QBARS - v23n1 Book Review: R. H. S. Yearbook

Book Review
168 pp., Illus., 1968. (The Royal Horticultural Society, Vincent Square, S.W. 1, London, England)

Once again we have rhododendrons combined with camellias in this well known publication. This sometimes bothers a few of our simon-pure rhododendron fans but actually over 140 pages of the 168 are devoted to rhododendrons.
"Rhododendrons at Glendoick" is discussed by Mr. E. H. M. Cox and Mr. P. A. Cox. This will be of particular interest to A.R.S. members as Mr. Cox has visited this country and spoken to various A.R.S. Chapters. It will also appeal to those interested in hardiness as Glendoick is in a relatively cool area northeast of Edinburgh and subject to occasional damaging frosts in spring and fall. Rhododendron planting began in a small way about 1920 and in 1955 a rhododendron nursery was started and has expanded over the years. A number of species usually considered quite tender are being grown at Glendoick with some success. For instance, there are two slow growing plants of R. sinogrande over thirty years old; others, such as R. crassum and R. delavayi aff. are somewhat unusual for a garden in this climate. Considerable attention is now being given to the hybridizing of dwarf lepidotes, the variety 'Chikor' having received more attention than others produced at Glendoick.
Mr. G. Gorer discusses "Rhododendrons of the Maddenii Series and Their Hybrids as Garden and Greenhouse Plants." The location of the garden is not given but it is stated that the minimum temperature experienced there has been 16° F. Those interested in hardiness in this particular group will find the experiences related are useful.
"Dwarf Rhododendrons at Windsor" by Mr. T. H. Findlay gives the opinions and experiences of this very knowledgeable plants-man. He states that dwarf rhododendrons can have a big future in "our land of small gardens." We feel that that is true in the U.S. where many of our most dedicated rhododendron fans are people with quite small gardens but we have thought of England as a country of large estates probably because of the wonderful rhododendron collections on a few of the larger ones. We have heard very little of rhododendrons in small gardens in England and so it is significant to hear the dwarfs being praised for their adaptation to the garden of limited area, albeit a natural and desirable thing.
A further discussion of "Dwarf Rhododendrons" is given by Mr. Collingwood Ingram. He organizes his contribution by the Series and it is a good way of calling attention to the fact that there are dwarfs occurring in a number of Series as well as in the one or two which are almost entirely dwarfs.
Following this section is another contribution from Mr. Collingwood Ingram entitled "Notes on the Campylogynum Series of Rhododendrons." The author rather objects to the placing of all the members of this Series in one species and proposes one additional species and two sub-species. He also feels that R. myrtilloides and R. cremastum should have full species standing.
"Rhododendrons at Heaselands" is the topic of an article by Elspeth Napier. This garden of some thirty acres is notable for some fine rhododendrons as well as other ornamental plants.
"Raising Rhododendrons From Seed (For the Business Man)" is discussed by J. E. Clarke. This is directed primarily at the average person who does not have garden help.
Mr. A. W. Headlam of Australia has three contributions, one dealing with the effect of the 1967/8 drought in Melbourne on rhododendrons and camellias. Another short item gives some experiences with the Malesian rhododendrons with respect to heat resistance. Certain species, at least, have seemed relatively resistant to heat damage. Mr. Headlam also writes about the "Rhododendrons at Ripley, Olinda, Australia." Ripley is the home of Mr. F. G. Coles. This is a fairly mild area with temperatures rarely registering more than a few degrees of frost. The point is made that a considerable amount of breeding work is now being done in Australia in an endeavor to produce earlier flowering rhododendrons to avoid damage by sun which frequently occurs. Frost damage is of no great importance.
As in previous Yearbooks, the rhododendron shows are described in some detail, in this case by Mr. Allen Hardy and Mr. Patrick M. Synge.
Descriptions of rhododendrons which have received awards in 1968 are given. It is of interest that 'Cilpinense' received an F.C.C., given to a clone raised by the late Lord Aberconway at Bodnant.
'Loderi King George' received an A.M. which will probably be surprising to many rhododendron fans in the U.S. This has long been considered one of the best of the Loderis in this country but in England awards had been made to a number of other clones of the Loderi group and not to 'Loderi King George' up to this time.
The usual additions to the International Rhododendron Register cover some fourteen pages and are indicative of the activity in the breeding and naming of new varieties, not only in England but in this country and in Holland, Australia, etc.
Many A.R.S. members regularly obtain the R.H.S. Yearbook and they will undoubtedly want to have this one which does contain much information of interest