QBARS - v3n3 Book Review: "Rhododendron" by Kingdon-Ward

Book Review
Rudolph Henny

Rhododendron by F. Kingdon-Ward, 5 illustrations. 128 pages, Latimer House Limited, London, E. C.

Mr. Kingdon Ward minces no words about his likes and dislikes of certain members of the genus Rhododendron . Writing from his own seemingly limitless observations of have rhododendron species growing in the wild, Mr. Ward blazes a new trail and departs from the commonly accepted old paths that have been so heavily trodden by rhododendron writers during the last half century. For most hybrids this plant explorer has an unblushing contempt, but admits that they do have a place in the modern garden. Mr. Ward saw thousands of species in full bloom in their native state, many of great age, and he states that no hybrid can compare to them. No doubt this marvelous sight of millions of bloom would have a devastating and also lasting effect on any person privileged to see such a sight. A few of the popular species are also castigated by the writer: of R. dichroanthum Mr. Ward flatly states he would not have it growing on his grave. This edition contains many notes of Mr. Ward's observations of rhododendrons in the field, which are interesting, descriptive and a delight to the reader   A list of tall growing species suitable for the estate or woodland are suggested as is a list of dwarfs suitable for the rockery or hedge. A chapter on cultivation and propagation are also included though I must say the notes on propagation are mainly a resume of methods and not actually a complete directive for a person wishing to propagate.   Mr. Ward makes a very apparent error in this volume by referring to the Pacific Northeastern States as a favored spot for raising rhododendron. I recommend this volume most highly to the expert and amateur alike, written with determination suggesting vast experience. It is a most welcome addition to all interested in rhododendrons.