H: Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Rosebay Volume 2 Number 2 Spring 1973

John J. Slavitz, Editor
Pembroke, Ma


By Dick Leonard

The genus rhododendron offers many landscape uses even in the difficult and varying climates of Massachusetts. Unfortunately, however, the attraction between man and plant has led to widespread misuse in many home plantings.

Surely all of us have seen, and many of us own, examples of mature large-flowered hybrids which are threatening to push the house off its foundation, which successfully shut off all daylight from first floor windows, or which sprawl out at grotesque angles from the foundation plantings reaching for more light or growing space. These were planted, of course, with the best of intentions and tender loving care by people who purchased them as "cute" 18-24 inch plants but with no thought to knowledge of their ultimate size.

Those people who own large homes of the Victorian era or of the early twentieth century may still use the larger hybrids to advantage. However, owners of Capes or Ranch homes should restrict their use to marginal or screen plantings. If they are fortunate enough to have a natural wooded area on their property, they can establish them as an attractive underplanting.

What, then, is available to the small homeowner who wishes to use the genus Rhododendron in his foundation planting? First, there are among the large-leaf hybrids certain varieties which reach only medium height (4 ft) in ten or more years. Generally, these selections are spreading in growth and rather compact.

Such old favorites as 'Boule de Neige' and 'Cunningham's White' - both good whites -come to mind. Both do better in part shade, the former because there tt is less susceptible to lacewing damage, the latter to winter sunburn. Several of the Shammarello hybrids are semi-dwarf in their growth. Those often recommended are 'Besse Howells' (red with lustrous foliage), 'Cheer' (shell pink with red blotch), 'Sham's Juliet' (apple blossom pink, brown blotch), 'Sham's Ruby' (blood red) and 'Tony' (cherry red). Another good old white, 'Chionoides', is very useful too. These are all supposed to take -20 degree F temperatures in their stride.

Several small leaf varieties are available and grow successfully in most of our area. These include 'PJM', familiar to all of us; 'Ramapo' and 'Purple Gem', similar dwarf mound types with leaves less than an inch in length and blue-violet flowers early in May; 'Windbeam' (carolinianum x racemosum), which opens white and ages to a soft pink. This plant stands shearing, should it be necessary. 'Mary Fleming', although not familiar to this writer, sounds most interesting and is hardy to at least -15 degree F. Being a cross between R. racemosum and R. keiskei, it has small leaves and is a shapely and free-flowering plant which blooms pale yellow with salmon shading outside the corolla. An old variety much prized for its compact and dwarf habit is R. laetevirens. There are few plants that can surpass it as a foliage plant. However, the small rose-red flowers are, fortunately, rather inconspicuous. Some of the 'Waltham' hybrids, too, have excellent foliage, with compact growth and showy flower heads in shades of pink and white.

Dwarfs, such as R. impeditum, 'Purple Gem', 'Ramapo', the dwarf forms of R. keiskei and R. racemosum have a unique place in the rock garden or in a contemporary stone garden. They can also find good use as ground cover plants under the light shade of Dogwoods, Japanese Maples, etc. In fact the hot summer sun has proved too much for R. impeditum in my planting, and I shall try it again in part shade.

The old standby, R. maximum is still very useful as a background plant because of its excellent foliage, especially in shade. It will even survive under the deep shade of maples if given the encouragement of good soil preparation and regular watering and feeding.

The large-flowered hybrids, to my mind, are best adapted to screen and marginal plantings, unless one is fortunate enough to own a large lot. There, the choice is limited only by the climatic conditions of your area.


Thank you for sending me the copy of "The Rosebay". Jack Cowles' article was very good. I have been thinking of Jack recently every time I see a row of pink R. mucronulatum raised from seed Jack sent me from 'Cornell Pink' selfed. They have been in bloom since February 21 and still look good. Normally there would be a frost to mess up the flowers before this.

