Mrs. Ruth Martin Hansen
There has been a great deal written about rhododendrons in the small garden; however, little mention is ever made of the newer low-growing hybrid forms which have innumerable uses in the border, rockery, foundation or terrace plantings. There are many of these new introductions, some already on the market. As all horticulturists know, the relationship of a plant to light and shade will determine its character, whether it will be low and compact or tall and leggy in appearance. The following plants are all normally of a dwarf habit though any of them could be induced to grow taller if planted in dense shade.
The R. 'Fabia' with its varieties 'Tangerine, 'Roman Pottery' and 'Tower Court' make an exquisite grouping. Trusses are bell-shaped ranging in color from apricot orange to vermilion. The 'Fabias' are late bloomers, May, and of low spreading habit up to 3 feet. Undersides of leaves have beautiful fawn-colored indumentum. R. 'Day Dream'; compact, spreading, excellent for rockery or woodland. Orange scarlet flowers, late May.
R. 'Arthur T. Ivens' is similar to 'Bow Bells' but with larger flowers 3 inches wide, rose color, bell-shaped. R. 'Moonstone', one might say, is a yellow 'Bow Bells', is a good dwarf compact grower. These williamsianum hybrids are very slow growing 1 to 2 feet high, excellent in the border, rockery or terrace planting. R. 'Arthur Osborn'; dark red tubular flowers, loose truss, blooms June. Will reach 3 feet, good as foundation plant. R. 'Rubina'; neat, compact habit, rounded trusses, tubular flowers deep crimson, May. R. 'Dido'; considered a true orange color. Rather stiff, upright though compact and bushy. Good Accent. R. 'Buttercup'; low-spreading habit, yellow trusses, slow growing.
R. 'Blue Diamond', R. 'Blue Bird' and R. 'Blue Tit' are all outstanding dwarf compact hybrids suitable for the rock garden or border. As names imply they are all lovely shades of blue and very floriferous. Try planting with yellow or pink associations. R. 'Bric-a-brac' has pure white corolla 2 inches across, stamens with dark anthers. A planting with R. moupinense, R. leucaspis, R. ciliatum and R. 'Cilpinense' make an interesting and beautiful combination. Blooming period from February through March. Because these plants are early bloomers and have such very large flowers for their size they should have some protection from our blustery weather. R. 'Bric-a-brac' will grow tall and leggy if planted in too much shade.
R. 'Grosclaude'; fine blood-red color, low spreading habit. R. 'Red Cap'; has small bell-shaped flowers 1¾ inches across, color Oxblood red which lights up to scarlet against the light. Plant all deep reds so sunlight will shine through flowers for best effect. R. 'King Cup'; 'Indian Yellow', late blooming. R. 'Exburiense'; fine scarlet, August, one of latest. Will grow up to 3 feet in height.
Be on the lookout for R. 'Bo-Peep', R. 'Burning Bush', R. 'Racil', R. 'Little Bert', R. 'Humming Bird', R. 'Elisabeth' and R. 'White-Wings' to mention a few of the newer fine dwarf hybrids soon to make their appearance on the market.