Logo for the Journal American Rhododendron Society

Journal American Rhododendron Society

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

Volume 61, Number 3
Summer 2007

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

The Lofthouse Legacy: A Sequel
Paul Wurz
Campbell River, British Columbia

        After reading the final paragraph in an article in the Journal written by Clive Justice (Spring 2005) acknowledging Jack Lofthouse's achievements in hybridizing rhododendrons, I recognized the opportunity to be a part of the Lofthouse Legacy. Aside from this conclusion of Clive's article, I recalled a conversation at the recent ARS Annual Convention in Victoria where one of my peers questioned: "I wonder how many of Jack's hybrids will still be cultivated fifty years from now?" The consensus was: "probably not very many." On reflecting on this statement I questioned the possibility of expanding our garden in Campbell River, British Columbia, to include as many of Jack's hybrids as possible, and perhaps making a contribution to continuing the existence of many excellent rhododendrons. In our small retirement nursery we manage to propagate (by cuttings) approximately a thousand plants a year. Lofthouse rhododendrons have, and will be, a significant percentage of this number.

Jack Lofthouse with his 
Jack Lofthouse with his hybrids.
Photo by Paul Wurz

A Brief History
We started growing rhododendrons in our garden in the late '70s in a very modest way. Of the first dozen or so rhododendrons that we grew: 'Frilled Petticoats', 'One Thousand Butterflies', and 'Supergold' were in the midst. Jack's cross Rhododendron degronianum ssp. yakushimanum X 'Gypsy King' was the first rhododendron that I actively pursued, and I eventually purchased a small plant from Terry Richmond in Port Alberni, B.C.
        A further interest in Lofthouse rhododendrons increased in the mid '80s when I visited, and introduced myself, to Jack in his Vancouver home with the intent of purchasing a few more of his hybrids. These visits became a regular ritual, as our third child was required to visit the Children's Hospital in Vancouver, semi-annually, for a period that extended over 15 years. As Jack and Edith Lofthouse's home was only 15 minutes away from the hospital it was a great opportunity to collect more of his plants and, more importantly, talk rhododendrons, hybridizing, and characteristics of his rhododendrons. As a relative neophyte in the rhododendron world these visits were instrumental in developing a real appreciation of the genus Rhododendron.
        On most of these visits I returned to Campbell River with a half dozen or more of his hybrids. Some of these were registered, others named but not registered, and others were untested seedlings. During later visits Jack gave permission to register any of his unregistered plants after his death. The last plant that I obtained from Jack was a small 1-inch seedling that he picked out of a small flat. He teased me with the possibility of giving me the entire flat of 50 or more plants as he felt they would probably be in better care since by then his health was failing. This flat was a culmination of 50 or more years of hybridizing. The destiny of this flat is not known to me. I recently planted this seedling, now 18 inches tall, in my garden. Unfortunately the parentage will not be known, as my final e-mail to Jack coincided with his death in January 3, 2005.

Plant Inheritance
After Jack's death (his wife Edith continues to live in their Vancouver home), myself and Ron Knight of Pender Harbor were given permission to access the remaining plants in Jack's nursery and garden, by his daughter Sue. Each of us inherited a "pick-up" of mostly potted plants. The majority were well labeled, but others had lost their tags in the last year or so prior to his death. Many of these plants have been planted in our gardens where others remain in the "sick bed" in their pots.

A Retirement Project
After considerable thought, I decided to take on the task of collecting and planting as many of Jack's hybrids as possible. The quest for his hybrids started, perusing Nursery catalogues. This was not particularly successful, as most of his hybrids were not available. Contacting other rhododendron collectors proved more successful - as various cuttings are currently in our propagating bed. Harry Wright's book Rhododendrons and Locations within British Columbia has also been an excellent reference. In this publication an extensive inventory of rhododendrons grown in British Columbia are documented with the name of the "grower." Many of these gardeners have recently been contacted. Finally, the publication of this article in the ARS Journal could help access many "growers" in the Pacific Northwest. Jack often made reference to collectors of his hybrids in Washington and Oregon.

