Salt Blackened Shingles and Old Granite
Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts
In the center of Martha's Vineyard lies an old sheep farm that has been my family's summer home since 1927. The scene is a familiar one in coastal New England. Winds from the Atlantic Ocean have blackened the shingles that cover the barns and old homestead. Spreading as outwash from the glacial moraine that forms the higher hills on Martha's Vineyard, the granite rocks, large and small, are scattered all over the land. Since colonial times they have been used for foundations, posts, steps and, most conspicuously, for walls.
Since 1957 I have been manager of the farm. The quiet dignity of these basic materials remind me, as I look around, to "keep it simple." They guide me to keep the fields open in their centers. They inspire me to be of use. They tell me to plant with imagination to enhance, not change, the look of our old New England sheep farm.
Horticulture has been my favorite pursuit since being inspired by courses at Longwood Gardens and the beauty of Winterthur Gardens and since by luck at age 50 being put in charge of these 20 open acres of farm land. About 40 acres of natural mixed oak woodland make a quiet frame for the open fields. I decided to grow an arboretum from seed.
The limitations of living in two places, and my ignorance of what lay ahead, made the seed route most practical and alluring. While the plants grew up I would learn about each one in turn. Time, the unknown and uncontrollable factor, I decided to ignore. Do it right and follow through as long as I am able, I said to myself.
Countless avenues appeared ahead to follow or reject. Curiosity about plants, search for individual beauty, the usefulness of each in landscaping, the education of myself and others, sharing the plants and the knowledge - all these avenues opened up.
| Owl and pig in the El field looking south
Photo by Polly Hill
I have been asked, "Do you feel, after 30 years, that you have succeeded?" There is finality in that question that I reject. Instead, I say gardening is ongoing. Each new cultivar I select as worthy is a point of pride for me. Each request for cuttings of "my" plants shows positive achievement. Each visitor who voluntarily comes and walks through the grounds shows a response to my efforts. I find it almost irrelevant that I should consider anything accomplished. As long as a plant is alive it is growing. With growth there is change. My computer records, updated annually, show the change and growth.
Is my arboretum a magnet in its present state? After 30 years since I began I would take no interest in counting the numbers of visitors who are nonetheless very welcome. Their own interests and reactions are of greater import to me, and often give me valuable information I can use and need. There is the man who was ecstatic after seeing all my five-needle pines. He had no interest in other pines. Another visitor just came to sit on the grass in my "Play-Pen" and think his own thoughts. I love the groups. They are so focused and eager for a good time, and so many have become my friends.
I love each plant. My days are filled with the joy their life and development bring. Death, disease and disaster are my constant concern. Each in turn requires a response. But there is also germination, first flowering and fruition. There lies exhilaration. The greatest miracle of all is germination. Pamper, protect and care I can do. I cannot predict results. If the seed does ultimately germinate, the seed's own energy is invoked, while I can only stand by and marvel.
| Barnard's Inn Farm homestead
Photo by Polly Hill
Has the place changed in 30 years? The wildlife will tell me it has not. On a moonlight night the deer emerge from their homes in the woods and come to forage on my plants. Barn owls raise their family in their special abode in our "Far Barn." Quail still sit upon the stone walls, calling their "bob-white" to proclaim their ownership of territory. Rabbits hide under sheltering shrubs and hornets build their nests in trees. Skunks still roam the fields and dig homes under the barns. They do as they always have and will, when given a chance.
My special interest is with plants, however: trees, shrubs, vines, forbs, grasses, mosses, lichens. The island has its own flora, as diverse as the animal world. Many of these species are growing in my fields. I chose the best of those that survive and can share my special environment. As an amateur horticulturist I find that the learning is the fun. I have learned by setting myself some special goals:
1. To find the best trees for wind shelter on the island.
2. To find plants that bloom in the summer when so many people are here to enjoy them.
3. To keep the plantings simple, keep the centers of the fields open, and keep them appropriate to rural New England.
4. To enhance the vistas I have created while working on the paths.
5. To make each plant show off its potential through good cultural care.
In the end, do I have an arboretum or a garden? Or does it matter? I have made a place for learning, where all may enter and walk at their pleasure. What holly will grow in my droughty fields? What camellia will grow and bloom on Martha's Vineyard? What rhododendrons and azaleas will live and grow on our farm? And in summer, what plant will put on its best show when the friends, families and visitors come to our shores?
The layout of the plantings was not an overwhelming problem, even though I am not a landscape architect. The bones of the plan were already there, beginning in the late 17th century, with the placement of the barns, and later the stone walls, which defined the different fields. From the beginning my plan was to keep the centers of the fields open, since that was, to me, the basic nature of the Vineyard charm. Walking to and fro through the fields helped to locate a natural arrangement of the paths. Some openings in walls were needed and made - daring and scary decisions.
As to the placement of each plant, growing most of the plants from seed gave me from two to four years to read and learn, and think about their individual requirements and appearance, a feat I best accomplished in the hours in bed before one has to get up and become active. Two watchwords guided the planning. Keep it simple both in concept and in detail, and keep it appropriate to the Vineyard. Also, Winterthur has made me keenly aware of the value of vistas. So much for garden design.
