The Summer Months at Crystal Springs Lake Island
A.R.S. Test Garden, Portland, Oregon
The months of July and August found but few rhododendrons in bloom. During the first week of July R. didymum bloomed in great profusion. These large plants, over twenty years of age, showed particularly well during the afternoon hours against the western sun. The nearly black flowers are practically hidden in the shadows in the morning hours, but show well in the bright sun.
Some two weeks later and near the first days of August, R. auriculatum began to show color. Usually during this period the summer is at its very best, and this year it was particularly apparent. The large, white, fragrant bells were in full bloom for a few short days, when low humidity and high temperature 95-100° F. cut short the usually long blooming period.
Much time and labor was expended during the Summer in the perpetual battle against weeds, and irrigating, but the Test Gardens reflects the care, and is now in splendid condition. The Park Commission has been most diligent in keeping weeds and grass down, and the closely cropped green turf and well kept paths are a delight to the visitor and members of the Society.
Plants that were transplanted even in the late spring, show no effects from moving. It was of particular interest to observe the recently moved forty year old R. 'Cynthias' make a normal growth and at this time they seem perfectly happy in their new location.
Not a few of the plants-received by the Society were in poor foliage when received, due to the rigorous winter of 1950. The lush new growth of foliage that has since appeared will surprise members, and many plants are hardly to be recognized if compared with their condition of last spring.
Several plants, as is always the case, have in the last weeks sent out occasional, and even full trusses of flowers. It seems that the R. sanguineum and R. lapponicum series are particularly susceptible to producing these out of season bloom. Mostly this out of season bloom is of no consequence, but hybrid, or species even a single bloom at this season always commands a second look.
Even though the past summer was the second driest on record, and the many warm nights were conducive to almost abnormal growth of foliage, few if any plants have shown any burned foliage.
Many days during the summer the sun was dimmed by the smoke of terrific forest fires that were burning throughout the Pacific Northwest.
If the early weeks of the coming Autumn are frost free there will be a super abundance of bloom to greet the coming Spring.