QBARS - v13n2 Rhododendron Notes

Rhododendron Notes

R. yakushimanum , the award form, has been grown in the Portland area for some years. Cecil Smith of Newberg, Oregon, has bloomed it a number of times. His plant is from a cutting of the award form. This plant has been propagated but plants are very scarce because little cutting wood is available. The plant is distinctively different from the plants of R. degronianum , of which Mrs. A. C. U. Berry has a considerable number. Her plants of R. degronianum , which have come from seed, are quite similar. The difference is in growth habit, some are more compact than others, and in the color of the flowers, R. degronianum is pink and R. yakushimanum is white or a much lighter pink. Cecil Smith, some years ago imported seed of R. yakushimanum from England. The seedlings came very true in appearance to the award form. None of these seedlings have bloomed. Five plants from this seed were definitely hybrids and two of these bloomed last year. These hybrids have quite large dull green leaves, the indumentum is missing, they are very tightly compact in growth habit with tight little trusses of light pink flowers; interesting but not worth propagating.

This looks like another early spring in Oregon. Many of the early blooming species and hybrids are fully out, some past their prime. Buds are swelling and are quite large on some of the May blooming hybrids and this is just mid March. R. 'Cilpinense', a form with unusually large flowers of a very good pink, has been especially beautiful this year. Snow Lady is again a mass of flowers. It buds in clusters of two to five buds, we have never seen any other rhododendron bloom so heavily. It's our choice for best of the early blooming white dwarfs.

"The Rhododendron," The Leslie Urquhart Press, is an outstanding work of art. Never have rhododendrons been more truly presented in actual color. The page size is large, 12" x 16" and the pictures are worthy of being framed. The introductions covers rhododendrons as they are found around the world, and the plant explorers who have found them. Eighteen of the finest species are illustrated in full color, and well written botanical descriptions of each are given. This book should be in the library of every gardener interested in rhododendrons. It is advertised in the back of this Bulletin .

We have never seen Pieris japonica bloom so well as this spring. Blooms are large, very full and plants are simply covered. Pieris floribunda is also putting on a fine show. Pieris taiwanensis , which we have always liked for its tight compact growth and smaller leaves, is blooming well. And the tiny Pieris nana , only three or four inches high, in the rockery has been in flower for weeks. The Pieris season will finish with P. mariana in June, a fine deciduous shrub, with large sprays of half inch flowers often tinged red at the mouths, and brilliant fall foliage.

Another early spring shrub, flowering on bare wood, Corylopsis sinensis, grows well with rhododendrons, often forming a tall loose shrub or small tree. Its primrose-yellow flowers are grown in sprays and are scented. It blooms with R. mucronulatum , 'Praecox', 'Tessa' and 'Conemaugh' and would be effective planted with any of them. This Corylopsis holds its flowers for a long time and they seem to be very frost-hardy.

- Bob Bovee

At a recent meeting of the A.R.S. Directors the Test Garden in Portland was officially designated as the National Test Garden. It was established by the A.R.S. before there were Chapters, hence the agreement with the City of Portland, and covered by ordinance, is in the name of the Society and not the Portland Chapter. The work, of course, has been done by members of the Portland Chapter, and funds have come primarily from Portland residents, notably our late president, Mr. C. I. Sersanous. There were some gifts to the fund for building the cool house from members of other Chapters. However A.R.S. funds, from membership dues, book sales, etc., have not been used for the Test Garden and it is not contemplated that they will be.

Breeders are urged to submit names to the A.R.S. Registrar before publishing them or actually using them. We now have an International Register, published by the R. H. S., giving all known rhododendron and azalea names. Duplication of names is highly undesirable.

If you have a new plant, a hybrid, or a selected clone of a species, that you think is outstanding, why not get your local Awards Committee to look it over. It might be worthy of a P. A. or even an A. E. If you do not know of any Awards Committee members in your area ask your Chapter officers.

It was a real pleasure to visit with the New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Indianapolis members during January. I was greatly surprised, and agreeably so, at the very large number of varieties being grown in the New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia areas. Let us hope it will be a long time before a "test winter" which will undoubtedly cause some grief. Some of the varieties will, in all probability, prove hardy, and if the less hardy ones give a few years of bloom before they are eliminated by that "test winter" most gardeners will feel that they had been worth trying.

- J. Harold Clarke