Pearl River, New York
The following are rare, important, not-readily available rhododendron selections, soon to become extinct and every effort should be made to preserve them.
These R. catawbiense var. album selections allow clear, bright colors of tender varieties to become present in the resulting seedlings of hybrid crosses. At least one of these should be present in a hybrid cross as a parent to assure hardiness in all hybrid crosses of tender varieties. All three are good-doers as parents:
'Catanea': A Guy Nearing Selection — The flowers are pure white with some blue in anthers and pistil. There is some blue when the flower is in bud. The flower opens pure white.
'LaBar's White': A LaBar's Nursery Selection — The nursery no longer exists and the plant is no longer being produced commercially. The flowers are pure white, pure white in bud and open pure white. The anthers and pistil are pure white.
'Catalgla': George Gable's Selection — Pure white flowers, some blue in bud, blue in anthers and pistil. The plant is a bit leggy. 'Catalgla' is a sister plant of 'Catanea'.
All of the plants I have produced and others that have been worthwhile, hardy and with some heat resistance have been Guy Nearing's 'Catanea' or 'LaBar's White' hybrid crosses. A list follows:
'Sappho' x 'Catanea'
Registered A.R.S. - 'Sappho's Choice' by Lonnie Player of Fayetteville, SC. Hardy and heat resistant in plant and bud.
'Vulcan' x 'Catanea'
Won Best in Show, Seed Exchange Seedling, Great Lakes Chapter A.R.S. 1984 Flower Show. The flower is a warm hardy red.
'Mrs. Furnival' x 'Catanea'
Won Best in Show, Seed Exchange Seedling, Great Lakes Chapter A.R.S. 1985 Flower Show. Hardy in plant and bud.
'Mars' x 'Catanea'
Registered A.R.S. - 'Raspberry Sherbert' by Walter J. Blyskal. Hardy in plant and bud.
'Naomi' x 'Catanea'
Registered A.R.S. - 'Mrs. Alice Blyskal' by Walter J. Blyskal. Hardy in plant and bud, also insect resistant.
'Azor' x 'Catanea'
Registered A.R.S. - 'Azonea' by Guy Nearing. A pure pink, hardy 'Azor'.
This year I have hybrid seedlings of the following:
'LaBar's White' x 'Jalisco';
'LaBar's White' x 'Mary Belle';
'LaBar's White' x 'Golden Star';
'LaBar's White' x 'Barbara Hardgrove';
'LaBar's White' x 'Raspberry Sherbert';
'LaBar's White' x New York Botanical Garden #94
Unfortunately I do not have any hybrid crosses with 'Catalgla' as I do not possess this plant and it is very difficult to obtain.
Perhaps something should be done by someone! Would it be possible for The Rhododendron Species Foundation, The Nearing Committee, The Seed Exchange, The Research Foundation, the very active Massachusetts Chapter, the great New York Chapter or other organizations, to make a donation to defray the cost of having these rare specimens produced by the new and wonderful method of "Tissue Culture" so that they could be made available to future hybridizers of rhododendrons?
This would prevent the tremendous losses of very valuable plant material being destroyed by freezing cold winters that occur in every state of our great country. Consider the labor, care, time saved, notwithstanding the horrendous loss of very valuable plant material lost forever.