QBARS - v30n3 Book Review: The Laurel Book

Fred C. Galle, Pine Mountain, Ga.
Vice President and Director of Horticulture
Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain, Ga.

THE LAUREL BOOK, Richard A. Jaynes, Hafner Press, Div. of Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., New York: 1975. $10.95. Illustrated.

Kalmia latifolia 'Ostbo Red'
Kalmia latifolia 'Ostbo Red'
Photo by A. W. Kraxberger

THE LAUREL BOOK is the first complete history of the botany and taxonomy of the genus Kalmia. Included also is information on culture, propagation, pests, and on the genetics, development and selection of new cultivars. The entire book is on the genus Kalmia, a work of Richard A. Jaynes, a professional horticultural geneticist, who has spent more than fifteen years in the study of the rich diversity and genetic variations of the seven species of Kalmia. Mountain laurel, Kalmia latifolia, is one of North America's beautiful native shrubs. The pictorial account of the selected cultivars is a joy and a challenge to any gardener or nurseryman to work with these plants and to grow them in his own garden or nursery.

The chapters on fundamental garden care go into detail regarding the basic cultural requirements necessary for the amateur and dedicated gardener and nurseryman. Chapters on propagation, by both seed and vegetative methods bring out the detailed research done by the author on the many ideas that may be applied to many groups of plants which are difficult to grow. The book closes on two important chapters. One on the technique of making controlled crosses, with details for both the amateur and expert, and the last chapter covers the inheritance of flower color and other selected traits, condensing the results of over 12,000 controlled crosses made by Dr. Jaynes with the laurel species since 1961 at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. Dr. Jaynes has been active in the American Rhododendron Society and is a recipient of the Bronze Medal.

I thought, at first, that I might be prejudiced, having known Dr. Jaynes for many years, but found that members of my staff also found the book very informative and instructive. I can sincerely recommend this book by a dedicated plantsman to the gardener and nurseryman as an important reference for anyone who enjoys plants.