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Lem Favorites
Don McClure, Seattle, Washington

R. 'Halfdan Lem' R. 'Replet'
R. 'Halfdan Lem'
Photo by Gwen Bell
R. 'Replet'
Photo by Gwen Bell

My orientation toward Lem's hybrids has been the same as that toward all plants of the genus whatever the origin. It follows the approach reflected in the principles of the Awards Program, a selection of a concentration on those potentially eligible for the Superior Plant Award. 'Lem's Cameo' ('Anna" x 'Dido') has already achieved this status. As plants of the Walloper cross ('Anna' x 'Marinus Koster') become more widely distributed, it seems possible that one of 'Lem's Monarch', 'Point Defiance', 'Pink Walloper', 'Rose Walloper' or some other clone of this cross may share the distinction with 'Lem's Cameo'.

Two "dark horses" may eventually emerge. The first, an apricot-pink clone of 'Lem's Goal' x 'Loderi' for want of something or other, called 'Whopper', is a tall open plant with huge trusses of large flowers. It is not the easiest to grow. The second, 'Red Olympia', is a large flowered red clone of 'Anna' x 'Fusilier'. It would certainly be superior to 'Halfdan Lem' if it were to prove more hardy than it appears to be and if a tendency to retain faded flowers as brown rags in the flower head disappears.

'Ann Carey' is an example of several forms of keiskei x spinuliferum , all with apricot colored, small flowers and loose twiggy growth. I am sure it will have a place in proper settings but I find myself in the habit of overlooking it and its sisters.

Three of Lem's early crosses are still capable of attracting interest and attention. 'Seattle Gold' ('Diva' x 'Ole Olsen') is a tall, strong growing plant which can be quite spectacular. As a plant it is very hardy and easy, but a severe winter or late frost will reduce the quality of its flowers. I still look forward to seeing it each year. 'Lem's Goal' ('Azor' x 'Ole Olsen') has seemed to disappear over the years. Where it is hardy it is attractive. 'Jingle Bells' ('Ole Olsen' x 'Fabia') is certainly as good as 'C.I.S.' and much better behaved.

An evaluation such as this can't escape a certain amount of subjectivity, although I try to avoid it. Because I have witnessed enjoyment on the part of others of Lem's plants which I don't particularly do well with, I list some of them, to wit, 'Replet', 'Wizard', 'Holy Moses', 'Hello Dolly', 'Azor x strigillosum , 'Unimak.'

There are two of Lem's productions which I like very much, and in which liking I seem to represent a consensus of one. The first is 'County Fair', a form of [(Mrs. C. B. Van Nes x Loderi) x williamsianum ] The second is a form of [C. P. Raffill x (Azor x auriculatum )]. I hope I live long enough to see my enthusiasm for these shared.

Additions to Don McClure's list of "dark horses" might include the hybrids 'Anna' x 'Loderi King George' D77 which has beautifully shaped, domed trusses of satiny-pink and 'Lem's Goal' x 'Marinus Koster' - Shade House which supports tall well filled trusses of white blossoms marked by dark maroon-red spots densely spaced to form broad rays on the upper lobes.

'Mrs. J. H. Van Nes' x 'Loderi' and 'Peter Koster' x 'Loderi' may have been crossed in England and raised from seed by Halfdan Lem. The first of these two hybrids has two clones that I have seen. One is a pearly pink which fades gracefully to almost white and the other clone is a deeper non-fading pink. Both have a small red eye. The white form is easy to propagate but the pinker one is difficult to root. 'Peter Koster' x 'Loderi' has tall, somewhat conical shaped trusses of glistening white with a few light red spots forming two "ears" on the upper lobes. This one has inherited the fragrance of the Loderis.

-- Gwen Bell