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Volume 57, Number 3
Summer 2003

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The Lost Rhododendrons of Townhill Park, Southampton, England, Part 1
The Distribution of Fred Rose's 1939 Seed Amongst the Seattle Area Nurserymen and Hybridisers
John M. Hammond
Starling, Bury
England

"If you want a friend, you must be one yourself," Charles P. Raffill, Assistant Curator, Royal Botanic Garden, Kew.

        Townhill Park House and Gardens, located up-river and to the north-east of the city and port of Southampton, dates from 1792 when construction began on the site of an earlier derelict structure. In 1910 Sir Samuel Montagu, a wealthy London banker, purchased the estate for use as a summer residence. He engaged Leonard Rome Guthrie to extend the house and re-face the front of the building in an Italian style. The following year his father passed away and he inherited the baronetcy, becoming the second Lord Swaythling. In the same year he engaged Gertrude Jekyll to lay out the formal gardens to reflect the Italianate appearance of the house, but the work was interrupted by the 1914-18 War and not completed until 1920. The formal gardens, together with the other gardens, arboretum, woodlands and grounds were the most striking feature of the estate. Extensive kitchen gardens, together with hundreds of square feet of heated and cold greenhouses, and two home farms, meant that the estate was self-sufficient for virtually all meat, produce, vegetables, fruit and flowers. The latter two items included exotic types and were placed, at Lady Swaythling's behest, in the main rooms every day, both summer and winter. There was a constant stream of guests passing through the house and gardens. Queen Mary, a personal friend of Lord Swaythling, was a regular visitor and a bedroom was reserved in the house for her exclusive use.
        In 1927 Sir Stuart Albert Montagu became the third Lord Swaythling and, with Fred Rose, his Head Gardener, developed an interest in hybridizing rhododendrons that was to span the following twenty years. Together they received at least thirteen Awards of Merit from the R.H.S. in the years 1932 to 1946. Frederick J. Rose was a typical old-time horticulturist with experience in every aspect of the profession, and he supervised a team of around twenty-five highly skilled gardeners and groundsmen. It is said that Mr. Lionel de Rothschild tried for years to lure Rose to Exbury as Head Gardener, but Rose remained loyal to Townhill Park.

R. 'Anna'
'Anna'
Photo by Harold Greer

        Ray Thornton's interesting article, "The Lost Rhododendrons of Southampton," in the pages of the 2001 R.H.S. Rhododendron, Camellia and Magnolia Yearbook, in general, dealt with the cross that was later named 'Anna' and its subsequent use for hybridization by Halfdan Lem and other enthusiasts in the Pacific Northwest. However, the article raised a number of questions in my mind as to what actually happened to the seed from the 1939 crosses made at Townhill Park Gardens by the Swaythling/Rose duo and ultimately sent to Seattle, Wash., in the dark days at the beginning of WWII. For some years now I have had more than a passing interest in the hybridization work carried out by the "pioneers" in the Pacific Northwest, particularly as a significant proportion of the plant material they utilized had originated from Great Britain and Ireland.
        As has been the case all too frequently, the records associated with the hybridization work of these "pioneers" have either been "lost" or the opportunity was not taken to record their work on tape or on paper whilst they were alive. There is a lesson here for all of us who have an interest in the history of plants, gardens and gardeners. But that aside, I have come across Fred Rose's name on many occasions over the years whilst tracing hybrid names across the Pacific Northwest and, again more recently, whilst helping to unravel aspects relating to the hybridisation work of "pioneers" who lived in the Eugene area.
        Like all good detective stories, this tale has many interwoven threads that contain clues but all too few answers. After many hours spent retracing my steps it became apparent that a short commentary on some of the plant material covered in Ray Thornton's original article would not do justice to the pages of notes that I had accumulated. Indeed, a close study of notes and articles in old A.R.S. and R.H.S. publications suggests that the seed from Fred Rose was used to raise a significant number of hybrids, but many of the comments in these publications have not been noted and carried forward in later records of the hybrids. In a similar way, there are references to seedlings raised by, and a number of crosses made and named by, the members of the Rum-Dum Club that do not seem to appear anywhere else.
        So, somewhat against the odds, it has been possible to unravel at least some of the threads and build up an outline of what probably happened over sixty years ago. Little is published about many of the people, places and plants involved in this story so, with the aim of providing a wider perspective for readers on both sides of the Atlantic, I have added some background details. It is also hoped that this attempt to collate the information available into an article will provide food for thought for my many friends in the Pacific Northwest, and perhaps some will be able to add to, comment on, or suggest where corrections are needed, to the story. In this way we all learn. A list of the main references can be found at the end of the article.

