Every three or four years the precocious R. mucronulatum will escape from the almost never failing frosts, and put on a display that is a delight and treat to the gardener. This winter, 1953, was one of those frost free seasons, and during the last week in January the floral buds of this earliest of all rhododendrons began to show color. In less than a week the plant, goaded on by a spell of warm rains had covered itself with bloom. A large plant blooming at that time of the year in the rhododendron garden, when winter is still present is reward enough for its keep during the years that the weather is less kind and a single night of frost can be its undoing. Early blooming species of this nature will be a feature of the A.R.S. Trial Garden at Crystal Lake Springs if the past three years are any indication. Since the entire Garden is surrounded by water and coniferous trees, frosts that register 25° F. in the surrounding areas never touch the early species in bloom at the time.
The species illustrated on the cover of the Bulletin was taken in the garden of the Editor and is over eight feet in height. The plant had not bloomed in three years, because of frosts, but had set buds yearly, and only an occasional misshapen flower would show.