Here are some of the more than 60 plants I have selected to introduce. I hope that in time all will be on the market. The process of naming and selecting differs in each instance. The fact of survival from seed to maturity limits available choices in the first place. Furthermore, a plant must be unique in some important way vis-a-vis its competition to be considered worthy of naming, such as health, hardiness, form, color, rarity, or charm.
Pines were the first genus I explored, as they would provide wind shelter for other trees. At one time there were 35 species and cultivars, the species largely grown from seed. I hoped to find the best for seaside and windy conditions. Hurricanes, storms, and diseases wiped out my early conclusions one by one. No pines have yet been selected and named, but I have my eye on a cultivar of the Japanese white pine, Pinus parviflora, as an ornamental. Pinus parviflora is a richly evolving species. There are already selections made by the Japanese. Many other conifers have been added in time. Many plants are good. Is one outstanding in enough ways?
Hollies I love, and ultimately I made 12 selections in three species and a hybrid, mostly grown from seed. These have been enumerated in the winter 1987 issue of Arnoldia, so I will not detail them further at this time.
Camellias were tried with the encouragement of Dr. Russell Seibert of Longwood Gardens who was engaged in a parallel program of camellia breeding at the same time. My effort has not been without some satisfaction and some useful conclusions, but I have made no introductions of camellias as yet.
The fourth genus, Rhododendron, was pushed upon me by the enthusiasm of Dr. Rokujo of Tokyo, an experienced amateur breeder of rhododendrons, introduced to me by Dr. Seibert. We have been exchanging materials and correspondence overseas ever since 1956 when we first met in Tokyo. He has a wide and informed interest in plants both hardy and tender, and an amiable weakness for any flower whose color is a deep rich blue. He has enriched my collections with innumerable choice plants of many species.
In due time I found myself working with clematis, cornus, malus, magnolias, stewartias, and others. Today I can count 64 introductions in eight genera, and nearly all are registered with their proper authorities. These are listed in the accompanying table.
Rhododendrons and Azaleas
Rhododendrons, as apart from azaleas, are represented by four selections. 'Big Yak' is an F-1 hybrid of the species Rhododendron yakushimanum, a huge plant that should grow about 15 feet tall by 15 to 20 feet wide. Grown from ARS 1966 seed, it is covered from top to bottom with trusses of cherry red to white on nearly every terminal.
'Samisen' is named for the popular three-stringed instrument of Japan, recalling the three color phases of yakushimanum flowers. An F-1 sibling of 'Big Yak', 'Samisen' is closer to the species yakushimanum if one can judge by its smooth and dense branching and the rusty red indumentum developing on the reverse of the leaves late in the year.
The third rhododendron introduction is a true species yakushimanum, the seed collected wild on Yaku Island, off southern Japan. It is named 'Wild Wealth' to commemorate the book by that name, co-authored by Marion Rombauer Becker, who was a gifted member of our Rare Plant Group. 'Wild Wealth', the rhododendron, is a medium sized yak about 5 feet by 5 feet in 29 years from seed. It has bloomed for two or three years only, but has an unmistakably elegant appearance all year long. When in new leaf it is close to a second blooming in eye-catching charm.
The species Rhododendron makinoi I have grown from Japanese seed offered by the ARS Seed Exchange, lot 182 of 1967. I have registered a strong plant with blue-green leaves and abundant flowers as 'Lydia Richards'. It succeeds in partial shade and wind shelter, blooming in May.
| R. makinoi 'Lydia Richards'
Photo by Polly Hill
In the long list of North Tisbury azaleas, the prize plant in my opinion is another wild seedling, this time from Taiwan, where the species Rhododendron nakaharae is endemic. Its parent grew on a mountain whose English name is 'Mount Seven Star'. So that is also the plant's name, R. nakaharae 'Mount Seven Star'. The Rhododendron Species Foundation offers this cultivar in their plant distribution listing.
Dr. Rokujo had a different plant of nakaharae in his garden and sent me several packets of seeds from the crosses he made using it, both as a seed parent and pollen parent. Those crosses using nakaharae as a parent have resulted in the group of ground cover azaleas, now the best known and most popular of the North Tisbury azaleas. After many years of crosses made by the Japanese among their own native azaleas, the use of nakaharae, endemic to Taiwan, by Dr. Rokujo, produced a distinctly new breed of azaleas.
They are very late blooming, June and July, ground hugging, cascading, creeping, thickly twiggy, and hardy in Zone 6 azaleas. My names for them are: 'Alexander', 'Michael Hill', 'Joseph Hill', 'Wintergreen', 'Late Love', 'Pink Pancake', 'Marilee', 'Red Fountain', and 'Susannah Hill'.
| R. 'Michael Hill'
Photo by Polly Hill
Rhododendron sanctum is a rare Japanese species deserving popularity. It is shrubby in habit with astounding deep green, glossy leaves in threes, each one almost a triangle. My selection 'Zeke' has thick, rubbery leaves that admirably set off the crimson flowers. These resemble R. vaseyi in form. The whole plant makes a dark rich impact, with grace in detail. It blooms in June and has not been well tested for hardiness, currently growing in the shelter of my Play-Pen.
| "Play-Pen" with 'Michael Hill' and 'Gabrielle Hill' in bloom.
