Arthur W. Headlam, Bentleigh, Australia
Photo by Arthur Headlam
R. forrestii var. repens is well known for its attractive hybrids, and 'Carmen' (R. didymum x R. forrestii var. repens) is no exception. The very dark red tubular campanulate flowers are produced in clusters on a low spreading plant, and are attractively displayed against a background of small bright green leaves, glaucous below.
R. forrestii var. repens is a species rarely seen in cultivation in Australia, even in the favorable climatic conditions of the Dandenong Ranges, although a number of its hybrids are fairly widely grown, 'Elizabeth', no doubt being the most popular.
Two other hybrids which attract attention are 'Östfriesland' and 'Elizabeth Hobbie', the latter some two feet high and three feet across, is sited near the head of the pond in the Australian Rhododendron Society's National Garden at Olinda. Its profusion of bright scarlet flowers with a transparent appearance make it a focal point of attention, and in particular when the sun is shining on it.