The Rum-Dum Club
In the years preceding WW II the "pioneers" with an interest in rhododendrons were relatively few in number, and they were scattered geographically across Washington State and the Willamette Valley of northern Oregon. In the 1930s no society or organization existed in the Pacific Northwest to serve the needs of gardeners and horticulturists with a specific direct interest in rhododendrons. Yet the enthusiasm of some of these pioneers was not diminished by the need to travel many miles to exchange rhododendron information. And, so it was that around 1934 a small close-knit group of enthusiasts began to meet informally at each other's homes where they ate and drank well whilst debating the directions that hybridization might best be pursued, or where plant material might be acquired. Over the following decade the membership grew under the unlikely name of the "Rum-Dum Club," and amongst its members at one time or other were: Halfdan Lem, Seattle, Wash. Ben Nelson, Suquamish, Wash. Ernest Anderson, Seattle, Wash. William (Bill) Whitney, Camas, Wash. Harry Madison, Seattle, Wash. Lester Brandt, Tacoma, Wash. John Henny, Brooks, Ore. Endre Ostbo, Bellevue, Wash. Hjalmar Larson, Tacoma, Wash. Don McClure, Seattle, Wash. Carl Sifferman, Seattle, Wash. Ben Lancaster, Camas, Wash. George Grace, Portland, Ore.
        The names on this listing are immediately recognizable as key rhododendron nurserymen and enthusiasts of their day and, just like Lem, Ostbo and Whitney, they were self-taught nurserymen and hybridisers with little, if any, formal horticultural training.

Lord Swaythling, Fred Rose and Crosses They Made at Townhill Park
Lord Swaythling and Fred Rose had the uncanny "knack" of being able to make a constant stream of successful crosses, and in the decade prior to WW II they also remade a number of earlier crosses that they felt could be improved by use of better forms of the parents. Typical of the latter was a cross of Rhododendron campylocarpum x R. fortunei ssp. fortunei made by Col. Stephenson R. Clarke of Borde Hill that was subsequently exhibited in 1926 named 'Gladys'. 'Gladys' gained an A.M. (R.H.S.) in the same year and, coincidentally, was introduced by Townhill Park. Swaythling/Rose remade the cross using a good deep coloured from of R. fortunei ssp. fortunei, and a few years later they staged a display of the flowers from this group of seedlings at the top of the hall at the 1934 Show of the Rhododendron Society. E.J.P. Magor, a pioneer hybridiser and highly regarded plantsman, wrote in the Show Report that "the form of the flowers and the delicacy of their colours was one of the most beautiful things in the Show." An A.M. (R.H.S.) was awarded at the Show to the seedlings, and this hybrid was named 'Mary Swaythling' (syn. 'Gladys var. Mary Swaythling'), registered and introduced by Townhill Park.
        'Mary Swaythling' found its way to the Pacific Northwest prior to 1939 and was used by members of the Rum-Dum Club in their hybridization programmes. Similarly, around the same date, members of the group were raising seed of 'Margaret Dunn', a Rhododendron fortunei ssp. discolor x (R. dichroanthum ssp. dichroanthum x R. griersonianum) cross made at Townhill Park. Interestingly, the rather late-flowered 'Margaret Dunn' is still commercially available in the Pacific Northwest.

R. 'Margaret Dunn Talisman'
'Margaret Dunn Talisman'
Photo by Harold Greer

        C.P. Raffill, of whom we shall hear more later, was first to flower a hybrid of Rhododendron griersonianum after he took home part of the R. griersonianum truss that gained an F.C.C. (R.H.S.) at the 1924 Show in London. He used the pollen to make a cross with one of his earlier hybrids, 'Nero', an unregistered plant and not to be confused with the A. Waterer cross of the same name. When this flowered in 1928 Raffill named it 'Kew Scarlet', also unregistered. The other part of the truss from the 1924 show was taken back to Bodnant where Lord Aberconway's gardener, Mr. Puddle, was instructed to make a number of crosses. This work led to the Bodnant cross 'Fabia' (R. dichroanthum ssp. dichroanthum x R. griersonianum).
        Lord Aberconway was reputed to have been "very careful" in regard to distributing plant material from any of the better hybrids created at Bodnant. So, the circulation of these plants tended to be restricted to Aberconway's friends, and they did not appear commercially for some years. Meanwhile, Raffill had raised and flowered Rhododendron griersonianum from R.B.G. Kew collection seed that he then proceeded to cross with a number of other hybrids. By around 1930 these crosses were all in flower when a party of R.H.S. members visited Kew. The rhododendron growers amongst the party were so impressed that they went home with the intention of making their own crosses, and this led to a proliferation of R. griersonianum hybrids. Among these were a number of re-makes of the 'Fabia' cross, including the 'High Beeches' form, the 'Tower Court' form and, not entirely unexpected, the 'Townhill' form. Several large gardens in Britain have a history of re-making some of the well-known hybrids of the time, and the Swaythling/Rose duo were no exception. What made Townhill Park different was the duo's somewhat uncanny success that resulted from sourcing and using better forms of the original parents. We will probably never know which form of 'Fabia' the Rum-Dum Club members made considerable use of in their hybridization programmes, but it is highly likely that is was supplied by Rose and, if that was the case, then it would almost certainly have been the 'Townhill' form. It is also highly likely that Swaythling/Rose used their unregistered form of 'Fabia' in their 1939 crosses. For this reason I have used the 'Fabia' parentage rather than the name itself in the following notes. Despite the conjecture, it is evident that the correspondence between Halfdan Lem and Fred Rose had commenced some years prior to 1939, probably shortly after Lem became a member of the Rhododendron Association around 1934.
        In the course of introducing Fred Rose, a speaker at the Rhododendron Conference organized by the R.H.S. in London on April 27th, 1949, Lord Digby said he thought "Mr. Rose had a special flair for choosing the right parents and hybridizing the right way, and that hardly anyone has produced better rhododendron hybrids than he has at Townhill."
        In the course of his talk Fred Rose commented that "by the end of 1938 we had made just over 400 crosses at Townhill...In 1939 we made a considerable number of carefully thought out crosses from which we expected good results...Then came the Second World War...We did, however, sow the 1939 seeds, and the plants were put into nursery beds...They received no further attention...As a result we lost many of these crosses...Townhill has since been sold and very many of the plants I prized so much are distributed over the country...It is interesting to record that I sent seed of most of the 1939 crosses to a correspondent in Seattle, Wash."

