QBARS - v15n3 Rhododendron Notes

Rhododendron Notes

The Seattle Chapter staged its first "spectacular" in several years under the stands of the U. of W. football stadium. Designed by Mr. Noble Hoggson and landscaped by nurserymen and the U. of W. Arboretum, the show drew high praise as "the most beautiful on the Coast" and the winning landscape design in the largest class, that of the Prentice Nursery, was deemed good enough to be a sweep at the Chelsea Show" in England.

It is a pleasant experience to visit mature gardens. Two that were graciously opened for the pleasure of guests and Society members during the Seattle show were those of the Henry Isaacson's and Donald Graham's.

The surprise entrance to the Graham garden was through the front door. Looking straight through into the conservatory and beyond into the garden had a special impact. A view up a bank of large pink rhododendrons toward the house from a lower level gave the feeling of satisfaction that is based in good design and scale. The mature trees are wonderful; Acer palmatum , Styrax japonica , rare magnolias, Davidia involucrata , to name just a few. Much admired were some twenty-year old R. hanceanum nanum plants with their chocolate new growth.

Perfume from several R. 'Fragrantissimum' bordering the driveway greeted visitors at the Isaacson garden, which has a formal rose garden and pool on the house level and then winds down the hillside toward Puget Sound. Two beautifully grown R. strigillosum with new growth, about 5 or 6 feet tall, drew special attention. One spectacular view up the hillside started with a red-green Acer palmatum dissectum purpureum beside a pool, ascended to a huge Cornus florida rubra in bloom to the left and then to trees with bronze foliage farther up on the right, possibly species of Fagus .

It is to be hoped that tours of gardens, both large and small, may be part of each yearly show. Society members become better acquainted as well as having the pleasure of seeing how people live with their favorite plants.

- Ruth Jacobson, Seattle

During the visit to the Portland area, it was disclosed that Dr. Clement G. Bowers, May 1, 1961, was the recipient of the Jackson Dawson Medal, the second highest award given by the Massachusetts Horticultural Society. There are two awards given by the Massachusetts Horticultural Society the George William White Medal, and the Jackson Dawson Medal, in order named.

The George William White Medal was awarded to Longwood Gardens, well-known to members of the Eastern Chapters of the Rhododendron Society, and well-represented at the recent International Rhododendron Conference, by Dr. Seibert, Director of Longwood Gardens.

- Besti Kelius, Philadelphia

The California Chapter, under the capable leadership of the newly installed president, Mr. Ed Long, had an interesting meeting on March 23. A panel of hybridizers: Dr. Alex Martin of Los Gatos, Mr. John Druecker of Ft. Bragg, Mr. Brooks of Modesto, with Mr. Maurice Sumner of San Francisco as moderator, discussed and displayed types of hybrids and demonstrated growing from seed.

Mr. Brooks has many fine azalea hybrids to his credit, but the plant which drew interest that night was a bushy red flowered plant, ledum X R. 'Elizabeth.'

The members were busy with note books when John Druecker explained his scientific method of growing from seed. Seed which is ready in late August, he plants in February or early March in ¼ leaf mold, ½ redwood mold, ¼ granite grit. This mixture he firms into 10" square brown stained flats 2" deep. This he covers with ¼" of sphagnum moss which has been run through the finest food chopper and pressed down with a kitchen spatula! He then shakes the seed evenly from a cellophane bag and spreads it with a small camel's hair brush, waters it down, lets it drain, and covers it with more strained sphagnum moss. These flats, covered with cello glass, in his glass house, germinate the seed in 15 days. He opens the covers a little every day to let out excess moisture. In case of mold, he sprays with Parzate, 2 T. to a gallon of water. They are later transplanted into flats 5" apart.

Dr. Alex Martin, whose book on seed is soon to come out, has been hybridizing for better azaleodendrons using both evergreen and mollis azaleas of which he has over four hundred interesting plants growing on. He has about three hundred plants of lepidote-elepidote crosses.

Of the wealth of plant material was a carton of fine trusses from the Ft. Bragg garden of Dr. and Mrs. Paul Bowman, showing for one a comparison of R. 'Victorianum' and R. dalhousiae . A truss of R. 'Bibiani' was outstanding as one of the finest of the early blooming rhododendrons and one of the best reds. The finest plant displayed was Mrs. Ashley Giaque's R. taronense five feet tall in a pot with its mass of white blooms all at their peak.

The president, Ed Long announced the following permanent awards committee: Roy Hudson, Jock Brydon, and Toichi Damoto.

The California Chapter will have a large exhibit in the California Spring Garden Show in the Oakland Auditorium the last week in April under the chairmanship of Tom Russ.

-Frances Sumner, San Francisco

Many visitors to the Conference agreed that the garden of Mrs. A. C. L. Berry contains one of the outstanding plant collections in the country. Here over-seas guests found rare alpine plants they had never before seen. Some of these have been raised from seed, others collected on trips to Alaska, mountains of western states and other parts of the world. Rhododendrons number several thousand and most of them were raised from seed brought in by early day collectors. Here also, are interesting plants, perhaps natural hybrids but others unusual forms of species. An interesting group of plants, in bloom the middle of June, are those raised from seed of R. lepidostylum . A number of these appear to be true to name. But 20 or 30 others are bigger and faster growing plants with the handsome grey green foliage which is typical but more open growing and blooming more heavily than the true species. The flowers are similar in color and size to the type but there are more of them and they are better displayed.

- Bob Bovee, Portland Ore.