Photo by Polly Hill
It appears to be impossible to produce a white flower from a nakaharae cross, the red color is so dominant, but Dr. Rokujo sent me an unnamed hybrid azalea, also late blooming and hardy, but not quite so twiggy or low, that I named 'Yuka'. It is a Satsuki type and the best white of the North Tisburies. He also sent me 'Yaye', 'Midori', 'Matsuyo', and 'Eiko San'.
'Louisa' is a fine low hybrid as are her siblings 'Gabrielle Hill' and 'Bartlett'.* 'Louisa' is an excellent pink, very smooth-faced and long blooming. 'Gabrielle Hill' is more ruffled, more open growing and a bit deeper pink. 'Bartlett' is becoming a great favorite. The color is more peach-pink than the other two siblings. All three are low and compact.
My earliest introductions I called the Music Street Trio, named for a street in West Tisbury. They are 'Andante', 'Trill', and 'Hot Line'. 'Andante' is peach-pink, similar to 'Wakaebisu'.* 'Trill' is a large ruffled brilliant scarlet. 'Hot Line' is a large crimson. All three are early bloomers.
A tall, very fragrant lavender with soft fuzzy leaves, blooming with late lilacs, purple iris, and 'Nancy of Robinhill', is 'Lady Locks'. 'Libby' and 'Corinna Borden' are selections from seed of a white kaempferi azalea in Dr. Rokujo's garden. 'Corinna Borden' is the palest of pinks, and delicious where color schemes require that non-white delicacy. 'Libby' is a richer pink, a trifle on the lavender side. Both are hardy, abundantly floriferous and dwarf compared to the species R. kaempferi.
Well known is the Choptank River group of R. atlanticum, intensely fragrant in late May and early June. Julian and I made many birding trips in our peninsula in the 1950s. In the vicinity of Dover, Del., on the Maryland border in 1958 Julian found an azalea growing in a wooded area by the road. We brought home a rooted piece to our Delaware garden. It was winter and we had to wait for spring to see the flowers.
Their fragrance and beauty prompted me to send some material to Dr. Skinner for identification. He knew it well and assured me it was coastal azalea atlanticum. In that area of Delaware it had hybridized with R. periclymenoides, resulting in some pink blended with the white of the typical species. Many seedlings resulted from the seed I gathered. One group planted at Barnard's Inn Farm is now a solid hedge 6 to 7 feet high.
Another selection from the same area, growing wild, I grew and named 'Marydel', the name of the nearest town. It is outstanding in color, form and fragrance. These azaleas belong in any garden. They are so at home and at ease, flowering early in June. Both 'Marydel' and the Choptank River group are highly stoloniferous and undemanding of moisture. They grow at times in areas swampy wet in winter and baked hot and dry in summer. I would consider them candidates for colder zones than my 6.
| R. 'Sunlight'
Photo by Polly Hill
My favorite azalea, I suppose, is an American native. The seed came from the wild at a place called Gregory Bald, high in the Smoky Mountains. Its name is 'Sunlight', and it has been difficult to photograph the exact coloring. Its particular blend of rose, orange, and old gold makes it outstanding. Rhododendron bakeri is its species. The leaves are distinctive, too, a dark green bullate. Its two siblings are 'Sizzler', a hot orange with a paler leaf, and 'Chalif', a mustard orange, 10 days earlier to bloom. Fourth of July brings visitors who make a special tour to enjoy 'Sunlight' in bloom. 'Sunlight' should be available soon on the market.
Dr. Henry Skinner, past director of the U.S. National Arboretum and one of the most famed experts on our native deciduous azaleas, made a cross of R. prunifolium and R. serrulatum. He brought me a plant for trial in Barnard's Inn Farm when it was a tiny rooted cutting. It matured into a tall shrub, about 5 feet, but dense and abundantly covered with flowers. They were a creamy white with a wide milky-pink edge, blooming in August when their display was especially welcome.
Dr. Rokujo allowed me to name it for him, 'Tsuneshige Rokujo'. But out of deference to the market it is also registered as 'Shigi', his nickname.** I am pleased to honor him with Dr. Skinner's selection of our native plants.
| R. 'Tsuneshige Rokujo' syn. 'Shigi'
Photo by Polly Hill
At home in the deep south of Georgia, Alabama, and Louisiana there grows a magnolia with the largest leaves of any species, Magnolia macrophylla. This seedling tree bloomed in nine years from seed, and its seed produced flowering trees in another nine years. The fact that it grows in Zone 6, Coastal Massachusetts, is a contribution to the northern range of its adaptability. My husband likes big white flowers and, at 11 inches across, this is my largest available. So I have named my selection 'Julian Hill'. The flower is very nearly pure creamy white, without red blotches, as are its progeny.