So What Actually Happened to the 1939 Seed?
Fred Rose is said to have mailed seed from most of his 1939 crosses to Halfdan Lem in Seattle. Some years ago Ray Thornton wrote to Lord Swaythling to seek confirmation that this was the case, and Lord Swaythling replied this was correct. So, as an average of around forty crosses a year were being made at Townhill, it would be reasonable to assume that the seed from a substantial number of crosses was mailed to Lem. Gwen Bell of Seattle tells us, "Halfdan Lem shared Fred Rose's seed with Mr. Ostbo, Del James, Ben Lancaster and many others." As will become apparent later, Del James was not a recipient of the seed as he did not meet with Lem and others in Seattle until the early 1940s, but as will become apparent he did play a significant role in this tale. It can be deduced from later references that the "others" who grew out the seed were also members of the Rum-Dum Club so maybe the seed was shared out at a meeting of the group.
        This is where the real problems start. Plants raised from the seed are only referred to in old publications if the plants or trusses were exhibited at a show, or if they were used for further hybridization, or if they were considered good enough to name, or received an award. So, where does this lead us? From a logistics point of view it is easier to comment on each of the Rum-Dum Club members who received seed or seedlings. For ease of reference the seedlings that were either exhibited, named or registered are listed alphabetically in Table 1, together with details of the cross and availability. I need to emphasise that the listing is only as accurate as the information that I have been able to locate and interpret. Many entries in this table are speculative as further verification is still required. Nevertheless, I believe it forms a reasonable starting point for further discussion.
        We should be grateful to J. Harold Clark of Long Beach, Wash., whose steadfast work on behalf of the Society included encouraging hybridisers to register their plants, particularly in the period immediately prior to the publication of The International Rhododendron Register in 1958. Clark was also instrumental in providing the International Registration Authority (I.R.A.) with what details were available at the time from the A.R.S. files for many of the Pacific Northwest hybrids that were in circulation in the period immediately prior to the publication of the Register. The I.R.A. then registered the plants, rather than individuals associated with the plants, and for this reason 1958 is a key date in Table 1.
        I have only described in the following notes the colour and form of the flowers where a particular cross could not be found in the usual reference books. In some instances even these basic details are not available, which is an omission that needs to be addressed. Details are also scant for instances where there has been more than one clone of a particular cross in circulation. I have used the word "circulation" in both the text and tables to imply that plant material was given, exchanged or traded between nurserymen and/or enthusiasts; it does not mean that the hybrid was introduced commercially.

