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Journal American Rhododendron Society

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


Volume 46, Number 4
Fall 1992

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Meerkerk Hybrid Test Garden Results
(The Third Report covers testing done in 1990-1991.)
Pat Halligan
Freeland, Washington

        This is the third report giving ratings of the Meerkerk Rhododendron Hybrid Test Garden. During the past two years 74 hybrids have completed their term of testing and are reported here. The rating system remains essentially unchanged from that used in the previous articles (Halligan, 1989, 1991). One major change was the reduction of the minimum number of ratings from seven to four. Two hybrids with less than the minimum number of ratings completed their term and are reported here noting the number or ratings.
        Here is a quick explanation of the format used for rating in this article using 'Amity' as an example: 'Amity' (Hybrid name) 3.8/3.9/3.9 (Flowering season rating, scale 1 (unacceptable) to 5 (outstanding), for truss/foliage/overall).
        Dense, fairly symmetrical...(Vegetative description) Description of the flower is omitted since catalogues and books generally give good flower descriptions. Vegetative rating 4 (Summer vegetative rating, scale 1 (unacceptable) to 5 (outstanding) for foliage and plant form).
        During these two years, a number of outstanding hybrids were rated. 'Noyo Brave' won hybrid of the year for 1991. This plant is outstanding during every season of the year due to its extremely neat, tidy appearance and abundant, well formed trusses of flowers. 'Nancy Evans' won hybrid of the year for 1992. This plant has especially intense golden yellow flowers in well formed trusses. The foliage of this plant has much the same appeal as 'Unique'.

R. 'Nancy Evans'
'Nancy Evans', Meerkerk hybrid of the year, 1992.
Photo by Dennis Hendrickson

        Other plants which were also outstanding included 'Blaney's Blue,' an intensely blue flowered lepidote with dense foliage; 'Blue Boy,' a blue flowered elepidote with especially large trusses; 'Hotei,' the yellow flowered standard for many years; 'Karen Triplett,' an especially large flowered yellow with nice foliage; 'Newcomb's Sweetheart,' with huge pink trusses; 'Noyo Chief,' with the glossiest, best formed leaves you could imagine; and 'Waltham,' a small lepidote as neat as a pin.
        Unnamed hybrids are identified by their Meerkerk accession number, e.g., MK-84-64, and a description in parentheses. Sources for these plants can be obtained from the manager of Meerkerk Gardens, Bill Stipe, Manager, Meerkerk Gardens, P.O. Box 154, Greenbank, WA.
        Many people are involved in the running of the Meerkerk Hybrid Test Garden, including faithful Meerkerk volunteers who come to work in the garden many times each year, and members of the ratings committee. People who rated hybrids in 1991 were Shirley Barnes, Elsie Watson, Frank Fujioka, Jim Ramsey, Hank Engman, Jeanine Smith, Don Milliken, Ralph Doty, Edwin Yoneoka, Walt Wilkes and Gordon Barnes. In addition, Bill Heller, Dennis Hendrickson and Gwen Bell provided slides. Bill Heller and Greg Kesterson were presidents of the Northwest Hybridizers' Group, the organization overseeing the operation of the test garden.
        The idea of a Rhododendron Hybrid Test Garden is over 30 years old. In 1958 the ARS board of directors formulated a set of rules covering test gardens (ARS, 1959). The ARS set up a test garden at Crystal Springs in Portland in the early 1950s (Hansen, 1959), but the plants apparently were allowed to continue growing. This transformed it into a display garden. The Meerkerk Test Garden ruthlessly culls all completed plants, either selling them or transferring them to another part of the garden for display. Last winter, we transferred over 100 beautiful landscape sized plants to a display area which instantly took on the aspect of an established garden. The other plants were sold to give a substantial return to the garden.

The Ratings

'Amity' 3.8/3.9/3.9 Dense, fairly symmetrical spreading shrub with very attractive slightly dull dark green leaves of uniform shape and placement. Three flushes. Leaves sometimes sunburn. Vegetative rating 4.

'Beautiful Day' 2.9/3.1/2.6 Rounded shrub of average density and symmetry with slight yellowish leaves widely spaced on long growths. Two flushes. Leaves sometimes have leaf spot. Red petioles are attractive contrast to leaf color. Vegetative rating 3.