Magnolia hypoleuca 'Lydia' is a seedling selection of a Japanese species. 'Lydia' was first noted when immature because of a comment by Dr. David Leach pointing out its slender oval form rising from a strong central stem, similar to the form of M. 'Wada's Memory'1. Later the flowers proved well-formed with a lemony and pleasant fragrance. 'Lydia' blooms in June, after frost. This selection is suitable for a small garden, as magnolia 'Julian Hill' is not. 'Lydia' is named for my youngest grandchild.
One of the three crabapples I have named is now in wholesale production in Oregon. Malus 'Louisa' is a hybrid of unknown parentage, grown from the seed of a large-fruited tree growing in the garden of Todmorden, Swarthmore. My seedling is a weeper. It holds its rosy pink color from bud to full bloom, and it has been considered disease free on five counts. This was observed by Professor Les Nichols, the crabapple specialist of Pennsylvania State University. Also it is fragrant. The sprawling seedling was tied up to 5 feet until sturdy enough to stand alone. It is named for my daughter, Louisa, who considers herself a fragrance freak.
Malus hupehensis 'Wayne Douglas' is a seedling selection planted from the first seed offered in 1959 by the American Horticultural Society. Its flowers and fruits are larger than the norm, and its form is massive and impressive, even in winter when the branchlets resemble giant black thorns. Malus sargentii is allowed to grow naturally wide and kept tidy by annual pruning. The seedlings are uniformly acceptable, so there is no excuse for making a selection.
Julian and I have long been on the lookout for narrow, upright pencil-shaped plants, and we found one on the New Jersey Turnpike. It has been named Juniperus virginiana 'Slender'. Grown in full sun it stays tight and narrow with a well tapered top.
The first kousa dogwood selection was made by Bob Hebb, then at the Arnold Arboretum, for its tall, narrow habit. It is named 'Steeple'. He observed that it would be useful in a small space. Emboldened by his interest, other selections were made: 'Square Dance' for its flower shape, 'Gay Head' for the shape of the tree, 'Big Apple' for the size of its fruits, 'Julian' for its unusual flowers and their appeal, 'Blue Shadow' for its maturing leaves, darker and more leathery late in the season.
| Cornus 'Blue Shadow'
Photo by Polly Hill
Later 'Snowbird' was selected for its compact, sturdy habit, shorter and smaller in every way, but resistant to heavy snow. 'Pollywood' is high-rating in form, floriferous, disease resistant.
Mr. Don Shadow, a nurseryman of Winchester, Tenn., asked for cuttings of any others I liked beside the named ones, so I sent cuttings of a few others showing special promise. Outstanding is the one now called 'Blue Shadow'. He raved over the plant on the phone one August, so I ran out and looked it over again. Late in the season the leaves get more substance and sheen as they mature, many of the flower bracts hold on until the fruits ripen and, best of all, this year it appeared to be resistant to the anthracnose disease called Discula, which is prevalent in many of my allée of 30 trees.
Stewartias first attracted my attention when Mr. William Frederick guided me to a native Stewartia malacodendron growing in a Philadelphia back yard. In 1960 he sent me wild-collected seeds of malacodendron from the southern end of the Delmarva peninsula. I had flowers bloom for the first time in June 1989 after 29 years from seed! It is now registered 'Delmarva'.
Seed of the Korean stewartia was collected from Bussey Hill in the Arnold Arboretum. One of the resulting trees was named 'Ballet' because the form had an airy grace. Stewartia 'Ballet' has 3½-inch open flowers that produce an abnormal number of fat seeds in each capsule. Donald Wyman writes that the capsules have "little ornamental value." But I find them a real plus, especially in winter, complementing the ornamentally colored patchy bark. Winter bark of Stewartia koreana is patterned in curves of silver, pale mauve and subdued cinnamon.
Flower samples from my stewartia forest of S. pseudocamellia and S. koreana reveal a wide variation in flower size in this group of seedling trees from 1 to 4 inches. The 4-inch selection is named 'Milk and Honey'.
Stewartia ovata, a shrubby Southeastern native species, with the common name "mountain stewartia," has been known to grow, since early colonial time, at the low level site of Williamsburg, VA. My three named individuals came from that site as seeds in 1968. They were selected for their diverse colored filaments: rose, purple, and white. Their leaves, largest and widest of the genus, take on rich deep tones in fall and add to their distinction.
Oxydendrum arboreum, the sorrel tree, has grown from a 1959 seed to handsome maturity. My selection is called 'Chameleon' because of its variable fall color. I have found that some seedlings were slow to get sturdy roots. his was reflected in crooked growth and die-back. After a few years in permanent position I cut the plants to the ground and let a new strong straight shoot develop. This avoided further stress on the roots from transplanting. Now my 20-foot tall 'Chameleon' is covered with white flowers in summer, like a lacy veil thrown over its head and reaching down to its knees. I have experienced no insect or disease problems.