Table 1. The Lost Rhododendrons of Townhill Park, Southampton. Seed of the 1939 crosses sent to Seattle, Wash., by Fred Rose. Rhododendron hybrids raised, grown out, exhibited, named and registered in the Pacific Northwest
Name Cross See Note #1 See Note #1 Comments
'Anna' 'Norman Gill' x 'The Honourable Jean Marie de Montague'
Colour photo in Salley & Greer, 1986, opp. p.5
(E & I) 1952
1952 (ARS)
1958 (Reg)
(C) prior to 1952
Fred Rose (H);
Halfdan Lem (R, G, E, N, C, ARS & I); IRA (Reg)
P.A. (A.R.S.) 1952. (Awarded subject to naming a selection of 'Anna' grex, but selection never made.) Five different clones are said to exist in the P.N.W. and more than one of these is commercially available.
'Buff Lady' (R. neriiflorum ssp. neriiflorum x R. dichroanthum ssp.
dichroanthum) x R. fortunei ssp. discolor
1958 (Reg)
(C) prior to 1958
Fred Rose (H);
Ben Lancaster (R, G, E, N & C); IRA (Reg)
Raised in Ben Lancaster's garden. Occasionally available in the P.N.W.
'Burgundy' 'Britannia' x 'Purple Splendour'
Colour photo in Salley & Greer, 1986 opp. p. 52
Colour photo in Gelderen & Hoey Smith, 1992, p. 43
1958 (Reg)
(I) prior to 1958
Fred Rose (H);
Halfdan Lem (R, G, E, N, C & I); IRA (Reg)
Still available in the P.N.W. Occasionally available in Australia & New Zealand.
Darlene Group R. griersonianum x 'Armistice Day' (E & C) 1952
1958 (Reg)
(I) prior to 1956
Fred Rose (H);
Halfdan Lem (R, G, E, N, C & I); IRA (Reg)
P.A. (A.R.S.) 1952. Not commercially available.
'Day Dream Red form'* R. griersonianum x 'Lady Bessborough' Unregistered
(C) after 1950
Fred Rose (H);
George Grace (R, G, N & E)
Raised in George Grace's garden. Not commercially available.
'Edward Dunn' (syn. 'Apricot #5') (R. neriiflorum ssp. neriiflorum x R. dichroanthum ssp.
dichroanthum) x R. fortunei ssp. discolor
Colour photo in Gelderen & Hoey Smith, 1992, p. 370
(C) prior to 1958
(E) 1958
1958 (Reg)
(I) prior to 1958
Fred Rose (H);
Endre Ostbo (R, G, E, N & I); IRA (Reg)
P.A. (A.R.S.) 1958. Available in the P.N.W. and New Zealand.
'Emily Allison'
(syn.'White Nes Loderi')
'Mrs. J.H. van Nes' x 'Loderi King George'
Colour photo in Salley & Greer 2nd Ed. 1992 p. 161.
(C) 1967
1983 (Reg)
(I) 1983
Fred Rose (H);
Halfdan Lem (R, G, Nsyn., E & C);
Joy & Joe Bailey (N, Reg & I)
Still commercially available in the P.N.W.
'Eulalie Wagner' 'Mrs. J.H. van Nes' x 'Loderi King George' 1974 (Reg)
1962 (I)
Fred Rose (H);
Halfdan L e m ( R , G , N & C ) ;
Fawcett (Reg & I)
P.A. (A.R.S.) 1963. Not commercially available.
'Finest Pink Albatross'* R. fortunei ssp. discolor x 'Loderi' unregistered
(C) prior to 1956
Fred Rose (H);
Halfdan Lem (R, G, N & C)
Not commercially available.
Flame Group (Loderi Group x 'Corona') x R. griersonianum 1958 (Reg
(C & I) prior to 1956
Fred Rose (H);
Halfdan Lem (R, G, E, N, C & I); IRA (Reg)
Not commercially available.
'Fred Rose' R. lacteum x 'Mary Swaythling' unregistered
(C) 1962
Fred Rose (H);
Halfdan Lem (R, G, N & C)
Not to be confused with the plant of the same name and cross that was named and registered by Fred Rose in 1961. Not commercially available.
'Golden Belle' (syn. 'Margaret Dunn. var. Golden Belle') R. fortunei ssp. discolor x (R. dichroanthum ssp.
dichroanthum x R. griersonianum)
1958 (Reg)
(I) prior to 1958
Fred Rose (H);
John Henny (R, G, E, N, C & I); IRA (Reg)
Occasionally available in the P.N.W. and the U.K.
'King of Shrubs'
(syn. 'Orange Azor')
R. fortunei ssp. discolor x (R. dichroanthum ssp.
dichroanthum x R. griersonianum )
Colour photo  in Van Veen, 1969, p. 62.
(E & C) 1950
1958 (Reg)
(I) 1950
Fred Rose (H);
Endre Ostbo (R, G, E, C, N & I), I.R.A. (Reg)
P.A. (A.R.S.) 1950. Available in P.N.W. and New Zealand.
'Lem's Fortyniner'
(syn. 'Seedling No. 49' and 'Lem's 49')
'Mrs. J. H. van Nes' x 'Loderi King George' (E & C) 1951
1952 (ARS)
1997 (Reg)
(I) after 1952
Fred Rose (H);
Halfdan Lem (R, G, Nsyn., E, Reg & C);
Frank Mossman & Cyril Ward (I);
Herb Spady and the Willamette Study Group (N & Reg)
P.A. (A.R.S.) 1951. (Awarded subject to naming a selection of "Seedling No.
49" grex, but selection never made.) Not commercially available.
'Margaret Dunn Talisman' (syn. 'Margaret Dunn var. Talisman') R. fortunei ssp. discolor x (R. dichroanthum ssp.
dichroanthum x R. griersonianum)
Colour photo in Salley & Greer, 1986, opp. p. 196.
1958 (Reg)
(C & I) prior to 1958
Fred Rose (H);
Rudolph Henny (R, G, E, N, C & I); IRA (Reg)
Raised in Rudolph Henny's nursery. Last available in the late-1980s in the P.N.W.
'May Song' 'Bow Bells' x 'Day Dream' (E & C) 1963
1972 (Reg)
(I) 1972
Fred Rose (H); George Grace (R);
Robert Bovee (G & E); Bovee Nursery (N, Reg & I)
Raised in George Grace's garden. Available in the P.N.W.
'Mount Mazama' Loderi Group x 'Britannia'
Colour photo in Salley & Greer, 1986, opp. p. 213.
1967 (E & C)
1980 (Reg)
(I) 1967
Fred Rose (H);
George Grace (R, G, E & C);
Louis & Molly Grothaus (N, Reg & I)
Raised in George Grace's garden. Available in the P.N.W.
'Mrs. Donald Graham' ('Corona' x R. griersonianum) x Loderi Group
 Colour photo in Salley & Greer, 1986, opp. p. 288
Colour photo in Gelderen & Hoey Smith, 1992, p. 231
1954 (E & C)
1958 (Reg)
(I) prior to 1958
Fred Rose (H);
Endre Ostbo (R, G, E, N, C, & I)
P.A. (A.R.S.) 1954. A.E. (A.R.S.) 1958. Occasionally available in the P.N.W. and in the U.K.
'Peach Lady' (R. neriiflorum ssp. neriiflorum x R. dichroanthum ssp.
dichroanthum) x R. fortunei ssp. discolor
1958 (E)
1958 (Reg)
(C & I) prior to 1958
Fred Rose (H);
Ben Lancaster (R, G, N & C)
Raised in Ben Lancaster's garden. Occasionally available in the P.N.W.
'Pink Nes Loderi'* 'Mrs. J.H. van Nes' x 'Loderi King George' unregistered
(C) prior to 1958
Fred Rose (H);
Halfdan Lem (R, G, N & C)
Not commercially available.
'Red Loderi'* 'Loderi King George' x 'Earl of Athlone' unregistered
(C) prior to 1958
Fred Rose (H);
Halfdan Lem (R, G, N & C)
Thought to have been sent to Lem as cutting material prior to 1939. There was a conflict in respect of Lem's choice of name in regard to the I.R.A. registration process. Not commercially available.
'Thelma' R. griersonianum x 'Armistice Day' (E) 1959
1961 (Reg)
(C & I) prior to 1959
Fred Rose (H);
Halfdan Lem (R, G, E, C, Reg & I)
P.A. (A.R.S.) 1959. Not commercially available.
'Tomeka' (R. dichroanthum ssp. dichroanthum x R. griersonianum)
x R. decorum ssp. decorum
1978 (Reg)
(C) prior to 1962
(I) 1979
Fred Rose (H); Halfdan L e m ( R );
Del & Rae James (G, N & C );
Hadley Osborn (Reg & I)
Raised in Del James's garden from a seedling given by Halfdan Lem. Occasional available in the P.N.W.
Name not known 'Loderi' x R. souliei unregistered Fred Rose (H);
Halfdan Lem (R & G)
Raised in Halfdan Lem's nursery. Noted by George Grace as a fine cross. Not commercially available.
Name not known 'Britannia' x R. griersonianum
Black/white photo in A.R.S. Bulletin Vol. 5, p. 122
unregistered
(E) 1951
Fred Rose (H);
George Grace (R, G, E & C)
P.A. (A.R.S.) 1951. (Awarded subject to naming a selection from the grex, but a selection was never made.) Raised in George Grace's garden. Not commercially available.
Name not known 'Peter Koster' x 'Loderi' unregistered
(E) 1949
Fred Rose (H);
Halfdan Lem (R, G, E & C)
Raised in Halfdan Lem's nursery. Not commercially available.
Name not known 'Britannia' x 'Earl of Athlone' unregistered
(E) 1953
(C) prior to 1958
Fred Rose (H);
Halfdan Lem (R, G & C)
Raised in Halfdan Lem's nursery. Not commercially available.
Name not known R. griersonianum x 'Britannia' unregistered
(C) 1945
Fred Rose (H);
Halfdan Lem (R, G & C)
Raised in Del & Rae James's garden from a seedling given by Halfdan Lem. Not commercially available.
Name not known R. griersonianum x 'Armistice Day' unregistered
(C) prior to 1946
(E) 1948
Fred Rose (H);
Halfdan Lem (R, G & C);
Del & Rae James (E)
Raised in Del & Rae James's garden from a seedling given by Halfdan Lem. Not commercially available.
Name not known R. lacteum x 'Mary Swaythling' unregistered
(C) 1946
Fred Rose (H);
Halfdan Lem (R, G & C)
Raised in Del & Rae James's garden from a seedling given by Halfdan Lem. Not commercially available.
Name not known  (R. neriiflorum ssp. neriiflorum x R. dichroanthum ssp.
dichroanthum
) x R. fortunei ssp. discolor
unregistered
(C) prior to 1947
Fred Rose (H);
Halfdan Lem (R, G & C)
Raised in Del & Rae James's garden from a seedling given by Halfdan Lem. Not commercially available.
Name not known 'Mrs. J.H. van Nes' x 'Loderi' unregistered
(C) prior to 1947
Fred Rose (H);
Halfdan Lem (R, G & C)
Raised in Del & Rae James's garden from a seedling given by Halfdan Lem. Not commercially available.
Name not known R. wardii ssp. wardii x R. souliei unregistered
(C) prior to 1953
Fred Rose (H);
Halfdan Lem (R, G & C)
Raised in Half da n Le m's nursery. Seedling acquired by Karl Sifferman. Not commercially available.
Note #1: The following symbols are used in columns 3 & 4:
(H) Hybridised by
(R) Raised from seed by
(G) Grown to first flower by
(E) Exhibited by
(N) Named by
(C) Circulated by
(I) Introduced by
(ARS) Date of plant data being recorded by A.R.S. Plant Registry in the years between the late-1940s and 1958.
(Reg) Date of plant being registered by the International Registration Authority (IRA). The R.H.S. was appointed in 1956 as IRA; the earliest true registration date is 1958 and at that time, under a "grandfather clause," all known names recorded by the A.R.S. Plant Registry were considered to have been registered.

