QBARS - v8n2 Book Review

Book Review
Rudolph Henny

HARDY RHODODENDRONS by Frederick Street, 4 Full page color plates, 28 black and white, 192 pages, Collins, St. James's Place, London

This volume delightfully written with considerable amounts of whimsical humor brings up to date the subject of the more hardy types of hybrid rhododendrons. Frederick Street, the author does not dawdle in expressing his experiences and beliefs, and his statements are never wishy washy . He immediately crosses swords with Captain Kingdon-Ward, the noted plant explorer, in regards the later's statements about hybrids. He pulls no punches in regards, plants from famous gardens, or the theories of the originator thereof. The author explains his position and assumes the opposite view of many persons of horticultural note in Great Britain e.g. the naming of entire batches of hybrid seedlings with the same clonal name. This practice has proven to be an abomination here in the United States where many of these never alike seedlings are being grown under the same name. Mr. Street's work never takes on the air of a reformer, but rather ,a commonsense viewpoint and the reader will without doubt agree in almost all aspects with the author. It is apparent also that Mr. Street does not stand in subdued awe, whether the subject be hybrids, or hybridizer. This is the most refreshing work yet printed on the subject. The volume traces the history and development of over 200 varieties, and the chart classifying many new features that have been overlooked in previous writings is reliable and informative. The later portion of the book is devoted to the successful propagation, culture and planting, along with some words on pests and diseases.  The color plates are for the most part very good reproductions, save the two pictures of R. 'Purple Splendor'. For one reason or another the intense shade of purple cannot be reproduced accurately and the two plates are no better or worse than that which appeared on the cover of the January Bulletin of the American Rhododendron Society. I predict that this volume will be widely read here in the United States, and be of great interest to those who live in the more rigorous climatic districts.