In 1958 I planted seeds from two clematis vines in my Delaware garden. They were 'Henryi' and 'Ramona'. There was also growing in the garden a plant of 'Huldine', a Clematis viticella hybrid. Seventeen years later two selections were made at Barnard's Inn Farm from the many planted along our stone walls. 'Starfish' is a June bloomer, all white, whose bracts elongate into long petals, suggesting a starfish. Until maturity the blossoms lack extended tails on the sepals.
| Clematis 'Starfish'
Photo by Polly Hill
The second selection was clearly a viticella hybrid, blooming in July and into August. The flowers are abundant, an appealing blend of light purple and rose. I have planted them on my Bower for seclusion and shelter, where they grow up to its peak each summer. They are fed and watered to insure satisfying their hunger. I regard roses and clematis as pigs in that respect.
In making the selections I have to like them a lot, year after year, and they must like my garden year after year. Also, if they do not contribute "class" in their own way they do not interest me.
BARNARD'S INN FARM INTRODUCTIONS
AZALEA SPECIES, DECIDUOUS:
R. bakeri. Chalif. 68-029-01. Seed 1961. Seed collected wild, Gregory Bald, by Mr. Holsomback of Georgia. This very tall plant blooms about 10 days before 'Sunlight' and 'Sizzler'. Its color is a glowing gold, flowering abundantly, so strong a color it needs green or yellows nearby. Flowers late June. It is a trifle easier to root than its siblings. Grows to 8 ft.
R. sanctum cv. Zeke 67-009. Source: ARS Seed Exchange #197, 1967, from Japan. Deciduous shrub about 5 ft. x 5 ft. Bloomed about 20 years from seed. Leaves in threes, rhomboid, leathery, shiny, dark green. Flowers 2 or 3 in a truss, wide open-faced, crimson, with cluster of pale anthers protruding beyond the petals, adding sparkle. Flowers in late June or July.
R. viscosum var. glaucum cv. Delaware Blue. 77-022. Plant collected in wild near Pierson's Corner, Del., 1967. Flowering is in July with flowers typical of the species, white and sticky, and very fragrant. The selection and naming refers to the glaucous bluish leaves which contrast with neighboring green leaved plants, becoming more blue as the season advances. It is stoloniferous. Grows to 8ft.
R. bakeri cv. Sizzler. 68-029-03. Seed 1968. Seed collected by Dr. Holsomsback of Georgia in the wild on Gregory Bald. Plant habit is compact. The flowers are a brilliant hot orange, which is enhanced by the bright green leaves, whose reverse is a pale bluish color. Like 'Sunlight' this is very difficult to root. Flowers in round balls of florets in maturity. Azalea galls some years. Grows to 5 ft.
R. bakeri cv. Sunlight. 68-029-02. Seed 1968. Seed collected wild by Mr. Holsomback of Georgia, from Gregory Bald. This tall plant blooms through July. Its branches are layered, displaying their flowers effectively. The color is splendid and indescribable, a blend of orange, deep rose and dull gold. It is very hard to root. The foliage is a very dark green, quilted in texture, setting off the glowing flower colors. Flower buds are decorative, edged in yellow. Grows to 8 ft.
AZALEA SPECIES, EVERGREEN:
R. nakaharae cv. Mount Seven Star. 69-074. Seed 1969. Source: collected wild in Taiwan, by C. S. Kuo, where it is endemic. Plant habit is dwarf, spreading, twiggy, and tightly branched. Foliage is glossy with many reddish hairs on margins and veins of the leaves. The flowers are 5 cm across, pure cadmium red, a color without peer. Hardy in Zone 6 it is moderately easy to root. This is an exceptional plant ornamentally, and valuable for breeding. Chi Sying Shan is the Chinese name for Mount Seven Star. Blooms in late June and July. Grows to 15 in.
AZALEA HYBRIDS, DECIDUOUS:
R. cv. Corinna Borden. 65-041-02. Seed 1965. Source: Dr. Rokujo. Seed from a white-flowered kaempferi, open pollinated. A compact dwarf cultivar, with pale, powder pink flowers 4 cm. across, a sister seedling of 'Libby'. Blends well with reds and deep pinks to soften the color. Flowers late May. Grows to 2 ft.
R. cv. Lady Locks. 64-005-01. Seed 1964. Seed from Dr. Rokujo ('Wakasagi', open pollinated). This is a tall semi-evergreen shrub, blooming in late May. The flowers are lavender-rose, 6.5 cm across, lightly ruffled and richly fragrant. From a narrow base the plant spreads wide at the top providing shelter for small plants underneath. Originally macrosepalum this plant has been recently reclassified. May bloom. Prone to white fly. Grows to 6 ft.
R. cv. Libby. 65-041-01. Seed 1965. Seed from Dr. Rokujo from white-flowered kaempferi. A compact dwarf cultivar with exceptionally fine color of pink flowers. As in all kaempferis, the color fades from rich pink to a lighter medium pink during blooming time. Flowers are 4 cm across, and abundant. Grows to 2 ft.
R. cv. Marydel. 79-004. Plant collected wild in 1967. It is a strongly colored rosy natural hybrid of atlanticum and periclymenoides, the Choptank River group. The Choptank group is atlanticum crossed in the wild with periclymenoides (nudiflorum). The name is for the town near its habitat. Deciduous, carefree, exceptionally fragrant. Blooms late May, early June. Grows to 5 ft.