*Asterisk indicates name not registered.
Seed Raised by Halfdan Lem
There is little doubt that Halfdan Lem enjoyed the most success with Fred Rose's seed. Much has been written about Lem's hybridization work and the seedling he named 'Anna' ('Norman Gill' x 'The Honourable Jean Marie de Montague') for which data was recorded by the A.R.S. Plant Registry in 1952 and subsequently registered by the I.R.A. in 1958. 'Anna' became a parent to many of Lem's finest crosses, including the Walloper Group and 'Lem's Cameo'; however, there are relatively few biographical details available for Lem himself. Neither have I been able to find a substantive listing of the seedlings and crosses he worked with. Gwen Bell does tell us that Lem traveled to England and met Fred Rose, presumably in the 1950s, so at least these two characters did have an opportunity to discuss their hybridization work. A number of other seedlings, less well known than 'Anna', were also used by Lem in his hybridization programme, and it is also evident from the parentage of many crosses made by Rum-Dum Club members that they shared plant material from the seedlings they raised. Lem began hybridizing in 1934 and continued each year so that by 1956 over 1000 crosses had been made. At this date J. Harold Clark tells us: "More than 500 of his own seedlings have bloomed besides a great number from English seed, and there are now in all stages of development over 100,000 more to be grown on, studied and evaluated."/p>
R. 'Burgundy'
'Burgundy'
Photo by Harold Greer