'Better Half* (unregistered, Greer's catalogue 1990) 2.9/3.3/3.3 Fairly dense, symmetrical rounded shrub tends to form a bare trunk. Fairly shiny medium green leaves of average contour are attractively placed. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 3.

R. 'Blaney's Blue'
'Blaney's Blue'
Photo by Bill Stipe

'Blaney's Blue'* (unregistered, Greer's catalogue 1990) 4.2/3.9/4.0 Fairly dense but slightly irregular upright shrub. Fairly shiny medium green convex leaves are spaced along long growths. One flush. Vegetative rating 3.

'Blue Boy' 4.2/3.8/4.0 Fairly dense slightly irregular somewhat upright shrub. Average green leaves are slightly twisted and somewhat irregularly placed. Three Flushes. Vegetative rating 3.

'Blue Hawaii' 3.9/3.5/3.5 Rounded shrub of average density and symmetry. Average green leaves of acceptable contour and placement. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 3.

'Canadian Sunset' 3.6/2.6/3.0 Rather dense rounded shrub shows stems between narrow leaves. Slightly dull rather dark green rolled floppy leaves tend to get sunburned. Three flushes. Vegetative rating 2.

'Cotton Candy's Sister'* (unregistered, sold in Seattle area) 4.2/2.7/3.2 Rather sparse somewhat irregular upright shrub. Fairly dark green leaves of irregular contour and placement. Three flushes. Leaves damaged at 12 degrees F. Vegetative rating 2.

'Cream Crest' 3.2/2.7/2.5 Fairly open sparsely branched somewhat irregular rounded shrub. Brown tinged leaves tend to get puckered. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 2.

'Crimson Pippin' 3.5/4.0/3.8 Dense rather symmetrical spreading shrub. Attractive dark green leaves are uniform in contour and neatly placed. Three flushes. Vegetative rating 4.

'El Camino' 3.8/3.6/3.5 Fairly dense rather symmetrical rounded shrub. Average green wavy leaves. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 3.

'Elya' 3.9/3.9/3.9 Rather dense, symmetrical spreading shrub. Shiny dark green leaves have attractive uniform contour and placement. Two flushes. Leaves sometimes sunburn. Vegetative rating 4.

'Ethel' 2.6/2.9/2.7 Dense prostrate shrub with shiny dark green leaves of uniform contour and placement. Two flushes. Burns with excess fertilizer. Leaves damaged at 12 degrees. Vegetative rating 4. A really fine prostrate plant when its growing conditions are met.

'Everything Nice' 3.8/3.5/3.7 Dense, symmetrical rounded shrub. Average green leaves lack uniformity of contour and size. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 3.

'Fair Lady' 3.9/2.5/3.1 Very sparse, irregular spreading shrub. Dull wavy leaves are often chlorotic, hang down when older. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 1.

'German Flava'* (unregistered, Benjamin's catalogue 1990) 3.3/3.6/3.1 Rather dense symmetrical rounded shrub with somewhat shiny fairly dark slightly rolled leaves. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 3.

'Fred Hamilton' 3.5/3.0/3.5 (two ratings only) Upright fairly open plant tends to form bare trunk. Dull medium green rolled slightly twisted irregularly placed leaves. Three flushes. Vegetative rating 2.

'Golden Anniversary' 3.2/3.4/3.7 Fairly dense rather symmetrical rounded shrub with somewhat shiny fairly dark leaves with pleasingly uniform contour and placement. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 4.

'Golden Wedding' 3.8/4.0/3.9 Dense, symmetrical rounded shrub. Dull medium green leaves are wavy, slightly rolled. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 3.

'Goldstrike' 3.3/3.3/3.2 Fairly dense, rather symmetrical slightly upright shrub. Shiny medium green leaves are convex, often are spaced along long new growths. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 3.

'Grand Slam'* (unregistered, Greer's catalogue 1990) 4.4/3.7/3.8 Rather sparsely branched, irregular sprawling shrub with average green wavy irregularly placed leaves. Three flushes. Vegetative rating 2.

