Logo for the Journal American Rhododendron Society

Journal American Rhododendron Society

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


Volume 50, Number 4
Fall 1996

DLA Ejournal Home | JARS Home | Table of Contents for this issue | Search JARS and other ejournals

Rhododendron 'Good Doers'
ARS Membership Survey Results
Franklin H. West
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

        As the former chairman of the ARS Long Range Planning Committee, I had the pleasure of reviewing 548 survey questionnaires received by Hase-Schannen Research Associates in 1994. A total of 125 suggestions for improvements to the ARS and the Journal have been sent to the ARS Board of Directors and the Editorial Committee. In addition, rhododendron "good doers" were compiled for each of the 12 ARS districts and Europe. The results amply demonstrate the old saying that variety is the spice of life! As the readers may have already guessed, there was no universally acclaimed rhododendron or azalea good doer, although several came very close: Rhododendron yakushimanum, R. mucronulatum and R. augustinii among the species; 'Taurus' SPA NW, 'Scintillation' SPA NE and 'Janet Blair' among the hybrids; and in deciduous azaleas, R. occidentale was the best in the West (also in Europe) and R. vaseyi in the East.
        Our present ARS district organization is arranged "by the numbers" from 1-12, but the numbers do not readily identify the geographic area in which the district resides. As hardiness and performance ratings are developed for the thousands of available varieties, it would help a great deal if each district had a geographic name in addition to its number. This would make life easier for our members to use plant ratings if these have both a named and numbered geographic area designation for where they do well. For example, District 1 could be named "British Columbia," District 5 "California," District 6 "New England," District 10 "Southeastern," etc. Perhaps each district should hold a referendum to select a suitable name.
        The greatest number of good doer plant nominees came from Washington State, Oregon and Northern Europe (soon to be the new District 13). Both states also had the longest lists of rhododendron species and hybrid good doer nominees. Relatively few azaleas made the list. Districts 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 proposed the greatest number of azalea varieties as good doers.
        The compilations that follow indicate 1) number of reports received, 2) rhododendron species nominated as good doers, 3) rhododendron hybrids nominated, 4) deciduous azaleas nominated, and 5) evergreen azalea nominated. The variety lists for each district include only those sorts that received more than two votes by respondent members. (The complete list for each district was sent to the District Director.)

DISTRICT 1, BRITISH COLUMBIA
Reports: 34; species nominated: 30; hybrids nominated: 130; deciduous azaleas nominated: 8; evergreen azaleas nominated: 14. Varieties with over two votes:
1 species: R. yakushimanum, 7.
22 hybrids: 'The Hon. Jean Marie de Montague', 10; 'Taurus', 9; 'Anah Kruschke', 5; PJM Group, 5; 'Virginia Richards', 5; 'Mrs. G.W. Leak', 4; 'Sir Charles Lemon', 4; 'Lem's Cameo' SPA, 4; 'Lem's Monarch', 4; 'Unique', 4; 'Nancy Evans', 3; 'Fastuosum Flore Pleno', 3; 'Hotei', 3; 'Loderi King George', 3; 'Loder's White', 3; 'Gomer Waterer', 3; 'Susan', 3; 'Ramapo', 3; 'Scarlet Wonder', 3; 'Mrs. E.C. Stirling', 3; 'Anna Rose Whitney', 3; 'Graf Zeppelin', 3.
Deciduous azaleas: 0.
Evergreen azaleas: 0.