R. 'Peach Petticoats'    R. 'Yellow Petticoats'
'Peach Petticoats'.
Photo by Paul Wurz
   'Yellow Petticoats'.
Photo by Paul Wurz
R. 'Tofino'
Photo by Paul Wurz

        Within the last year I presented a "Lofthouse Legacy" program to most of the rhododendron societies in ARS District 1. This has been a very rewarding process and I have come up with many plants. For example, 'Pink Petticoats' from Sean Rafferty in Vancouver, 'Lady of Spain' from Arthur Ralfs in Victoria, 'Rose Blewett'* from Norm Todd in Victoria, 'Party Orange'* x 'Viennese Waltz' cross from Art Kilwart in Maple Ridge, and 'Promise of Spring' from Ken Webb in Victoria. Many Lofthouse hybrid cuttings were also collected from Dr. Bob Rhodes, Ken Gibson, Norm Todd, and Garth Wedemire. Of equal importance has been making new contacts with individuals who knew Jack.

Jack's List
As Jack was in the business of hybridizing, propagating and marketing his hybrids he did have a procedure to advertise his plants worldwide. Jack's list, which he made available to nurseries and collectors, will be included in this article in an abbreviated form. Descriptions of plants, growing recommendations, awards, etc., have been deleted. His "list" was frequently added to, and updated as shown on the list. Plants that are designated with an asterisk (*) indicate which plant names have not been officially recognized or registered. Clive Justice's ARS article Spring 2005 does designate which of Jack's rhododendrons are registered.
        The list obtained from Jack is not complete, as tags on plants I inherited go as high as 125, and his published list ends at 119. For example, some of Jack's hybrids such as 'Stardancer', 'Moondancer', and 'Peach Speckles'* are not on his list. Jack often labeled named plants with numbers only, in his nursery, which created some confusion. As with many hybridizers, many of his seedlings were "farmed out" to friends and collectors increasing the difficulty of monitoring his plants. In my garden I have three of Jack's crosses of 'Party Orange'* X 'Viennese Waltz' - all different!
        On the following table I indicated the parentage, status of the plants in our garden, and those which I would hope to obtain in the future. If readers of this article do have access to some of Jack's plants that I am ďsearchingĒ for I would be interested in hearing from them.

