Logo for the Journal American Rhododendron Society

Journal American Rhododendron Society

Current Editor:
Dr. Glen Jamieson ars.editor@gmail.com


Volume 34, Number 2
Spring 1980

DLA Ejournal Home | QBARS Home | Table of Contents for this issue | Search JARS and other ejournals

Dietrich Hobbie Turns 80
Carl Lehmann, Vedbaek, Denmark

        One of the most famous German hybridizers celebrated his 80th birthday last June; and since his hybrids are among the most sold in Denmark, it seems appropriate to pause and select a few that have pleased many members of the Danish Chapter.
        But first a brief biography of the man who did the work. Dietrich G. Hobbie was born a few months before the turn of the century on the family farm situated between the German town of Bremen and the Dutch border. At the age of about 30, his love for rhododendrons developed and some years later he traveled in England visiting famous gardens and nurseries. Sowing seeds from many sources had already started around this time. In 1945 Mr. H. Robeneck joined him as head gardener a position Mr. Robeneck still holds today. Later on in 1958 Dietrich Hobbie's son-in-law, Mr. F. W. Dure, joined him and took an active part in events. Mr. Dure eventually will take over the nursery.
        A fairly complete list of Hobbie hybrids did appear in the 1979 German Rhododendron Society Yearbook. The plant names number about 100. I shall deal with only four.

R. 'Scarlet Wonder'
R. 'Scarlet Wonder'
Photo by J. C. Birck

'Scarlet Wonder' ('Essex Scarlet' x R. forrestii var R. repens) (cl) Named in 1960 and justly famous for its compact form hardiness and red flowers. The colour sometimes can be overpowering, so place carefully in the garden.

R. 'Gartendirekter Rieger'
R. 'Gartendirekter Rieger'
Photo by J. C. Birck

'Gartendirekter Rieger' ('Adriaan Koster' x R. williamsianum) (cl) Crossed by Mr. Robeneck around 1947, this plant is a delightful light creamy colour on top of nice foliage. Bud-hardy to minus 22°C, the plant will tolerate lower temperatures. Eventually growing 2 m. tall by 3 m. across it flowers profusely from a young age. Young cuttings are sometimes used as understocks because of a good root net and an easy habit for rooting.
'Flava' (R. wardii x R. yakushimanum FCC) (g) Using his superior R. wardii L&ST5679, these compact plants resulted. The colour intensity varies from year to year, but all clones are fine compact growers reaching 1.5 m. and somewhat more across with fine foliage. It needs sun to flower but not too much or it will attract lace wing flies. Placed rightly it will become the treasure of any garden.

'Diane' x R. vivscidifolium
R. 'Diane' x R. viscidifolium
Photo by J. C. Birck

'Diane' x R. viscidifolium This one is my personal favorite and why it has not been named is a puzzle to us. Bud-hardiness is a problem below minus 18°C. This is the only fault we can find on a small bush growing up to 2 m. tall and about 2.5 m. across in 10 years from cutting. The foliage is very fine and should be somewhat protected from high wind. The flowers display a most lovely light orange colour speckled with red dots.
        All four hybrids are May/June flowering in this country with 'Scarlet Wonder' being the first. Our climate around Copenhagen is similar to the colder parts of eastern Scotland.


Volume 34, Number 2
Spring 1980

DLA Ejournal Home | QBARS Home | Table of Contents for this issue | Search JARS and other ejournals