QBARS - v17n2 Book Reviews

Book Reviews

The Rhododendron and Camellia Yearbook - 1963. Edited by P. M. Synge and J. W. O. Platt. Pp. 253. Illus. The Royal Horticultural Society. Vincent Square. S. W. 1. London

Reviewed by J. Harold Clarke

These Yearbooks have long been familiar reading to many rhododendron fanciers in this country, almost essential reading for those who want to keep up to date on the technical details this great genus. This issue is unusual for the number of contributions by Americans or about American gardens. There are articles by Mr. H. F. DuPont and Mr. Gordon Tyrrell about the gardens at Winterthur taken from the A. R. S. Bulletin. Mr. Tyrrell also gives a good report on the last Annual Meeting of the A. R. S. Mr. F. P. Knight's talk given at the International Conference in Portland on "Rhododendron and Azalea Trials at Wisley" is reproduced here. Dr. H. R. Fletcher of the Royal Botanic Garden at Edinburgh gives a most interesting discussion of "Rhododendrons on the Pacific West Coast of America." Sir Giles Loder's story of "Camellias on the Gulf Coast of America" should be of some interest even to a hardened rhododendron addict although it may he hard to associate the name Loder with any but our own favorite genus.  Camellias take only about one third of the hook and articles with an American slant much less than that and what is left contains much worthwhile information. Mrs. R. M. Harrison contributes an interesting and authoritative discussion of "Rhododendron Species," based on her many years experience at Tower Court. "Foliage in Rhododendron Species" is discussed by Mr. T. H. Findlay. Mr. Peter Cox and Mr. Peter Hutchinson report on their exploring for rhododendrons in North-Eastern Turkey with considerable emphasis on hardiness. Five of the leading rhododendron nurserymen of England discuss the most popular rhododendron hybrids as indicated by sales in their respective nurseries. The leaders? All old timers long well known in this country. There are several shorter notes on rhododendrons, descriptions of plants given awards, and additions to the International Rhododendron Register.  The most important part of this Yearbook, to many of us at least, is a "Revision of the Triflorum Series of Rhododendrons" by Mr. H. H. Davidian. A number of well known species names disappear, merged with others "from which they cannot be readily distinguished." The trend seems definitely to be in the direction of simplification which is all to the good. Some of us will not have such a "large collection of species" if we follow this classification, but they will be much easier to tell apart. Anyone interested in the Triflorums will want to give this careful attention.  Printing costs in England are relatively low making this a good buy from the standpoint of actual cost, as well as the valuable information presented.

THE RHODODENDRON, Vol. II. By The Leslie Urquhart Press, Sharpthorne, East Grinstead, Sussex, England.

Reviewed by Ruth M. Hansen

This book is a continuation of the excellent material presented in The Rhododendron Vol. 1. However, the text of this book deals entirely with the work of the three great 20th. century plant explorers. Joseph Hooker, Kingdon-Ward and Dr. Joseph Rock whose travels in search of plant material traversed the entire Himalayan range. Each bibliography gives the general character of the man, his schooling and background for his great work. Many interesting sidelights upon their travels and the methods each one used in his plant collecting expeditions adds tremendously to the reading enjoyment.  The book is divided into three parts, first being the bibliographies of the three collectors, the second and major portion is devoted to the identification of certain species. Here the text includes botanical descriptions, native habitat and by whom the species was first observed and collected. Each species described is masterfully depicted in line drawing along the border of the page. The third and final portion of the book consists of 18 exquisite color plates executed in life-size drawings by Carlos VonRiefel of Vienna. These color plates beautifully reproduced show perfect detail of flowers and foliage and alone are worth the price of the book. An enlarged relief map showing the various routes each explorer took on his journeys Into the Himalayan region is found on the inside cover.