Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
At the National Convention of the American Rhododendron Society hosted by the Great Lakes Chapter in Cleveland, Ohio, May 21-25, 1986, 'Vinecrest' made its debut. This yellow hybrid won the Great Lakes Chapter Award for the best new hybrid seedling, never before shown, the Holden Arboretum Award for the best truss of a new rhododendron hybrid and the Joseph Gable Award for second best in show. 'Vinecrest' is an introduction from the breeding program at the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Horticultural Research Institute of Ontario, Vineland Station, Ontario, Canada.
Photo by Al Smith
It is worth noting that the particular flower truss displayed was kept in cold storage for ten days prior to the day of the show. This truss remained in excellent condition even after a 200 mile journey from Vineland Station and during the three day display period.
'Vinecrest' is of interest to both breeders and nurseryman due to its outstanding yellow color and impressive hardiness rating of -16°F (-24°C). Registered in 1985, 'Vinecrest' has been put into tissue culture by companies in the Pacific Northwest and in Canada.
Al Smith passed away early this summer. He has contributed several articles on hardy rhododendrons and azaleas to the ARS Journal (see the "Vineland Connection" Parts 1, 2, & 3, Vol.40:4 and Vol.41:2 and "A Man I Never Met", Vol.42:4). A professional horticultural specialist, Al possessed a wealth of information on hardy plants. But even more than that, he was generous in sharing plants, had a sharp wit and was a true delight to know. We will miss the pleasure of working with him in the future.