DISTRICTS 2 & 3, WASHINGTON STATE
Reports: 92; species nominated: 87; hybrids nominated: 231; deciduous azaleas nominated: 11; evergreen azaleas nominated: 11. Varieties with over two votes:
18 species: R. yakushimanum, 35; R. augustinii, 15; R. impeditum, 8; R. mucronulatum, 7; R. roxieanum, 6; R. pseudochrysanthum, 5; R. decorum, 4; R. lutescens, 4; R. calophytum, 3; R. concinnum, 3; R. ponticum, 3; R. sutchuenense, 3; R. williamsianum, 3; (plus 4 azaleas; see below).
35 hybrids: 'Taurus', 30; 'The Hon. Jean Marie de Montague', 20; 'Unique', 17; 'Nancy Evans', 13; 'Lem's Cameo', 11; 'Lem's Monarch', 10; 'Grace Seabrook', 10; 'Anna Rose Whitney', 10; 'Cynthia', 8; 'Dora Amateis', 7; 'Loderi King George', 7; PJM Group, 7; 'Scintillation', 6; 'Vulcan', 6; 'Anah Kruschke', 5; 'Hotei', 5; 'Blue Ensign', 4; 'Blue Peter', 4; 'Ginny Gee' SPA NW, 4; 'Hallelujah' AE NW, 4; 'Cilpinense', 4; 'Noyo Brave', 4; 'Pink Walloper', 4; 'Blaney's Blue'*, 3; 'Bow Bells', 3; 'Christmas Cheer', 3; 'Crest', 3; 'Halfdan Lem', 3; 'Loder's White', 3; 'Molly Ann', 3; 'Purple Splendour', 3; 'Sappho', 3; 'Sir Charles Lemon', 3; 'Mrs. Charles E. Pearson', 3.
4 deciduous azaleas: R. occidentale, 6; R. schlippenbachii, 6;'Cecile', 3; R. luteum, 3.
2 evergreen azaleas: 'Hino-crimson', 4; R. kiusianum, 3.

DISTRICT 4, OREGON
Reports: 66; species nominated: 85; hybrids nominated: 183; deciduous azaleas nominated: 12; evergreen azaleas nominated: 14. Varieties with over two votes:
14 species: R. yakushimanum, 25; R. augustinii, 11; R. keiskei, 4; R. pseudochrysanthum, 4; R. roxieanum, 4; R. davidsonianum, 3; R. decorum, 3; R. fortunei, 3; R. orbiculare, 3; R. oreodoxa, 3; R. pachysanthum, 3; (plus 3 azaleas; see below).
32 hybrids: 'The Hon. Jean Marie de Montague', 18; 'Taurus', 15; 'Unique', 11; PJM Group, 8; 'Anna Rose Whitney', 8; 'Cynthia', 6; 'Anah Kruschke', 6; 'Lem's Cameo', 6; 'Scintillation', 6; 'Gomer Waterer', 5; 'Loder's White', 5; 'Vulcan', 5; 'Crest', 4; 'Dora Amateis', 4; 'Moonstone', 4; 'Mardi Gras', 4; 'Cunningham's White', 4; 'Alice', 3; 'Bow Bells', 3; 'Mrs. Furnival', 3; 'Ginny Gee', 3; 'Hallelujah', 3; 'Lem's Monarch', 3; 'Loderi King George', 3; 'Loderi Venus', 3; 'Nancy Evans', 3; 'Noyo Brave', 3; 'Purple Splendour', 3; Purple Lace', 3; 'Ramapo', 3; 'Red Eye'*, 3; 'Seņora Meldon', 3.
2 deciduous azaleas: R. occidentale, 5; R. schlippenbachii, 3.
2 evergreen azaleas: R. kiusianum, 5; 'Hino-crimson', 3.

DISTRICT 5, NORTHERN CALIFORNIA (Southern Californians grow vireyas, but here were too few reports for the good doer list.)
Reports: 37; species nominated: 41 ; hybrids nominated: 116; deciduous azaleas nominated: 6; evergreen azaleas nominated: 7. Varieties with over two votes:
7 species: R. veitchianum Cubittii Group, 4; R. nuttallii, 4; R. sinogrande, 4; R. augustinii, 3; R. burmanicum, 3; R. johnstoneanum, 3.
17 hybrids: 'Taurus', 10; 'Dame Nellie Melba', 7; 'Mi Amor', 7; 'Noyo Chief, 6; 'Lem's Cameo', 5; 'Pink Pearl', 5; 'Rubicon', 5; 'Lem's Monarch', 4; 'Loderi King George', 4; 'Fragrantissimum', 4; 'Bow Bells', 3; 'Bruce Brechtbill', 3; 'Cary Ann', 3; 'Else Frye', 3; 'Loderi Venus', 3; 'Mrs. E.C. Stirling', 3; 'Vulcan', 3; 'Anna Rose Whitney', 3.
0 deciduous azaleas.
0 evergreen azaleas.

