Rosebay Index
Rosebay Index

The Rosebay Volume 1 Number 1 February, 1972

Jonathan Shaw, Editor
Newton, Massaschusetts

Massachusetts Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society

THE ORIGIN OF RHODODENDRON 'P.J.M.'

BY Edmund V. Mezitt

Rhododendron 'P;J.M.' is a cross between Rhododendron dauricum and Rhododendron carolinianum. However, the results of many other crosses made by myself and others have never before or since produced the vigor and beauty of 'P.J.M. ' The obvious reason for this is in choice of the parent plants.

In 1939 my father, Peter J. Mezitt, and I spoke to friends of missionaries who told of unusual and interesting plants growing in the mountains of Northern China. We gave them $50 to send us a few seedlings. Among these was one outstanding plant that proved to be a very evergreen form of Rhododendron dauricum.

Several years later I saved some pollen on a camel's hair brush and a number of weeks later remembered to dab the pollen on a flower of Rhododendron carolinianum which we were using as seed stock. This was the first cross I ever made. Fortunately, I remembered to gather the seed pod that fall and germination that winter was successful.

We had all but forgotten this hybrid over the next several years until one Sunday in early May in 1945. We were just developing our nursery in Hopkinton, and we were visiting it that morning, having been tied up during the busy season at Weston for most of the week. My heart still skips a beat when I recall the reaction of our entire family when we saw that ribbon of brilliant pink running across the hill. My Dad was so enthusiastic about these little dwarf plants - only six to eight inches tall - in full bloom, that he immediately made the remark that this was the most spectacular rhododendron of our time. We named it 'P. J.M.' right on the spot and those of us who knew him can see the vigor, excitement, and showmanship he possessed perfectly reflected in this plant.

A FAVORITE RHODODENDRON: "GOLDFORT"

'Goldfort' is a very beautiful yellow flowered rhododendron, one of the very few which can be grown anywhere in the Northeast. It has large, pale-yellow flowers and large medium-green leaves. My own plant has been growing in my garden on Cape Cod for the last six or seven years, is now six feet high, and blooms every year. Rhododendron Information lists it as hardy to at least -10 F. which certainly agrees with my own experience. I have no doubt it is hardy along the coast to Boston and beyond and perhaps inland as well. It is worthy of experiment by any rhododendron buff who would like to try a yellow-flowered rhododendron. 'Goldfort' is a cross of 'Goldsworth Yellow and fortunei, and introduced by the English nurseryman, Slocock, in 1937. 'Goldfort' itself is much superior to 'Goldsworth Yellow' in vigor, size of flower, and overall beauty. To the best of my knowledge, the only nuseryman in the East who sells 'Goldfort' is Warren Baldsiefen *. - Jonathan Shaw

The section of The Rosebay entitled "A Favorite Rhododendron" will need the support of the entire membership of the Massachusetts Chapter. Anyone who has a favorite rhododendron should write a paragraph or two about his favorite and send them to the editor. Immortal prose is not a prerequisite, but enthusiasm and careful observation are.

DEXTER RHODODENDRON CULTIVAR PROGRESS REPORT

Heman Howard, Horticulturist at Heritage Plantation, announced at his lecture (The Dexter Rhododendrons --- Past, Present and Future) on February 15 that the above report would be available free from Heritage Plantation as long as copies remained. The report, which is ten pages in length, contains "a list of nurseries and individuals known to be growing Dexter rhododendrons. The report also contains an alphabetical listing of the 79 Dexter cultivars with numbers indicating where this variety is being grown. For anyone interested in obtaining any of the more unusual Dexters this report is invaluable. Those interested should write: Heman Howard, Heritage Plantation, Grove St., Sandwich, Mass.02563

HYBRIDIZERS' WANT LIST

Any hybridizer who would like pollen from particular plants should let the Editor know, and his requests as well as his name and address will be listed in this newsletter. The Editor, for example, is looking for pollen of 'Full Moon,' 'Mrs. Lindsay Smith,' and 'Sappho.'

*Catalog: $1.50 Warren Baldsiefcn, Box 88, Bellvale, N.Y. 10912 (Baldsiefen's writing is as lush as the rhododendrons the describes)

WHAT'S IN A NAME

This newsletter takes its name from the Rosebay rhododendron (Rhododendron maxinum), which is the only evergreen rhododendron native to the 'The Bay State. The Rosebay is found all along the East Coast, growing as far north as Quebec, Ontario, and Nova Scotia and reaching its greatest abundance in the Smoky Mountains. In the South it grows in thickets of "hells". Interestingly enough, the northern forms of the Rosebay are not are vigorous as the southern forms, though some nurseries have plants which are both vigorous and compact. The Rosebay is not especially ornamental as a flowering shrub, but it is extremely hardy and makes a good background (for those with abundant land) for more interesting rhododendrons. The Rosebay blooms in July and can tolerate damper conditions than most rhododendrons.

Any member who has even the vaguest urge to write an article for this newsletter should call or write the Editor Jonathan Shaw Tel 244-0217 41 Roundwood Rd, Newton, Mass. 02164

In the next issue Dick Leonard, landscape architect and a member of our Board of Directors, will have an article on landscaping with rhododendrons.

QUESTIONAIRE

1. Future articles I would like to read would be on:

[] growing rhododendron from seed

[] propagating rhododendron by cuttings

[] well-known gardens

[] species rhododendron hardy in Massachusetts

[] meetings of the Massachusetts Chapter I could not attend

[] listings of nurseryman who sell rhododendron

[] other (please specify):

[] all the above

2. In this first issue of The Rosebay I was particularly interested in:

3. With a bit of arm twisting I am willing to write for The Rosebay on:

I have checked #3 My name is:

Address:

PLEASE RETURN TO:

Jonathan Shaw Editor, The Rosebay 41 Roundwood Rd. Newton, Mass. 02164