QBARS - v3n1 Book Review: The Rhododendron Handbook, 1947

Book Review

Rudolph Henny

The Rhododendron Handbook, 1947 , by The Rhododendron Group of the Royal Horticultural Society, 318 pages, Spottiswoode, Ballantyne Co. Ltd., London

The Rhododendron Group that undertook to republish this fine work, the first since 1939, has closely followed the general outline of former editions. The list of species is arranged alphabetically with a short description of habit, and bloom, each with its series or subseries classification. Most of the species are given a hardiness rating, that is only moderately accurate in its application to our conditions in the United States. A degree of desirability of each species is also tentatively expressed by a rating system.  Collectors numbers of Forrest, Farrer, Kingdon-Ward, Dr. Rock, Ludlow and Sheriff and McLaren are also listed. Hybrids are listed with a description of bloom and merit ratings. Many new hybrids have been added and rated. There has also been a conservative re-rating of older hybrids, with some undeservedly being raised or lowered.  The azalea section lists both deciduous and evergreen azaleas with short description of bloom and ratings. The parentage of many hybrids has been assembled in the Stud Book section. This record is one of the great achievements of the Rhododendron Group. The publication of this valuable information is of great importance to all rhododendron lovers throughout the world. The handbook contains no cultural information and contains no illustrations. I presume that in its original inception the Handbook was intended as a basic reference guide that could be easily carried about without bulkiness. For what it was intended the Handbook is the best up to date work of its kind, and it will not be republished again for five years by the Rhododendron Group.