QBARS - v23n2 Gleaned from the Chapter Newsletters

Gleaned from the Chapter Newsletters


Moving R. sutchuenense var.geraldii
Fig. 36.  Members of Tualatin Valley Chapter moving a
½ ton R. sutchuenense var. geraldii out of Dr
Phetteplace's garden.  This gift of Dr. Phetteplace
is now in the Chapter's Display Garden on the
campus of Pacific University.  Loyal workers,
Wilbur Burkhart, Earl Connelly, and Jeanne Ross.

The issuance of newsletters by individual Chapters seems to be a growing service to A. R. S. Chapter members. The latest newsletter we have to report is one from the Tualatin Valley Chapter. This newsletter is so new that the last copy received does not yet have a name. This will probably be remedied soon as a rhododendron plant is being offered to the member submitting the best name.

The Tualatin Valley Chapter has a well organized display garden program underway in cooperation with Pacific University at Forest Grove, Oregon. A landscape architect has been hired jointly by the Chapter and the University and the garden is being planned with an eye to scientific value and also to esthetic values. The Chapter is concentrating on planting one series a year, trying to get rather complete coverage of one series before going on to another. A number of rhododendron fans in the general Portland area are contributing plants to the garden. Contributions are not limited to this area, however, as witnessed by the photograph in this issue of a large plant being moved from the garden of Dr. Phetteplace near Eugene.

Some Chapters provide prizes for those who bring guests. The Tualatin Valley Chapter is suggesting a penalty for those who fail to bring a guest, such as having the offending member's prize rhododendron pulled up. Fortunately this is left to the discretion of the President and the chances are he would not risk applying such an extreme penalty for fear of retaliation in kind.

From California

The California newsletter reports results of a recent questionnaire including, among other things, as all rhododendron questionnaires do, a request for the members' list of favorite rhododendrons. In replies to this questionnaire R. yakushimanum heads the list followed by 'Loderi King George', R. arboreum , R. nuttallii . 'Forsterianum' and 'Loder's White'.

Mentioned as magnificent plants in the mid-California area are the arboreum hybrids 'Cornubia', 'Bibiani', 'lvery's Scarlet', 'Choremia', 'Gill's Triumph' and 'Dame Nellie Melba'.

Many of you may be surprised to hear that Jock Brydon has given up his position as Director of Strybing Arboretum and returned to Oregon which he always considered 'home territory'. While we are sorry to lose 'Jock' as a member of the California Chapter, and as a friend at the Arboretum, it is a pleasure to announce that his position has been filled by Mr. Roy Hudson. Thus we can be assured of the continued good will between the Arboretum and the Society. Good-bye, with the best of wishes, Jock - congratulations, Roy!

Dr. Richard Anderson:

The California Chapter extends its sympathy to the members of the Eureka area for the death of Dr. Richard Anderson on May 27th of terminal lung cancer. Dr. Blaafladt wrote: "Dick's passing will prove quite a loss to the community.... I have no doubt but what our enthusiasm for rhododendron growing has been, in great part, due to his stimulus.


"Rhododendron News" from Portland Newsletters vary in format as well as content. So far as I know at the present time the Portland Chapter's Rhododendron News is the only printed newsletter, starting its second volume in 1969.

The February 1969 Portland Chapter newsletter includes a short write-up of the Van Veen Nursery now said to be the largest in the nation. It is mentioned that this nursery is wholesale only but Society members are welcome to visit. Theodore Van Veen, Sr., started the nursery in 1924 and during his period of activity did a considerable amount of hybridizing and named 'Autumn Gold', 'Evening Glow', 'Old Copper', 'Lucky Strike', 'Maryke' and 'Van Veen'.

This issue also includes an interesting story on the Northwest's native azalea, R. occidentale , written by Frank Mossman, M.D. This native Oregon azalea has been neglected for many years and the collecting and hybridizing efforts of Dr. Mossman and Britt Smith should do a great deal to bring it to the attention of rhododendron lovers. Its value as a parent was recognized many years ago as it provides one of the basic foundation blocks of many of the Exbury and Knap Hill deciduous azalea varieties.

In the March issue of the Portland newsletter a column details the various services and publications members receive for their dues. It also gives details as to the local expenses incurred by the Chapter ranging from coffee every meeting night to, stationery, the cost of the Newsletter, and all the little items which are necessary to make a Chapter function smoothly. It is brought out that the costs exceed the amount brought in by dues and that there are many things provided free by various committee members, and when additional money is needed a plant auction is held, thanks to the cooperation of various nurserymen and amateur members.