R. cv. Tsuneshige Rokujo, syn. 'Shigi.' 72-100. R. serrulatum x R. prunifolium, hybridized by Dr. Henry T. Skinner #819-4. A small rooted cutting was given me for trial in 1972. This upright plant blooms from late July until mid August, with an abundance of rose-edged white flowers. It is 4 ft. high in 15 years. Selected for its beautiful flowers and late summer display. Hardy in Zone 6. Grows to 5 ft.
AZALEA HYBRIDS, EVERGREEN. THE NAKAHARAE GROUP:
R. cv. Alexander. 63-001-01. (R. nakaharae x R. 'Kin-no-sai') Seed 1963. Source: Dr. Rokujo. Dwarf ground cover, spreads and roots as it goes. Leaf 2.5 cm x .9 cm wide, red hairy. Flower vermilion red, 7 cm x 5.5 cm. Blooms in June. This plant will hang down over a wall or hanging basket. Grows to 2 ft. in 30 years.
R. cv. Fuzzy. 71-021. Source: USDA PI 325035, collected wild in Taiwan (nakaharae x [possibly] oldhamii, open pollinated). It may have hybridized in the wild with R. oldhamii, says Dr. John Creech. The plant may not be hardy beyond Zone 7 and needs shelter in Zone 6. In my garden it is very flat and very soft hairy. It is wide spreading and low. The flowers are bright orange-red. It is a novelty, and choice. Grows to 10 in.
R. cv. Joseph Hill. 61-079-04. (R. nakaharae x R. cv. W. Leith) Seed 1961. Source: Dr. Rokujo. (R. 'W. Leith' is a Hillyer plant in Rokujo's garden.) Plant is a low, tight, twiggy, spreading ground cover. It has a smooth and elegant habit. Flowers 6.5 cm wide, cadmium red 44-A. The richest red, and closest in color to 'Mount Seven Star'. Blooms early in June. Grows to 18 in.
R. cv. Late Love. 61-077-02. (R. cv. Chinyeyi x R. nakaharae) Seed 1961. Source: Dr. Rokujo. Plant is low, tight, spreading ground cover. Flower is 6.5 cm x 5 cm, color is apricot pink 50-B, C, with purple blotch 54-B. This blooms the latest of the group, at the end of June and into July, grows to 18 in.
R. cv. Marilee. 61-080-01. (R. nakaharae open pollinated) Seed 1961. Source: Dr. Rokujo. Plant is very vigorous, tightly twigged, and mounding. Flowers 5.5 cm x 5 cm. Color red 47-C with blotch 52-A, a sparkling combination. It blooms in late June. A rapid grower. Grows to 3 ft.
R. cv. Michael Hill. 61-077-01. (R. cv. Chinyeyi x R. nakaharae) Seed 1961. This plant makes a low, twiggy ground cover, the fastest creeper of this group. Flower 7 cm wide, 5 cm long, frilled. Color is bright salmon pink 49-A, B with blotch 57-A, purple. Blooms in June. Grows to 2 ft.
R. cv. Nakami. 61-080-C. Seed 1961. Source: Dr. Rokujo (open pollinated nakaharae). This is an ideal rock garden subject, being very low, tightly grown, and slow. In 28 years it is 6½ in. x 23 in. only. Flowers are red, foliage is small, shiny, and hairy, as is the species. The name translates into "beautiful nakaharae."
R. cv. Pink Pancake. 61-077-03. (R. cv. Chinyeyi x R. nakaharae) Seed 1961. This plant is low, late-blooming, smoothly rounded, and creeping. Leaf is small and narrow. Flowers 6.5 cm wide x 5.5 cm long. Color is peach-pink, 48-C with blotch 57-A. June flowering. Grows to 18 in.
R. cv. Red Fountain. 61-084-02. (R. cv. W. Leith x R. nakaharae) Seed 1961. Plant is mounding in habit, then down-curved, blooming in late June. It is twiggy. Flower is red, 4 cm wide, with some petaloidy, lightly blotched strong red. June flowering. Grows to 2 ft.
R. cv. Susannah Hill. 61-084-01. (R. cv. W. Leith x R. nakaharae) Seed 1961. Plant is tight, round, twiggy, low. It blooms in early June. Leaf is broadly rounded and red-hairy. Flower is dark red, 4 cm wide, with some petaloidy, resembling a rose-bud. It makes good hanging baskets. Grows to 2 ft.
R. cv. Wintergreen. 61-080-02. (R. nakaharae open pollinated) Seed 1961. Source: Dr. Rokujo. Plant is low, late, tightly twiggy, spreading in a circular shape. It blooms in mid June. Leaf is 3.5 cm long, 12 mm wide, red hairy above, white hairy beneath. It holds a good green in winter. Flower is light red, 6.5 cm wide and lightly ruffled. June flowering. Grows to 18 in.