        Among the Townhill seedlings raised by Lem was 'Burgundy' (Britannia' x 'Purple Splendour'), a distinctive plant with large leaves and a dome-shaped burgundy-red truss that he used many times as a parent. The cross 'Armistice Day' x R. griersonianum produced a seedling that Lem named 'Darlene', and this hybrid received a P.A. (A.R.S.) in 1952. Both were registered by the I.R.A. in 1958. 'Thelma' had the same parentage and received a P.A. (A.R.S.) in 1959 and was registered by Lem in 1961.
        'Finest Pink Albatross' (R. fortunei ssp. discolor x 'Loderi') was considered to be a hybrid well worth registering, but this does not appear to have occurred and the plant is probably not in cultivation.

R. 'Emily Allison'
'Emily Allison'
Photo by Harold Greer

        Another of Rose's crosses that Lem made good use of was 'Mrs. J.H. van Nes' x 'Loderi King George', as over the years several seedlings were named. One of the promising seedlings that Lem used from this cross in his hybridization programme was 'White Nes Loderi', but whilst he named the seedling and circulated it in 1967 he did not register it. Another seedling from this cross that he named and circulated was 'Pink Nes Loderi'. The first of these two is pearly pink, with a small red eye, which fades gracefully to almost white, and the other clone is a deep non-fading pink, also with a small red eye. Joy and Joe Bailey registered, introduced and renamed 'White Nes Loderi' in 1983 as 'Emily Allison' but no further reference to 'Pink Nes Loderi' has been found. Also from the same cross came 'Seedling No. 49', referred to in more recent years as 'Lem's 49', with funnel-shaped, fuchsine pink and darker veined flowers, that was granted a P.A. (A.R.S.), subject to naming, in 1952. Only three brief references to this seedling have been found; however, we are told that Frank Mossman and Cyril Ward introduced the plant and it was subsequently registered in 1997 by Herbert Spady and Willamette Chapter (A.R.S.) Study Group under the name of 'Lem's Fortyniner'. Frank Mossman of Vancouver, Wash., became acquainted with Lem in his later years and obtained seedlings to add to his collection of Lem's hybrids. Another seedling from the same cross was 'Eulalie Wagner' that received a P.A. (A.R.S.) in 1963 and had been introduced by Fawcett in 1962. Fawcett registered the name in 1974 and listed Lem as both hybridiser and raiser; however, it is highly likely that this plant was raised from Rose's seed.