Table 1. The Lofthouse Hybrids
NO: Plant Name: Parentage: Status in garden: Source:
1 Pink Petticoats (Jan Dekens X Britannia) Recently Planted 3 ft Sean Rafferty
2 White Wedding (R. yakushimanum1 X R. makinoi) Cuttings started K. Gibson - N. Todd
3 Canadian Beauty (Mrs Horace Fogg X Point Defiance) Established - 3 ft J. Lofthouse
4 Pirouette (R. yakushimanum1 X Pink Petticoats) Recently Planted 2 ft  
5 Snowstorm (Cary Ann X R. yakushimanum1) Established - 1 1/2 ft J. Lofthouse
6 Unnamed2 (R. yakushimanum1 X Gipsy King) Established - 3 ft. T. Richmond
7 Promise of Spring (R. strigillosum X R. arboreum) Recently Planted K. Webb
8 Cherry Float (Naomi Seedling) Established - 3 ft K. Gibson - "cutting"
9 Wally Zeglet (R. fortunei selection) Cuttings Alouette Nursery
10 Lady of Spain (Mrs Horace Fogg X Point Defiance) Reserved A. Ralfs
11 Ooh-la-la (R. yakushimanum1 X Pink Petticoats) Established - 4 ft J. Lofthouse
12 Truly Fair (White Wedding X War Paint) Searching  
13 Copper Kettles ([Souvenir of W.C. Slocock x R. apodectum] X Crest) Searching  
14 Magic Moments (R. yakushimanum1 X R. aberconwayi) Established - 2 1/2 ft J. Lofthouse
15 Sierra Sunrise (Mrs Horace Fogg X Point Defiance) Established J. Lofthouse
16 Canadian Gold (Hotei x select R. wardii cross) In Pot J. Lofthouse (Inherited)
17 Cherry Custard (Elsie Straver X Roman Pottery, Fabia Group) Established - 3 ft J. Lofthouse
18 Lemon Float (Hotei X [White Wedding x R. lacteum]) Established - 3 ft Clay Nursery
19 Golden Moments (Hotei X [Pink Petticoats x R. wardii selfed]) Searching  
20 One Thousand Butterflies (Lemís Cameo X Pink Petticoats No. 18) Established N. Todd
21 Frilled Petticoats (Hotei X [Pink Petticoats x R. wardii selfed]) Established  
22 Sunup-Sundown (Yak. x Fabia x {(Fabia x R. bureavii) x Crest)]???? Established C. Smith
23 Excalibur (Lemís Cameo X Pink Petticoats No. 8) Recently Planted Cherry Point Rhodos
24 Lemís Cameo x P. Petticoats #7 (Lemís Cameo X Pink Petticoats)    
25 Lemís Cameo x P. Petticoats #12 (Lemís Cameo X Pink Petticoats)    
26 Sierra del Oro (Crest X R. lacteum No. 13) Cuttings started G. Wedemire
27 Unnamed (R. lacteum X Point Defiance) Searching  
28 Castanets (Jan Dekens X Point Defiance No. 78) Established N. Todd
29 April Affair (Pirouette X Promise of Spring) Searching  
30 Unnamed ([Pink Petticoats x R. wardii] f2 X Corry Koster) Searching  
31 Sierra Beauty (Mrs Horace Fogg X Point Defiance) Searching  
32 Red Petticoats* (Pink Petticoats X Britannia) Searching  
33 Coral Skies (Lemís Cameo X [(Fabia x R. bureavii) x Crest]) Recently Planted C. Round
34 Rose Blewett* (Lemís Cameo X [(Fabia x R. bureavii) x Crest]) 1 Gallon Pot N. Todd
35 Yellow Petticoats (Hotei X [Pink Petticoats x R. wardii]) f2 Established Clay Nursery
36 Supergold (Hotei x Juanita) Established J. Lofthouse
37 Mantilla* (Lemon Float X [R. yakushimanum x Gypsy King] No. 18]) Searching  
38 Color Carnival* (Lemon Float X [R. yakushimanum x Gypsy King] No. 56]) Searching  
39 Unnamed (Hotei X Cameo No. 18) Established J. Lofthouse
40 Hotei x Copper Kettles No. 5 (Hotei X Copper Kettles No. 5) Searching  
41 Christmas Candles* ([Jan Dekens x R. haematodes] X May Day) Searching  
42 Party Package (Lemís Cameo X Ruby Bowman No. 25) Inherited - Planted  J. Lofthouse
43 Spring Joy* (R. yakushimanum1 X Pink Petticoats) Searching  
44 Hotei x Lemís Cameo No. 55 (Hotei X Lemís Cameo No. 55) Searching  
45A Strawberry Float* (Lemís Cameo X Pink Petticoats No.20) Searching  
46 Proposal* (Sunup-Sundown X One Thousand Butterflies No. 82) Searching  
47 Butter Brickle (Hotei X Lemís Cameo No. 82) Established J. Lofthouse
48 Tofino (Lemís Cameo X [Jalisco x King of Shrubs]) Established J. Lofthouse
49 Fusilier x Red Walloper No. 9 (Fusilier X Red Walloper No. 9) Searching  
50 Plant 83-4ó8A (Hotei X [White Wedding x R. lacteum]) Searching  
51 Lí Orchid ([Elsie Straver x R. apodectum] X [White Wedding x R. lacteum]) Searching  
;52 Plant 83-4-14c (Hotei x [White Wedding x R. lacteum] x Copper Kettles)?? Searching  
53 Sierra Sunset (Sunup-Sundown X Lemís Cameo) Searching  
54 Burnished Brass* (Hotei X Copper Kettles) Searching  
55 Painted Skies (Sunup - Sundown X Lemís Cameo) Recently Planted J. Lofthouse (Inherited)
56 Unnamed (Hotei X Selected Whitneyís Best Yellow) Searching  
57 Unnamed ([(Souvenir of V.C. Slocock x R. apodectum] x Crest] X [Fabia x R. bureavii x Crest])????    
58 Enticement (Sunup-Sundown X Lemís Cameo) Searching  
59 Silver Trumpets  (Sunup-Sundown X Selected Whitney hybrid) Searching  
60 Star Ship One* (Lemís Cameo X [ Jalisco x (Crest x King of Shrubs)]) Searching  
