R. 'Pink Radiance'
Lou Hindla, Bohemia, N.Y.
We azalea and rhododendron enthusiasts are always looking for the new, the exotic, the unusual, the something different that is going to shake up the plant world. Yet, like the bluebird of happiness, it may be right in our own back yard, for years going unnoticed. Such was the fate and story of 'Pink Radiance', a natural cross of azalea 'Fedora' and 'Hinodegiri', 'Fedora' being the seed parent. Year after year, since about 1961, this plant had bloomed its head off, looking for recognition, but alas, its master was asleep at the switch. Along the way, it had withstood temperatures as low as -16° F. to provide its seasonal display for seventeen years.
Finally, after all those years, I decided this particular plant had something for which we all look. It was hardy, definitely; it had good foliage, similar to Hinodegiri, maybe a bit larger and lot more glossy; it held well in winter; and it was of upright habit - the parent plant being about 6' x 6' in 20 years. As for the bloom, Al Raustein and I were hard put to find a match for it in the R. H. S. color chart, there being nothing quite like it on the chart. We finally decided on Red Group 55-B, Neyron Rose, with slightly deeper spotting in the throat than in the corolla - not very noticeable. The outstanding feature of the flowers which are borne 2 to 4 per terminal is the almost-white stripe down the reverse center of each of the five deep lobes, giving the petals a translucent appearance. The aesthetic effect the plant portrays depends on the direction from which sunlight strikes the plant. Last spring I had five 'Pink Radiance' plants in two-gallon containers on my patio which faces south, and the picture they presented was different from morning sunrise to evening sunset - a remarkable display. Those people who saw the plant at the A.R.S. National Meeting in Hempstead, N.Y., last year were very impressed and most anxious to obtain plants.
A plant is a plant, but when one gives as much pleasure as 'Pink Radiance' and asks for so little, I think it is worth sharing with others.