R. 'Eulalie Wagner'
'Eulalie Wagner'
Photo by Harold Greer

        Incidentally, 'Emily Allison', 'Eulalie Wagner' and 'Lem's Fortyniner' were registered by a later generation of enthusiasts as being of 'J.H. van Ness' parentage, whereas, in the early A.R.S. publications, Don McClure (a Rum-Dum Club member) and the James's indicate the parentage of the cross as 'Mrs. J.H. van Ness'. Confusion has arisen at some stage. Perusal of older publications suggests that 'Mrs. J.H. van Nes' was much more widely distributed in Great Britain and Ireland whereas 'J.H. van Nes' is somewhat rare, probably due to the latter being somewhat bud-tender and susceptible to late spring frosts. The converse appears to be the case in respect of the Pacific Northwest where 'J.H. van Ness' was of particular interest because of its long-lasting flowers. In my view 'Mrs. J.H. van Ness' is more likely to be the correct parentage and I have used this in Table 1. However, I have not been able to verify this from my researches on this side of the Atlantic.

R. 'Flame #1'
'Flame #1'
Photo by Harold Greer

        'Flame' ([Loderi Group x 'Corona'] x R. griersonianum) was registered in 1958 by the I.R.A. as "Flame Group," but few details are known about this cross other than a plant was exhibited in a display by Endre Ostbo at the Seattle Show in 1954. Around that date it came up for consideration at a meeting of the A.R.S. Awards Committee, but discussion was deferred because of the lack of sufficient background information for the cross. It would appear that Lem did not provide the committee with the details being sought. The situation is further complicated by the fact that there are two hybrids of an earlier date, and also two azaleas, that are registered with the same name.
        Rose made the earlier 'Loderi' x 'Corona' element of the 'Flame' cross back in 1926. He said, "The trusses are large and very deep; the colour is a bright pink, and the flowers tightly packed together. I have never put them before the Committee but have always thought them worthy of an award."
        'Fred Rose' (R. lacteum x 'Mary Swaythling'), a good yellow, was used extensively in Lem's hybridization work but is not to be confused with the plant registered in 1962 under the same name. This registered plant was one of the few 1939 crosses that survived WW II at Townhill Park and Fred Rose, when he was at Sunningdale Nursery, named this seedling after himself. Both hybrids were similar, but Lem's seedling did not have the red spotting in the throat and is unregistered.
        'Monique' ('Britannia' x 'Purple Splendour') is a small plant with light purple flowers, which is typical for this type of cross. There have been suggestions that this hybrid may have been raised by Lem and passed to M.R. Nelson as a seedling, who raised the plant and then registered and introduced it in 1972. However, the A.R.S. file card, apparently supplied by M.R. Nelson in 1970, does not list a hybridiser but states raised by M.R. Nelson, "flower color light purple; leaves narrow; flowers early May." No one else is mentioned, but there is a note: "This new cross bloomed the third year. It is 12 inches tall and had five trusses." So whilst we are told that Nelson was one of the Rum-Dum Club members and would have had access to the 1939 seed, it may well be that he repeated the cross made earlier by Rose. For this reason 'Monique' has not been included in Table 1.

