QBARS - v18n2 The Case for R. 'Rosa Mundi'

The Case for R. 'Rosa Mundi'
Ruth Jacobson, Seattle, Washington

Rhododendron 'Rosa Mundi' is a living argument for more dimension in the considerations given a plant by people in awarding stars. The extra dimension needed is that of time, "blooming time." There are so many beauties performing on the midseason stage that our eyes flit from one to another and scarcely know where to stop, but 'Rosa Mundi' steps forth courageously anytime from Christmas until March in the Puget Sound area. Sometimes she is punished for such foolhardiness, but still she blooms profusely year after year, never taking a vacation as some of her fussier sisters do.

More often than not, 'Rosa Mundi' blooms with Prumis subhirtella rosea (commonly called Whitcombi in the trade), and their lively pink hues match exactly. Softer pink-hued Prunus subhirtella autumnalis is also a boon companion.

So what if her trusses are not of the grand opera type? A thirty-year-old plant will be a well rounded mound of dark green, medium sized leaves that remain for several years back, and every terminal will bear a dainty truss. Flower arrangers consider this plant a "must have" and landscapers use it in conjunction with cherries. Then to cap all these virtues, 'Rosa Mundi' requires only average rhododendron culture.

From a garden that contains four 'Rosa Mundi,' and not that many of any other hybrid, comes the opinion that this plant should be rated not lower than three/three.