R. 'China' as illustrated on the cover of the Quarterly Bulletin of the American Rhododendron Society is one of the many fine hybrids produced by W. C. Slocock Ltd. It has the characteristics of most of the hybrids developed by this firm, viz., real garden hardiness. Plants of R. 'China' withstood temperatures of minus fifteen degrees during the last winter without damage to the plant or foliage.
The parents of the plant are R. fortunei x R. wightii . R. fortunei has produced many excellent offspring, but such has not been the case with plants of the R. lacteum series. Walter Slocock writing in the Quarterly Bulletin of the American Rhododendron Society vol. 4 no. 3 page 109 states that " R. wightii has hitherto not shown any talent as a parent and in fact the series Lacteum does not impart vigor to its children." Again quoting the above mentioned article by Mr. Slocock. "'China' however is a break, it has combined the size and quality of the flower of R. fortunei - the seed parent - with the number of flowers and the cream coloring of R. wightii ."
Often plants that are perfectly hardy are much lacking in regards foliage. The pleasing, large, deeply veined leaves of R. 'China' are all that could be desired, and the plant has an almost distinctive appearance in the garden.
The truss of R. 'China' has seventeen flowers each 3½ inches wide and of deep cream coloring. The plant received an Award of Merit in 1940.
The photograph was taken by the noted photographer J. E. Downward at the trial gardens of the Royal Horticultural Society at Wisley.