DISTRICT 6, NEW ENGLAND
Reports: 58; species nominated: 14; hybrids nominated: 121; deciduous azaleas nominated: 22; evergreen azaleas nominated: 28. Varieties with over two votes:
8 species: R. yakushimanum, 18; R. keiskei, 6; R. minus var. minus Carolinianum Group, 4; R. mucronulatum, 4; (plus 4 azaleas; see below).
14 hybrids: 'Scintillation', 18; 'Janet Blair', 13; PJM Group, 13; 'Boule de Neige', 7; 'Anna H. Hall', 4; 'Caroline', 4; 'Nova Zembla', 4; 'Roseum Elegans', 4; 'Brown Eyes', 3; 'Catalode' (syn. 'County of York'), 3; 'Roseum Superbum', 3; 'Henry's Red', 3; 'Percy Wiseman', 3; 'Windbeam' AE, 3.
3 deciduous azaleas: R. schlippenbachii, 8; R, vaseyi, 5; R. viscosum, 4.
1 evergreen azalea: R. kiusianum.

DISTRICT 7, METROPOLITAN NEW YORK AND NORTHERN & CENTRAL NEW JERSEY
Reports: 51; species nominated: 16; hybrids nominated: 135; deciduous azaleas nominated: 21; evergreen azaleas nominated: 16. Varieties with over two votes:
7 species: R. yakushimanum, 11; R. mucronulatum, 5; R. fortunei, 4; R. minus var. minus Carolinianum Group, 3; R. dauricum, 3; R. degronianum (formerly known as R. metternichii), 3; (plus 1 azalea; see below).
25 hybrids: 'Scintillation', 33; 'Janet Blair', 17; 'Dora Amateis', 10;'Gigi' AE, 10; 'Roseum Elegans', 8; 'Wheatley' AE, 8; 'Ben Moseley', 7; PJM Group, 7; 'Vulcan', 7; 'Caroline', 6; 'Boule de Neige', 5; 'Catalode' (syn. 'County of York'), 5; 'Parker's Pink' AE, 5; 'Percy Wiseman', 5; 'Solidarity', 5; 'Nova Zembla', 5; 'Windbeam' AE, 5; 'English Roseum', 4; 'Taurus', 4; 'Atroflo' AE, 3; Cadis' AE, 3; 'Cynthia', 3; 'Ginny Gee', 3; 'Mary Fleming' AE, 3; 'Tom Everett', 3; 'Lee's Dark Purple', 3.
2 deciduous azaleas: 'Gibraltar', 4; R. schlippenbachii, 3.
5 evergreen azaleas: 'Delaware Valley White', 6; 'Ben Morrison', 4; 'Coral Bells', 3; 'Hino-crimson', 3; 'Rosebud', 3.

DISTRICT 8, DELAWARE, SUSQUHANNA & LEHIGH VALLEYS
Reports: 35; species nominated: 11 ; hybrids nominated: 114; deciduous azaleas nominated: 11; evergreen azaleas nominated: 50. Varieties with over two votes:
1 species: R. yakushimanum, 15; (plus 2 azaleas; see below).
19 hybrids: 'Scintillation', 15; 'Janet Blair', 10; PJM Group, 10; 'Solidarity', 9; 'Caroline', 7; 'Gigi', 6; 'Roseum Elegans', 6; 'Ginny Gee', 5; 'Nova Zembla', 4; 'Olga', 4; 'Taurus', 4; 'Yaku Princess', 4; 'Ben Moseley', 3; 'Blue Peter', 3; 'Chionoides', 3; 'Catalode' (syn. 'County of York'), 3; 'Mary Belle', 3; 'Mardi Gras', 3; 'Merley Cream', 3.
2 deciduous azaleas: 'Gibraltar', 3; R. prunifolium, 3.
3 evergreen azaleas: 'Hardy Gardenia'*, 4; 'Everest', 3; R. yedoense var. poukhanense', 3.