AZALEA HYBRIDS, EVERGREEN, COMPACT, OF JAPANESE ORIGIN IN CULTIVATION
R. cv. Andante. 88-049. Seed 1963. Plant upright, compact, vigorous grower. Flowers 7 cm across, deep coral pink with purple blotch, ruffled. Grows to 3 ft.
R. cv. Bartlett. 61-076-07 (R. cv. Chinyeyi x R. cv. W. Leith) Seed 1961. Plant is dwarf and low, blooming through most of June. Flowers medium pink and lightly ruffled, 6 cm wide, sibling of 'Louisa'. Grows to 18 in.
R. cv. Gabrielle Hill. 61-076-01. (R. cv. Chinyeyi x R. cv. W. Leith) Seed 1961. source: Dr. Rokujo. Plant is dwarf and somewhat open in habit. It blooms through most of June. Flower is rosy pink and very ruffled, 48-D with blotch 54-A. Flower is 6 cm wide, 4.5 cm long. Blooms early June. Grows to 2 ft.
R. cv. Hot Line. 63-003-01. Seed 1963. Source: Dr. Rokujo. Plant habit is compact and mounding, blooms in early June. Flower is 7.5 cm across, 5 cm deep. Color is deep purplish pink 54-B,C and ruffled. Blotch 53-B. Leaf is 3.5 cm long and 1.5 cm wide. It is a hardy Satsuki for Zone 6. A very showy plant. Grows to to 2 ft.
R. cv. Jeff Hill. 61-083-01. (R. cv. Maruba-Osaka Zuki x unknown) Seed 1961. Source Dr. Rokujo. Plant is dwarf and tightly grown with evergreen box-like leaves, and box-like habit. It blooms through June. Flowers 6.5 cm across, entire, not ruffled, deep pink or light red with deeper red blotch. Grows to 2 ft.
R. cv. Louisa. 61-076-05. (R. cv. Chinyeyi x R. cv. W. Leith) Seed 1961. Source: Dr. Rokujo. Plant is dwarf and low to prostrate. It blooms an unusually long time in June. Corolla is wide open, 6 cm across, unruffled. Color is light pink 50-C, D, with no tinge of orange in the pink. Grows to 18 in.
R. cv. Matsuyo. 62-036. Source: rt. ctg. Dr. Rokujo, unnamed but selected by him in cultivation. This Satsuki plant is low and compact. The leaf is 4 cm long and 13 mm wide. Flowers are 8 cm wide and 5 cm deep, lightly ruffled. The color is white with a faint yellow-green blotch. The petals are rounded, striped, speckled, and sectored with red, 39-B. Propagation is complicated by the duplication of non-white twigs. Sent to me in 1957. June bloom. Grows to 3 ft.
R. cv. Midori. 79-011. Source: rt. ctg. Dr. Rokujo, 1957. This large flowered Satsuki maybe better suited to Zone 7 and south. Introduced without a name, but selected in cultivation. The flower is large, to 11 cm and ruffled. The color is white with a green throat. It is named for Mrs. Midori Nishikawa. Early June bloom. Grows to 2 ft.
R. cv. Trill. 63-003-03. Source: Dr. Rokujo selected seeds from Satsukis in cultivation. Seed 1963. Plant habit is compact and mounding. It blooms in early June. Leaf is 3.5 cm x 1 cm wide. Flower is 7 cm x 5 cm and ruffled. Color is bright red, 41-B, C, blotch is 45-A, a conspicuous plant. Grows to 2 ft.
R. cv. Yaye. 61-041 (rhymes with hi). Source: rt. ctg. Dr. Rokujo, 1957, unnamed. Better suited to Zone 7 and south. Plant is semi-dwarf and compact with a bluish leaf. The flower is single white and very large, to 11.5 cm, wavy and ruffled, often with 6 lobes. Occasional red stripes and streaks appear, as in other Satsukis. It is named for Miss Yaye Hirooka of Tokyo. June bloom. Grows to 2 ft.
R. cv. Yuka. 64-046 (pronounced yoo-kah). Source: Dr. Rokujo, unnamed rt. ctg., 1957, from selection in cultivation, Tokyo. The plant is dwarf, mounded and tightly branched. It is hardy in Zone 6 and vigorous. Foliage is deep green, the leaves broad and with excellent substance. Flowers are 9 cm across, white, single, and blooming in late June. Occasional sports appear in stripes, sectors, etc., in coral pink. This is an impressive plant either in or out of bloom. It is named for Mrs. Yuka Otsuki of Tokyo. Grows to 3 ft.
These are plant I have grown from seed that exist at present in Barnard's Inn Farm arboretum, but have been passed over by me for introduction, as a matter of personal taste. These, however, have been collected by others, with my permission, and are now in certain nurseries and gardens.
R. cv. Hill's Single Red. (R. nakaharae x 'Kin-no-sai'). Unregistered. Grows to 18 in.
R. cv. Flaming Mamie (R. nakaharae x R. kaempferi). Unregistered. Grows to 2 ft.
Rhododendron cv. Big Yak 66-005-02. Seed 1966. Source: ARS Seed Exchange, 1966. F-1 hybrid of "self hand pollinated Exbury form of yakushimanum" This is a large and massive plant, 8 ft. tall and 10 ft. wide in 18 years. Leaf is 17 cm x 5 cm. Flowers are a rich red-purple in bud, opening to pink, and fading to white. Flowers are ruffled and 5 cm across, and 18 florets in a truss, blooming in May. Grows to 12 ft.
