QBARS - v11n1 Three Exbury Rhododendrons

Three Exbury Rhododendrons
By P. H. Brydon, Salem, Oregon

R. 'Avalanche'
Fig. 7.  R. 'Avalanche'  F.C.C.
Brydon photo

R. 'Avalanche' F.C.C. ('Loderi' x calophytum ) (Fig. 7) The parents of this Exbury hybrid are too well known to need further description or praise. It is quite evident that in R. Avalanche we have a combination of their outstanding qualities. The truss is huge, almost 9 inches across, and contains from 20 to 25 flowers. There is a suggestion of pink in the buds as they open, but when fully expanded the blossoms become pure white, each one accentuated by a deep maroon blotch at the base of the corolla.

The leaf is more leathery in texture and duller in color than in Loderi but comparable in size to calophytum. R. 'Avalanche' survived the cold spell of 1950 when temperatures dropped below zero and during the unusual freeze in November of 1955 the flower buds were not affected. From this experience, I would judge that 'Avalanche' would have a hardiness rating of H-3 at least. It becomes a broad shrub, perhaps eventually a small tree, with a strong frame and because of its large leaves should have protection from winds and intense sun. The plant's performance in Salem indicates that a ten year old plant would be approximately 6 to 8 feet in height. Under normal conditions, this fine hybrid will take from 5 to 7 years to bloom from a graft or cutting, but believe me, its flowering is well worth waiting for.

R. anwheiense
Fig. 6. R. anwheiense
Brydon photo

R. anwheiense . I was impressed when first I saw this species flower for good dwarf white rhododendrons are not too plentiful. The plant in the illustration (Fig. 61 is a layer imported from Exbury and it is about 6 years old and now about 18 inches high. Annual growths are short, 1½ to 2 inches long, and the acute bright green leaves are crowded at the ends of the shoots. The tight rounded truss contains from 6 to 10 campanulate flowers which are flushed pink in the bid but open pure white. R. anwheiense has been placed in the Barbatum Series, Maculiferum Sub Series, and according to the "Species Rhododendrons", it is native to Eastern China and is found on rocky cliffs at from 5 to 6000 ft. altitude. There is some question as to its hardiness although I have had no trouble with it since its arrival in Salem from Exbury in 1953.

R 'Idealist'
Fig. 5.  R. 'Idealist' A.M.
Brydon photo

R. 'Idealist' A.M. ('Naomi Exbury' x wardii ). The accompanying illustration (Fig. 5) was taken the first week of May last year and it was my first opportunity to observe an established plant of R. 'Idealist Exbury' form in bloom. The large cup shaped, pale greenish yellow flowers were 3½ inches wide and carried in a bold truss of from- 10 to 12 flowers. Generally speaking, R. 'Idealist' has retained the compact habit of R. wardii and the flower size of R. 'Naomi'. It could be considered as a medium compact shrub with an estimated height in ten years of from 5 to 6 feet. The plant has withstood zero temperatures under lath protection and the flower buds were not affected by our freeze of last November. Its hardiness rating should be H-3 and certainly I would give it a four star rating not only for its beautiful truss but also for its performance under average garden conditions.