DISTRICT 9, MID ATLANTIC (Virginia & Maryland)
Reports: 33; species nominated: 13; hybrids nominated: 91; deciduous azaleas nominated: 13; evergreen azaleas nominated: 49. Varieties with over two votes:
1 species: R. yakushimanum, 13.
17 hybrids: 'Scintillation', 15; 'Janet Blair', 10; 'Cadis', 10; 'Caroline', 7; 'Gigi', 4; PJM Group, 4; 'Windbeam', 4; 'David Gable', 4; 'Arthur Bedford' (syn. 'A. Bedford'), 3; 'Brown Eyes', 3; 'Catalode' (syn. 'County of York)', 3; 'Cynthia', 3; 'Mary Fleming', 3; 'Nova Zembla', 3; 'Tom Everett', 3; 'Trude Webster', 3; 'Vulcan', 3.
0 deciduous azaleas.
2 evergreen azaleas: 'Rose Greeley', 5; 'Coral Bells', 3.

DISTRICT 10, SOUTHEASTERN U.S.
Reports: 37; species nominated: 7; hybrids nominated: 90; deciduous azaleas nominated: 22; evergreen azaleas nominated: 42. Varieties with over two votes:
2 species: R. minus var. chapmanii 4; R. maximum, 3; (plus 2 deciduous azaleas; see below).
21 hybrids: 'Scintillation', 13; 'Roseum Elegans', 9; 'Anna Rose Whitney', 8; 'Anah Kruschke', 6; 'Blue Peter', 5; 'Cynthia', 5; 'Gomer Waterer', 5; 'The Hon. Jean Marie de Montague', 5; 'Tom Everett', 5; 'Catawbiense Album', 4; 'English Roseum', 4; 'Gigi', 4; 'Janet Blair', 4; 'Taurus', 4; 'Album Elegans', 3; 'Arthur Bedford (syn. 'A. Bedford'), 3; 'Mary Fleming', 3; 'Nova Zembla', 3; PJM Group, 3; 'Vulcan', 3; 'Wheatley', 3.
2 deciduous azaleas: R. austrinum, 5; R. vaseyi, 3.
1 evergreen azalea: 'Coral Bells', 3.

DISTRICT 11, GREAT LAKES & MIDWEST TO OZARKS
Reports: 42; species nominated: 17; hybrids nominated: 146; deciduous azaleas nominated: 17; evergreen azaleas nominated: 34. Varieties with over two votes:
3 species: R. yakushimanum, 12; R. maximum, 4; R. minus var. minus Carolinianum Group, 3.
17 hybrids: 'Scintillation', 13; 'Janet Blair', 11; 'Roseum Elegans', 11; 'Nova Zembla', 9; PJM Group, 8; 'Calsap', 6; 'Catawbiense Album', 6; 'English Roseum', 5; 'Catawbiense Boursault', 5; 'Besse Howells', 4; 'Brown Eyes', 4; 'Olga', 4; 'Dora Amateis', 3; 'Hong Kong', 3; 'Spring Dawn'*, 3; 'The Hon. Jean Marie de Montague', 3; 'Windbeam', 3.
1 deciduous azalea: 'White Lights', 3.
0 evergreen azaleas.

DISTRICT 12, EASTERN CANADA (R.S.C.)
Reports: 18; species nominated: 12; hybrids nominated: 44; deciduous azaleas nominated: 17; evergreen azaleas nominated: 8. Varieties with over two votes:
1 species: R. yakushimanum, 7.
5 hybrids: 'Janet Blair', 5; PJM Group, 5; 'Calsap', 3; 'English Roseum', 3; 'Scintillation', 3.
0 deciduous azaleas.
0 evergreen azaleas.