'Hazel' 3.1/3.4/3.0 Fairly dense rather symmetrical rounded shrub with shiny dark green leaves of attractive uniform contour can become twisted and burnt under stress. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 4.

'Holy Moses'* (unregistered, Greer's catalogue 1990) 3.6/3.4/3.4 Fairly dense but very weak rounded shrub tends to fall over. Dull medium green slightly rolled leaves with acceptable contour and placement. Three flushes. Vegetative rating 3.

'Hotei' 4.4/4.0.4.0 Dense symmetrical rounded shrub with attractive leaves of uniform contour and placement. Leaves have an unusual slightly grayish tint. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 4.

'Imperial'* (unregistered Greer's catalogue 1990) 4.1/2.9/3.1 Open, sparsely branched shrub of equal height and spread becomes fairly irregular. Slightly shiny somewhat dark green slightly twisted leaves have acceptable contour. Hanging old leaves detract from appearance. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 2.

'Istar' 3.1/2.8/3.1 Rather open irregular shrub of equal height and spread with average green wavy leaves. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 2.

'Jackwill'* (unregistered, Benjamin's catalogue 1990) 2.5/3.2/3.2 Rather dense symmetrical spreading shrub becomes less so with age. When happy the average green leaves are attractively uniform in contour and placement, but can become floppy and puckered. Three flushes. Vegetative rating 3.

'JoAnn Newsome' 3.7/2.8/3.2 Dense rather symmetrical rounded shrub. Average green convex leaves of varying sizes can be chlorotic. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 3.

'Karen Triplett' 4.4/3.8/3.9 Fairly dense rather symmetrical rounded shrub tends to form bare trunk. Convex medium green leaves of variable size have acceptable contour and placement. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 4.

'Kristin' 3.8/3.5/3.4 Fairly dense symmetrical spreading shrub. Average green leaves are arranged in a very attractive uniform fashion, sometimes burn in full sun. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 4.

Lem's #23* (unregistered 'Anna' x 'Lem's Goal') 2.7/2.2/2.4 Fairly dense rather symmetrical rounded shrub tends to be marred by long new growths. Rather dark green twisted crinkled leaves can get chlorotic. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 3.

'Lemon Lime'* (unregistered, sold in Seattle area) 2.9/2.5/2.4 Gaunt, irregular spreading shrub. Medium green, puckered leaves have brownish cast. One flush. Vegetative rating 1.

'Little White Dove' 3.3/4.1/3.7 Dense fairly symmetrical spreading shrub with slightly shiny light green wavy leaves. Three flushes. Vegetative rating 3.

'Martha Isaacson' 3.7/2.9/2.9 Rather irregular upright azaleodendron. Azalea type leaves with reddish tint. This shrub is worth growing because it is so different. Deciduous at 12 degrees. One flush. Vegetative rating 3.

MK-84-00 (Hall's R. fortunei x ) 3.4/3.3/3.1 Shrub of equal height and spread tends to form bare trunk. Average green slightly green leaves tend toward involute, bowed contour. Three flushes. Vegetative rating 3.

MK-84-33 ('Trude Webster' x 'The Hon. Jean Marie de Montague') 4.0/3.2/3.2 Rather dense fairly symmetrical rounded shrub with average green wavy leaves. Three flushes. Vegetative rating 3.

MK-84-62 (#6 R. williamsianum hybrid) 3.7/3.2/3.3 Dense symmetrical rounded shrub. Dull medium green leaves have uniform contour and placement. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 4.

MK-84-62 (#8 yellow) 2.7/2.7/2.5 Sparse, fairly irregular plant of equal height and spread. Twisted, dull light green leaves of irregular size, contour and placement. One flush. Vegetative rating 1.

MK-84-64 (#45 pink with white stripe) 3.4/2.8/2.9 Loose irregular sparsely branched spreading shrub. Average green wavy slightly rolled leaves lack uniformity. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 1.

MK-84-106 3.3/3.0/3.1 Fairly dense symmetrical upright shrub has long new growths. Average green leaves are slightly rolled and twisted. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 2.

MK-84-224 (R. haematodes 'Lee's Form') 2.7/3.0/2.9 Fairly dense rather symmetrical broad shrub. Slightly dull dark green leaves are slightly rolled with slightly irregular placement. Tent caterpillars like this plant. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 3.