R. 'Red Loderi'
'Red Loderi'
Photo by Harold Greer

        Whilst 'Red Loderi' ('Loderi King George' x 'Earl of Athlone') was highly regarded by Lem and used in many of his further crosses, little seems to have been recorded about this seedling. There is good reason to suggest that Rose sent Lem cuttings from this seedling prior to 1939. Rose tells us, "At Townhill we crossed 'Loderi' with 'Earl of Athlone'...and grew on forty-three of the seedlings. Of these, forty-two were very poor - mainly pink in colour - and we destroyed them. The one seedling we kept produced a loose truss like its parent 'Loderi' but in colour it was a slightly deeper crimson than even the 'Earl of Athlone'. It is very floriferous and I believe it to be a first class garden plant." Rose also explained, "To obtain the best hybrids, the best forms of both parents must be used...R. 'Loderi', the best form of which is 'King George'..." so that resolves which of the Loderi's were used in Rose's crosses. 'Red Loderi' was a parent of 'Halfdan Lem' and there have been suggestions that its root system is not strong. There is also a record of the name not being acceptable for registration in 1958 because of some conflict, although there was no other plant registered with that name at the time. However, it may well be that the I.R.A. was expecting another source to register the plant, as Rose tells us, "Several plants of it have been distributed and I was pleased to see one last year (1948) showing up well in Windsor Great Park." No record has been found to suggest that this seedling was registered on either side of the Atlantic. 'Red Loderi' was circulated in the Pacific Northwest and New Zealand.
        Another of the crosses about which little is known although exhibited by Lem in the Seattle Show of 1953 and then circulated by him is 'Britannia' x 'Earl of Athlone.' This is thought to be one of Rose's crosses but no verification has been found to date. Another promising "dark horse" that originated at Townhill Park and exhibited by Lem was the cross 'Peter Koster' x 'Loderi' that was voted the outstanding plant at the Tacoma Show in 1949. It had glistening white conical-shaped trusses with a few light red spots that formed to "ears" on the upper lobes and it also inherited the 'Loderi' fragrance. No record of either of these plants being circulated, named or registered has been found.
        Perhaps one of the most significant and somewhat unremarked of Rose's crosses raised by Lem was R. wardii ssp. wardii x R. souliei. Karl Sifferman of Seattle was intent on producing deeper yellow hybrids, and he acquired a seedling from Lem of this cross that was the best yellow he had seen. In 1953 he crossed this seedling with 'Goldsworth Orange' with the aim of utilizing the orange of the latter's R. dichroanthum parentage to deepen the yellow and its R. fortunei ssp. discolor parentage to provide large wide open flowers. Sifferman gave one of the seedlings to the late Ben Nelson who grew it to the flowering stage in a corner of his Gulch Gardens Nursery in Suquamish, Wash., guarded by the Japanese god, Hotei, who smiled down benignly from his niche on the side of a nearby building. Nelson began to propagate the seedling in 1962 and it was name 'Hotei', registered in 1969. This hybrid is still one of the most important yellows ever raised because of the depth of its canary yellow flowers. We can but wonder whose collection Rose obtained the R. wardii ssp. wardii parent from.

Acknowledgements
I would particularly like to acknowledge the help of Jay Murray, Plant Registrar A.R.S., who has meticulously carried out a back-check of Table 1 against the records, held in connection with the International Rhododendron Register, to confirm dates, spellings and to verify a number of items. Unless otherwise noted, all dates and spellings in Table 1 are consistent with the data held in connection with the International Rhododendron Register, which in some instances is different to the data published in some of the references listed above. I am also extremely grateful to Harold Greer of Eugene, Oregon, who has commented on the draft and has kindly made photographs available from his extensive collection.

References
Bell, Gwen, 1977. Halfdan Lem, hybridiser. Quarterly Bulletin, Amer. Rhod. Soc. Winter 1977, Vol. 31, No. 1.
Burns, Frances Scharen. 2001. To Have a Friend. An Exchange of Letters on Rhododendrons, Iris, Lilies, War and Peace 1945-1951. Del & James and C. P. Raffill. Big Rock Press, Vida, OR.
Coney, Ralph, and Jim Brown. 1999. Townhill Park House (A Brief History). A local paper published by The Bittern Local History Society, Southampton, England.
Elliott, James A. 1977. Lem hybrids. Quarterly Bulletin, Amer. Rhod. Soc. Winter 1977, Vol. 31, No. 1.
Fletcher, H.R. 1958. The International Rhododendron Register. The Royal Horticultural Society, London.
Fletcher, H.R. 1962. Rhododendrons on the West Coast of America. R.H.S. Rhodo. and Cam. Yearbook, 1963.
Foland, Milton. 1974. George D. Grace 1897-1974. Quarterly Bulletin, Amer. Rhod. Soc. July 1974, Vol. 28, No. 3.
Grace, George D. 1950. Rhododendron growing in the Pacific Northwest. R.H.S. Rhodo. Yearbook, 1950.
Greer, Harold E. 1996. Greer's Guidebook to Available Rhododendrons, species & hybrids, Third Edition. Offshoot Publications, Eugene, OR.
Hammond, John M. 1998. Do the crosses of Pacific Northwest hybridisers make viable plants for growing in Great Britain? The Scottish Rhododendron Society Yearbook No. 1, 1998.
Henny, Rudolph, 1951. Results of the 1951 show of the American Rhododendron Society. Quarterly Bulletin, Amer. Rhod. Soc. July, 1951. Vol. 5, No.3.
Madison, Harry R. 1954. The Seattle Rhododendron Show, 1954. R.H.S. Rhodo. and Cam. Yearbook, 1955.
McClure, Don. 1977. Lem favorites. Quarterly Bulletin Amer. Rhod. Soc. Winter 1977, Vol. 31, No. 1.
Rose, F.J. 1949. Hybrid rhododendrons. R.H.S. Rhododendron Year Book, 1949.
Salley, Homer E., and Harold E. Greer, 1992. The Rhododendron Hybrids, Second Edition. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Salley, Homer E., and Harold E. Greer. 1986. The Rhododendron Hybrids. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Thornton, Ray. 2001. The lost rhododendrons of Southampton. R.H.S. Rhodo. with Cam. and Mag. Yearbook, 2001.

John Hammond, a member of the Scottish Chapter, is the ARS Alternate Director of Chapters At Large.


Volume 57, Number 3
Summer 2003

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