About the only comment I can make is on the breeding behavior of R. mucronulatum 'Cornell Pink.' While I was at Waltham Field Station, I obtained a small plant of 'Cornell Pink' from the Arnold Arboretum. On the way back to the station I stopped at Weston Nurseries where Ed Mezitt used some pollen on R. carolinianum album, which resulted in his 'Shrimp Pink'. I used the pollen on R. racemosum, R. laetevirens and R. keiskei and in all cases the flowers are pink. The only cross attempted that hasn't resulted in pink flowers is with R. dauricum album. In this case, the flowers are a consistent magenta. Dr. Mehlquist would say that R. d. album isn't a genetically pure album form.

Robert L. Ticknor, President, American Rhododendron Society

Let me offer my congratulations on your publication. I surely hope that your Chapter is able to continue the good work. We have had an interesting meeting in Philadelphia (Feb.24, National Board Meeting) and I am sorry that no one was on hand to represent the Massachusetts Chapter.

Alfred S. Martin, Eastern Vice-president, A.R.S.

I am heading to Nepal soon, during the flowering season. I wonder if you can send me a copy of the last Rosebay. It had the directions on how to collect rhody seeds, and it will prove most useful if I can get it for Nepal now. I will bring home specimens for us all and a special lecture, if requested. I am leaving next week.

Michael Wiedman

I thought you might be interested to know that I am planning a trip to the Chelsea Show in London and will also visit a number of gardens, particularly rhododendron gardens around London. I am very excited. Perhaps I can take some slides. Also I might write an article for The Rosebay. Perhaps also something about rhododendrons in Norway too. I have found out that some of the gardens on the west coast of Norway are very good indeed.

Jon Shaw

You possibly know that T.H. Wing passed away about a month ago. All his disposable plants were taken up by a greenhouse nearby. I hope to get away again in May to Germany and Austria. My older sister two years younger than I died three weeks ago. Thank you for keeping me informed on Society matters. I do not like to engage in lengthy auto trips, hence my absence in Hopkinton.

Fred Schumacher


On April 11 at Carbone's Restaurant the 1973 Annual Meeting was held. The following were elected: President, Max Resnick; Vice-President, Jack Cowles; Secretary-Treasurer, Elinor Clarke; Clerk, Eveleth Cowles; Director for 3 years, Jay Slavitz.

Elinor Clarke presented a nice plant of R. sataense, the Sata Azalea, to Jack Cowles in appreciation for his practical help at Chapter meetings. This plant had been grown from seed collected by Dr. Frank Doleshy in Japan and sent to our Chapter the year it was founded. It has raspberry pink blooms and roots readily from cuttings. It is Zone 7, so cannot be grown out of doors here.

Max Resnick made an acceptance speech, presented a gavel to Louis Cook as outgoing president, and then introduced the speaker, Larry Carville.

Larry was a Cornell graduate and worked at Serbin's Tumblebrook Nurseries before his current position at Rhode Island Nurseries in Middletown. He is a member of the Plant Propagators Society. "Propagating Can Be Fun" stressed the need to influence youngsters to enter the field of horticulture so as to insure "green survival". The current interest in ecology has been a great stimulus to the nursery business.
Larry described the wholesale operation at Rhode Island Nurseries. Six men on 400+ acres set out 600,000 plants, mostly of their own propagation. Included are 50,000 ericaceous plants, mostly evergreen, destined for Midwest sales.

Slides included November cuttings of Taxus in sand, upright junipers grafted to 1 year stock in clay pots, spruce in Jan., Feb. Also shown were slides of softwood summer propagation under mist out of doors in sand as well as some directly in loam, then covered with plastic and shaded. Hormex #8 is used for azaleas, which are trimmed, struck in peat and lighted in winter to produce more cuttings. Container-grown plant's were shown and the necessity for cutting into the rootball at time of planting emphasized.

A lively interest was shown by the audience in regard to detailed cultural suggestions. Hormex #8 from Brooker Chemical Co. is comparable to #3 Hormodin. Six strengths are available. A dip of Jiffy-Grow at 2 to 1 is good for hard-to-root types. The media used in houses is washed masonry sand, loam and peat (European has best fiber consistency).

