QBARS - v23n3 Exbury Azaleas Arrive at Wooster

Exbury Azaleas Arrive at Wooster

Exbury Azalea Hybrids in Secrest Arboretum
Fig. 43.  Azalea Hybrids from the Exbury Gardens in England,
are examined and recorded after their arrival at the
Secrest Arboretum, Wooster, Ohio.  Dr. O. D.
Diller, left, is curator of the 120-acre arboretum,
John Ford is technical assistant and foreman of the

Thirty-six different deciduous azalea hybrids from the famous Exbury Gardens near Southampton, England, have been delivered to the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development center, Wooster. The plants made up the initial shipment of a gift of 100 azalea hybrids which will be planted in the rhododendron and azalea display garden in Secrest Arboretum at the center.

Dr. O. D. Diller, arboretum curator, says collection will be known as The Lionel de Rothschild Collection, named in honor of the renowned international banker who was also known for his extensive hybridization of ornamental plants. The giant flowered azalea hybrids developed by the late de Rothschild are still very rare.

The collection was given to the Great Lakes Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society, which cooperated with the Research center in developing the display garden at Wooster. Dr. Diller credits David Leach, a rhododendron breeder from Brookville, Pa., and chairman of the Great Lakes Chapter display garden committee, with making arrangements for the valuable collection.

They will be planted in an area of the display garden which will be known as "Azalea Alley." Plants will be placed to best demonstrate the proper use of these beautiful ornamentals in the landscape. The balance of the collection is expected to be delivered in fall 1969 and spring 1970.

When complete, the planting of azaleas at Wooster will be the most extensive collection of deciduous azalea hybrids in America. Dr. Diller says that the de Rothschild collection will be further expanded upon by gifts of other azalea hybrids already promised by Mr. and Mrs. Robert Bovee, rhododendron and azalea breeders from Portland, Oregon; and from James Wells Nursery Inc., of Red Bank, New Jersey.

The rhododendron and azalea garden at Secrest Arboretum will not only be a valuable site for ornamentals research, but will provide exhibits for American plant breeders. Comparisons of the different hybrids will enable amateur gardeners and professional nurserymen to make choices best suited to their own tastes and uses.

The 7-acre rhododendron display garden at the Research center was established in 1966. Its purpose is to build a collection of all rhododendrons and azaleas which will grow satisfactorily in the Great Lakes region. To date, approximately 70 rhododendron cultivars and 36 azalea hybrids have been planted in the garden, a number of other cultivars are being propagated in the greenhouse and in a special test area of the arboretum.

In addition to the rhododendron and azalea display garden, the 120-acre arboretum has extensive collections of many other trees and ornamental shrubs which help make the Secrest Arboretum a favorite stopping place for thousands of Ohio gardeners, nurserymen, and homeowners.