61 OíCanada (Lemís Cameo X [Jalisco x (Crest x King of Shrubs)]) Established Hammondís Rhodos
62 Plant 83-6-5A (Sunup-Sundown X One Thousand Butterflies) Searching  
63 Sierra Stars (Sunup-Sundown X One Thousand Butterflies) Searching  
64 Viennese Waltz (Lemís Cameo X Pink Petticoats No.2) Established J. Lofthouse
65 Unnamed  (Lemís Cameo) X [(Fabia x R. bureavii) x Crest #1]) Searching  
ADDED 1986
66 Plant 84 - 4 - 11 A  (Lemon Float X [R. yakushimanum x Gypsy King]) Searching  
67 Plant 85 - 5 - 7A (Lemís Cameo X Ruby Bowman) Recently Planted N. Todd ???
68 Spanish Gold x Sonata (Spanish Gold* X Sonata) Searching  
69 Unnamed (Lemís Cameo X Ruby Bowman) Searching  
70 Sunrise Serenade (Hotei X Lemís Cameo) Searching  
71  Sierra Treasure (Crest X R. lacteum) Searching  
72 Mother Lode* ([C.I.S. x Lemís Goal] X [Jalisco x Yellow Creek]) cuttings started  N. Todd/K. Gibson
73 Brief Encounter*  (Sunup-Sundown X Lemís Cameo) Searching  
74 Unnamed (Lemís Cameo X Corry Koster) Recently Planted J. Lofthouse (inherited)
75 Butter Fudge* (Hotei X Lemís Cameo #11) Searching  
76 Unnamed (Sunup - Sundown X Lemís Cameo) Searching  
77 Unnamed  (Lemon Float X [R. yakushimanum x Gypsy King]) Searching  
78 Unnamed  (Sunup-Sundown X Selected Whitney Hybrid) Recently Planted J. Lofthouse (inherited)
79 Yellow Butterflies*  (Hotei X E.O. Webber*) Searching  
80 June Sinclair* ([R. macabeanum x Malahat] X R. strigillosum hybrid)??? Searching  
81 French Lady* (Lemís Cameo X [(Fabia x R. bureavii) x Crest]) Searching  
82 Unnamed (Sunup-Sundown X One Thousand Butterflies) Recently Planted Alouette Nursery
83 Unnamed  (Sunup-Sundown X Lemís Cameo) Searching  
84 Jeda (Butter Brickle X [Sunup-Sundown x selected Whitney Hybrid]) Established J. Lofthouse
85 Unnamed  (Sunup-Sundown X One thousand Butterflies) Searching  
86 Sun God* (Sunup-Sundown X Lemís Cameo) Searching  
87 Sierra Magic* (Alice Street X R.wardii) Searching  
88 Kisha*  ([(Souvenir of W.C. Slocock x R. apodectum) x Crest] x [R. bureavii x Crest]) Searching  
89 Unnamed  (Butter Brickle X Noyo Chief)  Searching  
90 Irish Spring* (Southern Belle X Magic Moments) Searching  
91 Lorelei* (Sunup-Sundown X Witch Doctor)  Searching  
92 Unnamed (R. yakushimanum1 X Bow Bells) Searching  
ADDITIONS - 1988 - 89
93 Cinnamon* (Sunup-Sundown X selected Whitney Hybrid) Searching  
94 Tahitian Sunset* (Sunup-Sundown X Lemís Cameo) Searching  
95 Southern Skies (Sunup-Sundown X Lemís Cameo) Established  J. Lofthouse
96 Unnamed (Butter Brickle X [Sunup-Sundown x Selected Whitney Hybrid]) Searching  
97 Unnamed (Butter Brickle X [Sunup-Sundown x selected Whitney Hybrid]) Established J. Lofthouse
98 Unnamed (Butter Brickle X [Sunup-Sundown x selected Whitney Hybrid]) Searching  
99 Chorus Line (Lemís Cameo X Pink Petticoats) In Pot J. Lofthouse (inherited)
100 Yellow Jello* (Butter Brickle X [Sunup=Sundown x selected Whitney Hybrid]) Searching  
101 French Vanilla* (Lemís Cameo X Pink Petticoats) Searching  
102 Unnamed (Sunup - Sundown X One Thousand Butterflies) Established J. Lofthouse
103 Unnamed (Lemís Cameo X Pink Petticoats) Searching  
104 Unnamed (Lemís Cameo X Pink Petticoats) Recently Planted J. Lofthouse (inherited)
105 Party Orange* (Butter Brickle X selected Zimmerman Yellow) Established J. Lofthouse
106 Unnamed (Sunup - Sundown x selected Whitney Hybrid) Searching  
107 Sierra Dawn* (Butter Brickle X selected Zimmerman Yellow) Recently planted J. Lofthouse (inherited)
108 Unnamed (Butter Brickle X [Lemís Cameo x Corry Koster]) Searching  
109 April Beauty* ([R. lacteum x Point Defiance] X Juanita) Searching  
110 Plant No. 89 - 5 - 15* (Supergold X Butter Brickle) Searching  
111 Lofthouseís Legacy (Butter Brickle X Viennese Waltz) Established J. Lofthouse
112 Hawaiian Sunset* (Sierra del Oro X O.P. Hybrid) Searching  
113 Rainbowís End (Butter Brickle X [Fabia x Lemís Early Orange]) Searching  
114 Treasure Chest*  (Butter Brickle X [Sunup-Sundown x selected Whitney hybrid])  Searching  
115 Unnamed (Butter Brickle X [Sunup-Sundown x selected Whitney hybrid]) Searching  
116 Fruit Cocktail* (Butter Brickle X Viennese Waltz) Recently Planted J. Lofthouse (inherited)
117 Unnamed (Sunup - Sundown X Witch Doctor) Recently Planted J. Lofthouse (inherited)
118 Unnamed (Butter Brickle X [Sunup-Sundown x selected Whitney Hybrid]) Searching (L. Clay)  
119 Plant No. 85 - 5 - 18A* (Hotei X Lemís Cameo) Searching  
1 R. degronianum ssp. yakushimanum according to the Edinburgh Revision classification.
2 Plants marked "Unnamed" were originally given names that had already been used as registered names of other rhododendrons.

