R. 'Maxine Childers'
Carl H. Phetteplace M.D., Eugene, Oregon
Many years ago, while giving a program on hybridizing before the Eugene Chapter, Bob Commerford stated that the hybridizer who created a really good red that was young flowering, early blooming, reasonably hardy and easily propagated would make a contribution to rhododendron growers.
In 1958 Mrs. Arthur (Maxine) Childers applied 'Elizabeth' pollen to their R. strigillosum. Arthur grew on a number of seedlings from this cross. Visiting him one day, he gave me a tiny plant from the lot, remarking it might prove to be the only real good one. Perchance this has happened. We have compared a number of these at blooming time and agree his gift is superior. Of course, it should bear the name of 'Maxine Childers'!
In my garden it has tolerated -6°F. with no damage. It has glossy, dark green, heavily veined, substantial foliage with reddish hairy petioles. Beginning about mid-April, it becomes blanketed with near cardinal-red waxy flowers, (RHS chart), of such substance that the corollas of spent flowers fall to the ground intact. It began its prolific blooming when small, perhaps six years from seed. It is best grown in full shade.
'Maxine Childers' should prove to be an excellent commercial and garden plant producing abundantly each flowering season and yet so modest in growth habit as to be suitable for the small garden.