MK-84-332 3.0/2.7/2.8 Rounded somewhat irregular shrub shows stems due to stiffly ascending branches and tendency to form trunk. Rather dull leaves tend to be chlorotic. Twisted, rolled leaves detract from plant. Damaged at 12 degrees F. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 2.

MK-84-376 (YM-66) 2.7/3.2/2.7 Fairly dense somewhat symmetrical spreading shrub with slightly shiny medium green rolled crinkled leaves. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 3.

MK-84-379 ('York'* x 'Whitney's Cream'*) 3.6/2.8/2.7 Very irregular, gaunt, sparsely branched shrub with weak trailing branches. Average green leaves with convex contour, sometimes floppy or puckered, can have marginal leaf burn. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 1.

MK-84-380 (R. yakushimanum x 'Corona') 3.5/4.1/3.8 Fairly dense and symmetrical spreading shrub. Narrowness of average green leaves make foliage less dense. Three flushes. Vegetative rating 3.

MK-85-012 ('Dido' x R. williamsianum) 2.8/3.5/3.3 Fairly dense, symmetrically rounded shrub. Dull medium green leaves. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 3.

MK-85-041 ('C.I.S.' x R. wardii #1) 2.8/3.1/2.9 Fairly open somewhat irregular spreading shrub with average green irregularly placed leaves. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 2.

'Mrs. Furnival' 4.0/3.3/3.2 Dense symmetrical rounded shrub with rather dark green wavy leaves of rather uniform arrangement. Three flushes. Vegetative rating 4.

'My Pet' (YM-22) 2.6/3.6/3.3 Dense symmetrical shrub with attractive dark green leaves of uniform contour and placement. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 4.

'Newcomb's Sweetheart' 4.1/3.5/3.4 Open, irregular shrub has weak prostrate stems. Average green leaves have wavy contour. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 2.

R. 'Noyo Brave'
'Noyo Brave', Meerkerk hybrid of the year, 1991.
Photo by Gwen Bell

'Noyo Brave' 4.0/4.6/4.2 Very dense, symmetrical broad shrub has quite attractive dark green rolled leaves with grayish indumentum. Exceptionally uniform contour and placement of foliage. Four flushes. Vegetative rating 5.

'Noyo Chief' 3.6/4.6/3.9 Somewhat irregular shrub becomes quite dense. Exceptionally dark green shiny leaves are enhanced by attractively uniform contour and placement. Three flushes. Badly damaged at 12 degrees F. Vegetative rating 5.

'Paul Lincke' 3.7/3.3/3.4 Somewhat irregular spreading shrub shows stems through narrow foliage, and due to irregularities and long new growths. Average green leaves are twisted. Old leaves hang, tend to sunburn. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 2.

'Pink Sherbet' 3.8/4.0/3.7 Rounded rather symmetrical somewhat dense shrub shows stems through narrow leaves. Shiny dark green leaves are rolled and bowed. Three flushes. Vegetative rating 3.

'Plum Beautiful'* (unregistered, Greer's catalogue 1990) 3.6/3.1/2.9 Rather open irregular upright plant with stiffly ascending branches with average green twisted irregularly placed leaves of variable size. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 2.

'Potlatch'* (unregistered, Benjamin's catalogue 1990) 3.7/3.8/3.7 Fairly dense, symmetrical rounded shrub has coarse structure. Dull green leaves have acceptable contour and uniform placement. Three flushes. Vegetative rating 3.

'President Roosevelt' 3.5/2.7/2.9 Rather open irregular shrub with very distinctive variegated leaves which tend to burn in sun. Plant tends to die back. Three flushes. Vegetative rating 3.

'Princess Anne' (sometimes sold as 'Princess Ann') 4.1/2.7/2.9 (Two ratings only) Dense symmetrical spreading shrub with yellowish twisted convex leaves. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 4.

'Renaissance' 3.8/2.6/2.9 Very open but rather symmetrical tree grows straight up and forms a definite trunk. Average green leaves tend to slight chlorosis, are slightly crinkled. Old leaves hang. Two flushes. Cannot be compared to other rhodies, because it is so definitely a tree that it fills a very different garden niche. Vegetative rating 3.

