R. 'Mary Fleming', A. E.
Robert G. Shanklin, Old Lyme, Connecticut
Our 'Mary Fleming' [(R. racemosum x R. keiskei) x R. keiskei]* was acquired as a rooted cutting from Guy Nearing in 1960. After several vicissitudes caused by moving our residence from one climate zone to another and incorrect placement in a wind-swept location, 'Mary Fleming' has come into her own. As indicated in the ARS Plant Registry in the July 15, 1959 issue the plant has now reached 22" in height after 13 Years. The flower description of bisque yellow with blotches and streaks of salmon falls far short of indicating the delicate beauty of the tiny plant.
'Mary Fleming' is now receiving the accolades due her and we have noticed that increasing numbers of nurserymen are offering it for sale. It has been completely plant hardy to -15° F. and bud hardy to -15° F. in the present protected location. Truly a magnificent addition to any garden.
* I note that the ARS Plant Registry as well as the ARS Plant Award list the cross as R. racemosum x R. keiskei does Dave Leach's Rhododendrons of the World (Charles Scribner's Sons 1961). However, Ted Van Veen's Rhododendrons in America (Sweeney, Krist, and Dimm 1969) lists the cross as (R. racemosum x R. keiskei) x R. keiskei and my own acquisition record shows that Guy Nearing told me when I purchased the plant from him that the cross is as listed in the opening sentence above. Apparently some of us are wrong and for the sake of the record the discrepancy should be cleared up.
(Editor's Note: The original ARS Plant Registry did indeed give the parentage as R. racemosum x R. keiskei, but this was corrected when 'Mary Fleming' was listed for the CA and AE. Ted Van Veen referred us to the Quarterly Bulletin 17:105, 1963 for this quote from an article by Guy Nearing: "My rule is to cross every lepidote yellow with R. keiskei, yet the best result thus far comes from a hybrid with the pink R. racemosum. This hybrid, given the hideous group name of Keiskrac, is not fully hardy, and usually refuses pollen, but individuals which will take pollen have been isolated, and one of these, crossed back with R. keiskei, produced R. 'Mary Fleming', a pale yellow with salmon streaks outside the corolla, giving the effect of a pale salmon. It is a very shapely and free flowering dwarf, rather hardier than R. keiskei.")