seeds, not enough to send to the National, but sufficient for one of the other members to share. So we have encouraged this. Bob Emmerich, Chairman of our Chapter Seed Exchange is collecting as much seed as possible to send to the National. We just do not have many good species around here, but we do wish to participate to the best of our ability.
Committees: Regretfully, I cannot send you a complete list of committees as they are still in the making. However, we do have the following:
Awards Committee: Gordon E. Jones (Chairman), Sidney Burns, Richard Murcott, Alfred Raustein, Dorothy Schlaikjer and Paul Vossberg.
Species Committe: Henry A. Dumper (Chairman), Gordon E. Jones, Sidney Burns, Ray Kruse,
Peter LoTruglio, Robert Small, Bishop von Wettberg. These committees are still being developed, so I will list the chairman, only:
Educational Program: Richard A. Houghton, Jr., chairman. Membership Chairman: Clara Burns. Publicity Chairman: Howard Mason. Slide Program - Photography: Joan Knapp, Chairman. (A slide program will be prepared in the coming year to send to the ARS.) Garden Tours: Joan Knapp, Chairman. Welcoming Committee: Leslie Tonge, Chairman. (supplier of badges with name, town and state to help members get to know each other). Program Chairman: Bruno Kaelin. Hospitality Committee: Edna and Al Oechsner, Chairmen. (work hard with the coffee and cookies) New York Flower Show: Ray Kruse. Chairman. Walt Whitman Truss Show: Erik Jorgensen, Chairman. Planting Fields Truss Show: Chairman to be appointed later. Book Chairman: Sue Stevens. (Her husband, Steve Stevens is co-chairman and this book program is important to our members - we have books set up for sale at EVERY meeting.) Newsletter Committee: Fred Knapp, Chairman.
As you can see from our November 29th Chapter Letter, we are now incorporated. We felt this was necessary as we are involved in many public activities and we believe the officers and directors of the Chapters will be somewhat protected.
Sincerely, Betty Hager Pres., N.Y. Chapter
Dear Dr. Clarke:
Received your recent letter requesting a resume of the Seattle Chapter's favorite Rhododendron poll. Actually, this poll was only one question in a broader questionnaire which we sent to our 335 members. Of these, we had the return of 110 questionnaires, or approximately one-third. These were sent out with return addressed, stamped envelopes so there must be some sort of lesson regarding human nature involved. We felt quite fortunate to have gotten back as broad a sampling as we did, and actually, gleaned a good deal of useful information from some of the questions. One of the things that became apparent from the question regarding five favorite Rhododendrons in order of preference was the extremely wide range of tastes regarding favorite plants. Included in these choices were 52 species and 104 hybrids, which must be a record of sorts.
The counting of votes took place on the National Election Day and presented a relief from the major network commentators. We arbitrarily set a point system for the first five choices. giving five points for first choice, four for second, three for third, two for fourth and one for fifth place. This gave some weight to how strongly a person felt about a particular plant.
Following is a report of the Seattle Chapter's voting on their choice of favorite Rhododendrons with listing of all the varieties receiving ten points or over:
Position Variety Points 1. R. yakusimanum (F.C.C.)* (An award form usually specified) 73 2. 'Loderi' grex (usually 'King George') (A.M. & F.C.C.) 60 3. 'The Honorable Jean Marie de Montague' 58 4. 'Mrs. Furnival', F.C.C. 42 5. 'Unique', A.M. 41 6. 'Bowbells', A.M. 36 7. 'Anna Rose Whitney', P.A. 32 8. 'Loder's White', A.M., A.G.M. 26 'Elizabeth' (F.C.C.) 26 10. R. lutescens (F.C.C.) 25 11. 'Moonstone' 24 12. 'Purple Splendour', A.M. 22 13. 'Hawk Crest', F.C.C. 21 14. 'Blue Diamond', F.C.C. 19 15. 'Carita', A.M. 18 'Azor', (A.M.) 18 17. 'Pink Pearl', A.M., F.C.C., A.G.M. 17 18. 'Faggetters Favourite', A.M. 16 19. R. augustinii, (F.C.C., A.M., A.G.M.) 16 20. R. zeylanicum (probably same as arboreum var. kingianum 15 grown in N.W. for years, and 'Noyo Chief') 21. R. bureavii, (A.M.) 14 22. 'Mrs. G. W. Leak', F.C.C. 13 'Betty Wormald', F.C.C. 13 'Jan Dekens' 13 25. R. williamsianum, (A.M.) 12 26. 'Cotton Candy', P.A. 11 'John Coutts' 11 'Naomi' grex (A.M. & F.C.C.) 11 R. calophytum (A.M. & F.C.C.) 11 30. 'Cynthia' 10 'Cilpinense', (A.M.) 10 R. macabeanum (F.C.C.) 10
*Bracketed awards indicate this award to one clone of a species or grex. These are generally the sought-after forms, though not always superior to other forms.
Enclosed is a copy of the questionnaire which we submitted to the membership and, in a subsequent communication, I will try to summarize the comments received. I have already had requests for the questionnaire from the Presidents of the San Francisco and Portland chapters. I might add that we did discover strong sentiment in favor of establishing a Rhododendron test and display garden in the Seattle area. There appeared to be a general satisfaction with our program schedules and general activities, though many people would like to see more garden tours organized during the Spring season.
C. Edward Simons, Jr., M.D.
President, Seattle Chapter