For disease control, prevention through sanitation was stressed. Phytopthera can be controlled by mixing Benlate with #8 Hormex or washing the cuttings in a Benlate solution (less than 10%). This is a systemic and lasts for only one flush of growth. At Conard Pyle they have had success with Tru-Ban from Malencroft Chemicals in either a 25% emulsion or a 30% wettable powder.
For Botrytis Daconil purchased as a 75% wettable powder is very safe and effective.

The evening closed with a raffle of a number of beautiful plants donated by Larry to the Chapter.

Eveleth Cowles, Clerk


"Return to Paradise" at the Commonwealth Armory, Boston, again featured the Stone acacias back in all their glory, lining a boulevard leading to the Weston Nurseries exhibit. The curving open bed of tall white birch with drifts of daffodils and lawn was one of the most charming displays ever in a flower show. Rhododendrons; pink laurel and imaginative companion plants including lady slippers and lily-of-the-valley, showed perfect examples of skill in forcing and design. A medal well deserved!

Alexander Heimlich of Woburn had an exhibit notable for exceptionally fine, color effects: pink primulas with clusiana tulips and superb Exbury azaleas, white and yellow combined with huge primulas to match. Also of note were 'Delaware Valley White' azaleas and a fine specimen of Prunus glandulosa sinensis albo plena

Winner of the Landscape Award was Kennedy's Gardens in Scituate. Their display featured the azaleas 'Wilhelmina Vuyk' (white), 'Johann Strauss' (pink) and Pieris.

The splendid Gardner Museum azaleas were used to good effect bordering the "sidewalk cafe." Pastel salmon and white variety 'Eric Schaeme' was mouth-watering.

Ericaceous plants were prominent in the following exhibits: De Vincent of Waltham (azaleas 'Treasure', 'Hino Crimson' and R. 'Nova Zembla', Dowd's of Dover (Dexter's 'Westbury' and a good pink Kalmia) and Windy-Lo of Natick with sortie nice R. vaseyi.

Carlton Lees is to be complimented on the overall effect and the highly imaginative use of art and lighting on a very difficult wall.


Ed. Note: Our Chapter has been invited by Mr. Lees to consider an exhibit featuring species rhododendrons for the 1974 Flower Show.


Our annual truss show and auction will be held on Friday, June 3 at the South
Shore Natural Science Center in Norwell on Jacobs Lane, off Rte. 123
Registration for the Show will be from 8:30 to 10 A.M., judging from 10 to 11.
The doors open to the public at 11, with the auction beginning at 1 o'clock.
You will receive shortly a copy of the contest rules and some pre-registration forms. Please enter and enter often.
There will be a special category this year in the competition for 35mm slides showing varieties not in bloom at this time of year. A prize will be awarded for the slide demonstrating the best use of rhododendrons in the landscape and another for the slide of the best truss.
The auction committee has already acquired nearly 300 plants to sell. They range from tender greenhouse types from the west coast to the hardy ironclads. As everyone knows from our auctions in past years, the quality of the material is high and the prices are reasonable.
The committee asks that any members able to do so please be at the show at 8 A.M. to lend a much-needed hand.


Shortly after the last issue of the Rosebay was published, I received a very nice letter from Fred Knapp of Locust Valley; N.Y. Mr. Knapp is president of the N.Y. Chapter as well as Editor of their Newsletter. Along with some Congratulatory words regarding our effort, he generously gave his permission for us to reprint any article we might like, so in future issues I hope to share with you some very fine articles from New York. Incidentally, regarding the New York publication, I know what the chicken must have thought when she saw the ostrich egg: it's amazing what is being done elsewhere. Nice job, Fred!

While on the subject of upcoming issues, I must repeat my appeal for articles.
I'm sure everyone must have some bit of information they are willing to share with the rest of us. Send it to me and we'll print it. Don't forget the show June 3.
See you there!


These will be printed at the end of The Rosebay in such a way that you can cut them out and paste them on to the blank spaces of your current membership list.

Viki Ferreniea
Twin Brooks
Greenville, N.H. 03048

George J. McGoff
9 Gurney Drive
Pembroke, Mass. 02359

J. Otsuki
16 Winslow Rd.
Duxbury, Mass. 02332

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