'Ruby Bowman' 4.0/3.4/3.4 Rather dense somewhat irregular spreading shrub with yellowish chlorotic wavy irregularly placed leaves. Old leaves tend to hang. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 2.

'Seattle Springtime' 3.1/2.7/2.7 Gaunt irregular upright shrub has a gnarly character. Shiny convex leaves can get leaf spot. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 3.

'Second Honeymoon'* (unregistered Greer's catalogue 1990) 3.4/4.0/3.7 Dense symmetrical rounded shrub with shiny average green floppy convex leaves arranged in a very uniform attractive pattern. One flush. Vegetative rating 4.

R. 'September Song'
'September Song'
Photo by Dennis Hendrickson

'September Song'* (unregistered, Greer's catalogue 1990) 3.5/2.7/3.1 Open irregular upright shrub shows its trunk due to stiffly ascending branches. Dull medium green bowed wavy irregularly placed leaves. Old leaves hang down. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 2.

'Shooting Star'* (unregistered, Greer's catalogue 1990) 3.4/2.9.3.2 Irregular but densely foliaged plant has very long new growths. Average green leaves have reddish cast, have nice uniform contour. Two flushes. This plant has a special charm quite unlike other rhodies. Vegetative rating 3.

'Spring Song' 3.8/3.5/3.5 Dense symmetrical upright shrub improves with age. Slightly shiny medium green leaves tend to be spaced along new growths. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 3.

'Starlet' 3.2/2.9/2.5 Open irregular prostrate plant is sparsely branched. Dull light green leaves tend to be chlorotic. Floppy leaves lack uniformity of contour of placement. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 1.

'Sunup-Sundown' (sometimes mislabeled 'Sun Up-Sun Down') 3.0/2.8/ 2.4 Fairly dense rather symmetrical shrub forms a bare trunk. Slightly shiny darkish somewhat bowed leaves are uniformly placed. Three flushes. Vegetative rating 3. The name is appropriate, since the flowers last in good condition for only one day.

'Taku' 2.9/2.9/2.9 Broad somewhat irregular shrub shows stems through narrow foliage. Dull, medium green rolled leaves are rather uniformly placed. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 2.

'Waltham'* (unregistered, Greer's catalogue 1990) 3.3/4.2/4.0 Dense symmetrical broad shrub. Dull dark green leaves have brownish tint, very attractive uniform contour and placement. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 4.

'White Gold' 4.2/3.2/3.6 Open irregular spreading shrub with average green wavy irregularly placed leaves. Three flushes. Vegetative rating 2.

'Mary Drennen'* 4.1/3.4/3.6 Fairly open rounded shrub forms a bare trunk with dull chlorotic crinkled rolled arched leaves. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 2.

'Yellow Pippin' 3.8/3.1/3.3 Fairly dense and symmetrical rounded shrub. Average green leaves tend to be chlorotic. Very twisted wavy rolled leaves are quite unattractive, tend to sunburn. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 2.

R. davidsonianum 'Ruth Lyons' 3.6/2.8/3.0 Very upright irregularly branched shrub tends to form bare trunks. Average green leaves have reddish tint, tend to be spaced on long water sprouts. This plant is quite unlike most other rhodies and can be used where an irregular vertical accent is needed. One flush. Vegetative rating 3.

References
ARS Board of Directors (1959) Suggestions Covering Test Gardens and Display Gardens Under the Auspices of the American Rhododendron Society. Q. Bull. Amer. Rhod. Soc. 13(1).
Halligan, J.P. (1989) Meerkerk Hybrid Test Garden. J. Amer. Rhod. Soc. 43(3).
Halligan, J.P. (1989) Meerkerk Hybrid Test Garden Ratings. J. Amer. Rhod. Soc. 43(3)
Halligan, J.P. (1991) Meerkerk Test Garden Rates Hybrids. J. Amer. Rhod. Soc. 45(2)
Hansen, R.H. (1959) Fall Activity in the Society Test Garden. Q. Bull. Amer. Rhod. Soc. 13(1)

Editor's Note: * designates an unregistered hybrid. The name does not conflict with that of a registered clone.


Volume 46, Number 4
Fall 1992

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