QBARS - v26n2 R. 'Trude Webster'

R. 'Trude Webster'
Harold Greer, Eugene, Oregon

R. 'Trude Webster'
R. 'Trude Webster'
Photo by Harold Greer

If you are one of those who feels that there could be nothing outstanding produced in a pink rhododendron I would have been the first to agree with you. That was until I saw the first bud unfold on the original seedling of R. 'Countess of Derby' selfed.
The original plant must have been three or four years old and I remember the suspense in waiting for that first bud to open. We were particularly excited when this plant, which had always had such great foliage set its first buds. When it bloomed, as time has since proven, we were certainly not to be disappointed.
R. 'Trude Webster' has large foliage of strong substance that is bright green and perky in appearance. It makes a sturdy plant with a pleasing habit, the kind of plant that can be enjoyed all year. The flower is of utmost perfection with a tight truss that is often one foot high in a true cone shape.
It is a vigorous plant. It has been my experience that plants that are the product of selfing will often exhibit more vigor than their parents. R. 'Trude Webster' propagates readily, though it might take slightly longer to begin rooting than some. The plant should prove to be an ideal commercial variety as it thrives in field conditions and is reliable in setting buds.
There are a couple further notes worth mentioning. Even though R. 'Trude Webster' will grow and flourish in full exposure, it will be found that the flowers will open and develop with greater beauty, and last longer if the plant is in partial shade. The other note concerns rooted cuttings. We have found it best not to force branching until the young plant develops a strong root system. It will then usually branch quite well on its own.
R. 'Trude Webster' appears to be hardy to at least 0°F and possibly even more. We have seen it go through periods of slightly below zero without damage. All reports received from colder areas thus far have been encouraging. I do not remember mature buds ever being damaged by the winters in the Eugene area. Reports also have been good from the warmer areas of the country where it seems to excel. R. 'Trude Webster' looks like a rhododendron that is going to have a promising future.