R. 'Lady Bligh'
Cecil Smith, Aurora, Oregon
The Rhododendron International Register, published by the Royal Horticultural Society, states that 'Lady Bligh' is a R. griffithianum hybrid made by C. B. van Nes and Sons. The color is described as strawberry red fading to rich pink. It received an A.M. in 1934 after trial at Exbury.
The A.R.S. gives 'Lady Bligh' a four out of a possible five for flower and a three for plant. I believe that many people would give the top rating of five for the flowers. I would say that the color lightens rather than fades as it goes through several stages of bright pink. The leaves are a dull green and are held for two years.
The cross with R. fortunei by Ruby Bowman, and named for her, is rated 5/4 by the A.R.S.
Rudolph Henny named two crosses of 'Lady Bligh.' 'Lake Labish', a cross with 'Loderi Venus' received a P.A. in 1955. The other, a cross with 'Loderi' was named 'Doris Caroline', and received a P.A. in 1960.
A cross of 'Lady Bligh' with R. aberconwayi made a truss and flowers the shape of R. aberconwayi and with a darker red than 'Lady Bligh', which never faded. Unfortunately, the corollas separated from the ovaries and fell too soon after maturity, as do those of most forms of R. aberconwayi.
The flower of 'Lake Labish', the cross with 'Loderi Venus', has as deep a red color as does 'Lady Bligh', and the color lightens very little. This is an example of a red flower, 'Lady Bligh', which does not hold its color, but produces seedlings when crossed with a white and pale pink which are as dark or darker than the red parent.
When in bloom, 'Lady Bligh' is beautiful with its varying color tints, especially if it flowers during a cool period.