DISTRICT13, NORTHERN EUROPE
Reports: 40; species nominated: 87; hybrids nominated: 105; deciduous azaleas nominated: 18; evergreen azaleas nominated: 6. Varieties with over two votes:
19 species: R. yakushimanum, 26; R. bureavii, 7; R. wardii, 7; R. makinoi, 6; R. brachycarpum, 5; R. ferrugineum, 4; R. racemosum, 4; R. roxieanum, 4; R. calostrotum, 3; R. camtschaticum, 3; R. rex ssp. fictolacteum, 3; R. fortunei, 3; R. orbiculare, 3; R. pachysanthum, 3; R. yunnanense, 3; (plus 4 deciduous azaleas; see below).
8 hybrids: 'Gartendirektor Rieger'*, 4; PJM Group, 4; 'Dora Amateis', 3; 'Fastuosum Flore Pleno', 3; 'Janet Blair', 3; 'Loderi King George', 3; 'Purple Splendour', 3; 'Taurus', 3.
4 deciduous azaleas: R. luteum, 5; R. schlippenbachii, 4; R. occidentale, 3; R. vaseyi, 3.
0 evergreen azaleas.

Some Observations on the Survey Results
Climate does control our choice of rhododendrons to grow in our gardens. But it is doubtful that climate alone explains why 'The Hon. Jean Marie de Montague' topped the hybrid good doer list in British Columbia (District 1) and Oregon (District 4) but came in second to 'Taurus' SPA NW in both Washington State Districts 2 and 3! Could this be Frank Mossman's influence (cross made by Mossman and registered in 1972)? This hybrid made the list back east only in Districts 10 and 11.
        Mossman would be pleased with how well 'Taurus' has done in the good doer lists, with very high marks in Districts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, and a bit less high in 7, 8, 10 and 13. Might a cross with 'Henry's Red' give it better cold tolerance?
        Rhododendron yakushimanum was the top species in Districts 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11 and 13 to make it the one almost universally acclaimed rhododendron. The warm climate of Districts 5 and 10 seems to be too much for it.
        'Anna Rose Whitney' is a good doer in Districts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 10. Perhaps a cross with 'Atroflo' AE could help extend its beauty into our Northeast.
        None of the spectacular Halfdan Lem hybrids made the list in the East or in Europe. Hopefully, hybridizers are working to help Lem shine there one day.
        With one exception of the Maddenias in California, lepidotes did not stand out in these lists. 'Ramapo' made it in Districts 3 and 4; 'Dora Amateis' in 2, 3, 11 and 13; the PJM Group in Districts 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12, which makes it the most successful lepidote hybrid thus far.
        The success of R. mucronulatum in Districts 2, 3, 6 and 7 is not surprising, but its absence from all the other district good doer lists is a bit of a puzzle. Rhododendron augustinii was deemed a good doer in Districts 2, 3, 4 and 5 but didn't get enough votes anywhere else. Might a cross with R. dauricum or R. mucronulatum help make it almost as tough as the PJM Group?
        Azaleas, perhaps because of myriad varieties, had no universally acclaimed nominees as good doers. Rhododendron schlippenbachii made it in Districts 2, 3, 4, 6, 7 and 13. Rhododendron kiusianum in its many forms was popular in Districts 2, 3, 4 and 6. No other evergreen azaleas made the list in 1, 5, 11, 12 or 13. The deciduous azalea group made a surprisingly poor showing in the good doer lists: only R. occidentale made it in Districts 2, 3, 4 and 13; R. vaseyi made it in Districts 10 and 13. Joseph Gable's reputation for breeding hardiness into his selections was held high in District 9 with 'Rose Greeley' and in District 7 with 'Rosebud'. The Kurume 'Coral Bells' excelled in Districts 7, 9 and 10. Our Azalea Committee has its work cut out for it in improving these trends!
        Eastern bred rhodies that do well elsewhere: 'Scintillation' SPA NE in Districts 2, 3 and 4; PJM Group in Districts 1, 2, 3,4 and 13; 'Janet Blair' in District 13; 'Dora Amateis' in Districts 4 and 13.
        We hope these lists may encourage hybridizers to focus some of their efforts toward using the best of these good doers as parents for hybrids that will grow in less hospitable climes.

* Name not registered.

Dr. West, a member of the Pine Barrens Chapter, is the former chairman of the Long Range Planning Committee and a past Eastern Vice-President of the ARS. He authored the series "An ARS Retrospective" appearing in recent issues of the Journal.


Volume 50, Number 4
Fall 1996

DLA Ejournal Home | JARS Home | Table of Contents for this issue | Search JARS and other ejournals