Great Lakes

From the Great Lakes Chapter The newsletter of the Great Lakes Chapter, March 1969 issue, contains an unusual amount of rhododendron information. An article by A. M. Shammarello entitled "Observations on Bud Hardiness" covers two mimeographed pages equivalent to two full pages in the A. R. S. Bulletin. The author mentions that bud blasting seems to be more prevalent now than it was some years ago and speculates on what the causes might be. There are contributing causes involving low temperature, exposure, air movement, soil, moisture, etc., which have been recognized for many years. He discusses soils and drainage at some length, and recommends raised beds for heavy, poorly drained soils. Mulching is discussed and the author suggests pine needles and bark as probably the best materials to use.

The soil at the Shammarello Nursery tests to about pH 4.0 and he has found it essential to incorporate magnesium limestone sufficient to raise the pH to 5.5 or 6.5. This is done before planting but supplementary applications are made later to make up for leaching. He mentions that when calcium is deficient at lower levels of the soil the plants develop a shallow root system which cannot withstand unfavorable temperature or moisture conditions.

Under the heading " Test Garden Notes" David Leach reports on the Chapter's Test Garden at the Secrest Arboretum, Wooster, Ohio. He mentions that there are pledges on hand for a set of his hybrids from Bob Bovee's Nursery, a set of the Ilam hybrids from New Zealand, from Jim Wells' nursery several British hybrids from Comerford and from Edmund de Rothschild the complete roster of Exbury hybrids. LaBar's Rhododendron Nursery is contributing, in duplicate, plants of all northern native azalea species and a friend is planning to provide all of the southern species. This sounds like a very good future for the garden with so many varieties and species being tested in an area not usually considered very suitable for rhododendrons.

Mr. E. M. Stroombeek, a nurseryman of Madison, Ohio, writes on the use of iron for the treatment of chlorosis. He suggests the easiest and least expensive means is an application of iron sulfate which will also tend to lower the pH and perhaps require the addition of lime. Several new forms of iron are also discussed.

Research work with azaleas at Michigan State University is discussed by Professor Kenneth Sink and Technician Glen Lumis. This work involves breeding of hardy evergreen azaleas and also a study of the effect of various environmental factors on cold hardiness of evergreen azalea flower buds. This latter project involves both observation in the field and artificial chilling.

Orlando S. Pride, under the heading "Rhododendron Milestones", discusses the effects of winter temperatures this past winter on various kinds of plants. Although there was winter injury on a number of things, the semi-evergreen azaleas bloomed very well and so did a number of rhododendron varieties as listed by Mr. Pride.

Mention is made of an Ann Arbor "Rhododendron Discussion Group" holding informal meetings at the Botanical Gardens with attendance ranging from ten to thirty. The six A. R. S. members at Ann Arbor serve as leaders of the discussion group.

The University of Michigan Botanical Gardens, opened in May 1966, includes some 250 acres of land, an auditorium, 3 laboratory classrooms, a large conservatory and 5 large greenhouses. The major goals are education and research in plant sciences. Various groups such as the Rhododendron Society members are invited to hold their meetings at the gardens. Although there are no rhododendrons or azaleas in the gardens up to date a small display garden is contemplated by the Great Lakes Chapter.

New York Chapter

This winter the New York Chapter has started a Newsletter under the editorship of Mr. Fred Knapp. In recent issues of the New York Newsletter we learn that a membership map was prepared by Dorothy and Dick Baggelaar. The Publicity Committee is serving effectively, one meeting being advertised in six different newspapers with notices in local libraries and a mention over the air on a prominent New York radio station. A new booklet is being prepared to be sold at the New York Flower Show. The New York Chapter is also preparing a list of licensed rhododendron nurserymen for the convenience of members who may want plants which they see described somewhere but for which they do not have a source of supply. The New York Newsletter contains an account by Dick Murcott of his visit to English gardens this past summer. He was particularly interested in a number of species belonging to the Caucasicum sub-series. Interesting specimens of species in this group were seen at Kew Gardens, Savill Gardens, Wisley and at Reuthe's Nursery. He was greatly impressed with the R. yakushimanum hybrids being grown at Savill Gardens in Windsor Great Park. He mentions that Reuthe's Nursery has a large collection of degronianum and adenopodum forms.

An account is given by Dorothy Schlaikjer of their acquisition of the Parker Estate some sixteen years ago. This garden is of special interest because Mr. Parker had frequently visited Mr. C. O. Dexter and had purchased many blooming plants from him in the early 1930's. One of the better known hybrids in the Long Island area is 'Parker's Pink' from this garden. This was one of over two hundred Dexter hybrids which had been evaluated by the special judging committee consisting of Dr. Bowers, Dr. Skinner, Dr. Wyman, Dr. Wister, Paul Vossberg and David Leach. 'Parker's Pink' took Best of Show in the New York Chapter shows of 1964 and 1965. It is an outstanding plant but not yet widely disseminated as it seems to be a reluctant rooter.

The New York Chapter has organized their plant sales to the extent of putting out a list of something over a hundred varieties with sizes and prices indicated. These plants were dug only on order to be picked up on the day of the sale. They also listed un-rooted cuttings of a number of additional varieties.