Rhododendron cv. Samisen 66-005-01. Seed 1966. Source: ARS Seed Exchange, 1966. F-1 hybrid of "self hand pollinated Exbury form of yakushimanum". The plant form is a half dome, 5 ft. tall and 10 ft. wide in 20 years. The surface is smooth flowing with compact branching. The upper surface of the leaf is mat green and has a rusty red indumentum on the reverse late in the season. The flower buds are deep pink, opening to a rosy pink with tan blotch, and fade to white. The whole plant has the elegance of the species. The name recalls the Japanese three-stringed instrument because of the three color phases of yakushimanum flowers. Grows to 8 ft.
Rhododendron yakushimanum cv. Wild Wealth. 61-081. Seed 1961. Source: Dr. Rokujo, who wrote: "Collected wild at Hana-no-yego of Mount Miya-No-Ura, on Yakushima." A medium sized yak, the true species. It has the richly thick indumentum of the species, changing from white to fawn color. It is 5 ft. tall in 25 years. The leaves are small and re-curved, very glossy on top, 7 cm long, 3 cm wide. The flowers are 4.5 cm wide, in trusses 10 cm wide. The buds are pink, the flowers fade from pink to white. This plant is distinguished every month, especially so when the new leaves are standing erect and softly snow white with new indumentum. The name is to honor Marion Becker, horticulturist and author of Wild Wealth, a book co-authored with Paul Bigelow Sears and Frances Poetker, in 1971. Grows to 5 ft.
Rhododendron makinoi cv. Lydia Richards. Blooms mid May, brilliant pinks, from Japanese seed. Grows to 6 ft.
Clematis cv. Gabrielle 58-002-02 (C. viticella hybrid).
Clematis cv. Starfish 58-002-03 (C. lanuginosa hybrid).
Cornus kousa cv. Big Apple 61-046-02
Cornus kousa cv. Blue Shadow 87-058.
Cornus kousa cv. Gay Head 61-046-04.
Cornus kousa cv. Julian 61-046-05. Unregistered.
Cornus kousa cv. Snowbird 61-046-06.
Cornus kousa cv. Square Dance 61-046-03.
Cornus kousa cv. Steeple 61-046-01.
Cornus kousa cv. Pollywood 61-046-07. Unregistered.
Ilex crenata cv. Muffin 66-018-01.
Ilex opaca cv. Barnard Luce 61-056.
Ilex opaca cv. Martha's Vineyard 62-012.
Ilex opaca cv. Nelson West 61-047.
Ilex opaca cv. Villanova 84-059.
Ilex verticillata cv. Bright Horizon 58-004-01.
Ilex verticillata cv. Earlibright 58-004-02.
Ilex verticillata cv. Quansoo 84-068.
Ilex verticillata cv. Quitsa 58-004-03
Ilex verticillata cv. Shortcake 58-004-05.
Ilex verticillata cv. Tiasquam 58-004-04.
Ilex verticillata cv. Aquinnah 58-004-06.
Ilex verticillata cv. Chickemmoo 58-004-07.
Ilex cv. Pernella 88-006 (I. cornuta x I. pernyi) x I. aquifolium.
Juniperus cv. Essex Weeping 72-068. Unregistered.
Juniperus cv. Slender 74-034. Unregistered.
Juniperus virginian cv. Martha's Vineyard. Unregistered.
Malus hupehensis cv. Garlands 59-038-02.
Malus cv. Louisa 60-051.
Malus hupehensis cv. Wayne Douglas 59-038-01.
Magnolia macrophylla cv. Julian Hill 61-044-01.
Magnolia hypoleuca cv. Lydia 68-004-01.
Stewartia koreana cv. Ballet 67-004-01.
Stewartia x Henryae cv. Skyrocket 60-026. (S. koreana x S. monadelpha).
Stewartia malacodendron cv. Delmarva 62-039.
Stewartia koreana cv. Milk and Honey 67-004-02.
Stewartia ovata cv. Royal Purple 68-028-01.
Stewartia ovata cv. White Satin 68-028-02.
Stewartia ovata cv. Red Rose 68-028-03.
Oxydendrum arboreum cv. Chameleon 59-021-01.
Pinus strobus cv. Foothill 85-048. Unregistered.
Polly Hill, a member of the Greater Philadelphia Chapter, was the recipient of the ARS Gold Medal in 1990 for her accomplishments in propagation, selection and distribution of superior plant forms of rhododendrons and azaleas. She started her arboretum from seed in 1957 on Martha's Vineyard, an island off Cape Cod, Massachusetts. She has frequently contributed to the Journal.
* Unregistered but not in conflict with a registered name. **Dr. Rokujo's nickname 'Shigi' has been accepted by the International Registration authority as a valid commercial synonym for the plant registered as 'Tsuneshige Rokujo.