QBARS - v25n2 Two New Hardy Hybrids

Two New Hardy Hybrids
David G. Leach, North Madison, Ohio

R. 'Spring Frolic'
R. 'Spring Frolic' - A yakushimanum hybrid
recently introduced by David G. Leach.
Photo by David G. Leach

R. 'Spring Frolic' came from a cross of catawbiense var. album x yakushimanum , F.C.C. It is the early blooming selection out of three that were made from this cross. R. yakushimanum is not a practical commercial rhododendron in the East. It grows too slowly, does not bloom as freely as it does in mild climates, and is not reliably bud hardy in zone 5. 'Spring Frolic' was an effort to produce a hybrid which would retain the charms of yakushimanum , but also be commercially practical. In its flowers and dense habit of growth it closely resembles yakushimanum . In 18 years the plant is about 4½ feet tall and 5½ feet broad. It bloomed fully after -35° F in 1963.

R. 'Pink Flourish'
R. 'Pink Flourish', a new hardy hybrid by David G. Leach.
Photo by David G. Leach

R. 'Pink Flourish' was produced from a cross of catawbiense var. album x [( decorum x griffithianum ) x red catawbiense hybrid]. It is midseason, and exceptionally free blooming. The plant is very vigorous. The cross was made in 1952. The original specimen is now 6 feet tall and 5 feet across. 'Pink Flourish' is conspicuously showy. I regard it as more bud hardy than the standard "ironclads" of commerce in the East. It has gone through winter temperatures in various years of -35°, -30° F and, several times, -25° F, and it has never been injured in any way. The flowers and trusses are appreciably larger than those of the Catawba hybrids of commerce.