Plants in Our Garden Not Included on Jack's List
'Moon Dancer'
'Star Dancer'
'Peach Speckles'*
'Butter Brickle' X 'Noyo Chief'
'Party Orange'* X 'Viennese Waltz'

'Party Orange'* 
X 'Viennese Waltz'
'Party Orange'* X 'Viennese Waltz'
Photo by Paul Wurz

'Butter Brickle' X 'Jeda'
('Hotei' x 'Juanita') X 'Viennese Waltz'
'Butter Brickle' X 'Babylon'

'Butter Brickle' 
X 'Babylon'
'Butter Brickle' X 'Babylon'
Photo by Paul Wurz

R. montroseanum X 'Malahat'
R. montroseanum X 'Elizabeth'
'Pure Class'*
'Party Orange'* X 'Sierra del Oro'

'Party Orange'* 
X 'Sierra del Oro'
'Party Orange'* X 'Sierra del Oro'
Photo by Paul Wurz

'Yellow Petticoats' X 'Viennese Waltz'
'Butter Brickle' X ('Sunup-Sundown x selected Whitney hybrid)
'Sierra del Oro' X 'Viennese Waltz'
'Butter Brickle' X 'Sierra Treasure'
'Fusilier' X 'Red Walloper'
R. degronianum ssp. yakushimanum Exbury X 'Butter Brickle'

<i>R. degronianum</i> 
ssp. yakushimanum Exbury X 'Butter Brickle'
R. degronianum ssp. yakushimanum Exbury X 'Butter Brickle'
Photo by Paul Wurz

'Jeda' X 'Viennese Waltz'

'Jeda' X 'Viennese Waltz'
'Jeda' X 'Viennese Waltz'
Photo by Paul Wurz

R. montroseanum X 'Viennese Waltz'
R. macabeanum X 'Promise of Spring'
'Butter Brickle' X 'Ruby Bowman'

The process of collecting as many of Jack's hybrids as possible and developing a central location where they can be displayed is proving to be a very interesting and challenging experience. During this process I have come in contact with many of Jack's acquaintances which frequently led to discussion of the attributes of his plants. Although a small percentage of his plants were difficult to cultivate, and did not live up to their expectations, there is little doubt that Jack possessed a remarkable ability to create, and duplicate desirable characteristics of the genus Rhododendron that led to the development of excellent plants. I personally believe that he deserves recognition as one of the excellent hybridizers in the rhododendron world. I also would like to thank those individuals that have contributed Jack's plants to our garden.

* Name is not registered.

Paul Wurz is a member of the North Island Chapter.

Volume 61, Number 3
Summer 2007

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