Rosebay Index
Rosebay Index

The Rosebay

Canton, MA


Rosebay Note: We continue in this issue the Dexter saga with Heman Howard's recollections of his decade at Heritage. Since Heman followed the Cowleses at Sandwich, it seems only fitting and proper that this same sequence exist for the "Rosebay". While to the majority of us in Mass. Heman needs no introduction, 20% of our readership is now from outside the state and New England. We suspect Heman's story will be of special interest to this latter group.

Horticultural Consultant

DURING these past few years, many articles have been written covering the life of Charles 0 Dexter and his accomplishments in the field of rhododendron hybridization from the year 1921 until his death in 1943. The results of his hybridizing program became known to rhododendron enthusiasts throughout this country an well as parts of Europe and Eastern Asia. (See Vol. 25, #2, April 1972, ASS Quarterly Bulletin)

There were recently published in the Massachusetts Chapter publication, "The Rosebay" (Vol. 7, #2, Fall 1978), two fine articles written by Chapter members Jack and Eveleth Cowles covering the activities at the Dexter Estate from May 1958 through 1967. During that period, Jack served as horticulturist for Mr. Stanley Berns, then owner of the property.

It was from Mr. Berns that the Dexter Estate was purchased in 1967 by Mr. Josiah K. Lilly III for the purpose of creating a museum to be dedicated as a memorial to his father, Josiah Kirby Lilly, Jr. during the next two years, much work

was done in restoring the 76 acres to conform to the plans already approved by Mr. Lilly and his Board of Trustees. When restoration is completed, this beautiful estate will be known as the Heritage Plantation of Sandwich.

I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Lilly and Mr. Nelson 0. Price, his newly-appointed Director of Heritage Plantation, on one of their visits to the Arnold Arboretum during the summer of 1967. An invitation was extended to me to visit the old Dexter Estate and see first hand the changes that were to take place. On that visit, I was offered a position as a part-time horticultural advisor. During this restoration period, a complete mapping and record system was to be established similar to the one used at the Arnold Arboretum.

These were two very busy years for the small Heritage horticultural staff who assisted the Boston landscape architect, Philip Ansel, and his crew with this huge project. Buildings were to be erected; roads throughout the 76 acres were to be built; trees and shrubs, large and small, were to be dug and stored ready for replanting. And, with all this, there were hundreds of plants arriving from outside sources which had to be cared for until planting sites were ready. All these details were completed on schedule and Heritage Plantation was officially opened to the public in June 1969.

In July 1970, I retired from the staff of the Arnold Arboretum to accept the full-time position as Horticulturist of Heritage Plantation of Sandwich. This appointment offered many new opportunities and challenges - to which I eagerly looked forward:

Soon after my arrival, I was asked to attend to the details of hosting a group of rhododendron lovers who had scheduled a meeting at Heritage Plantation for early October to discuss the possibility of organizing the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society. This group arrived on Saturday, October 3, 1970, and after a tour of the grounds, a meeting was held in the theater of the Antique Car Museum followed by an illustrated talk by David C. Leach, Past President of the American Horticultural Society and author of "Rhododendrons of the World". We then adjourned to the Coonsmessett Inn in Falmouth for dinner and a discussion of the many details necessary in making application for a club charter and membership in the American Rhododendron Society. It was only a few weeks before the Chapter 5 request for membership was accepted and the Massachusetts Chapter was born - with Edmund Mezitt being elected its first President.

I soon found that I had much to learn about Mr. Dexter and his rhododendrons. My exposure to this group of plants during my years at the Arnold Arboretum was limited, though we did have a collection of about 100 miscellaneous seedlings given the Arboretum by Mr. Dexter in 1929. The plants received were mostly of R. catawbiense strain; and in later years, when a survey was made and photographs taken, none was found worthy of naming, but many were interesting.

By mid-September 1970, our search for Dexter cultivars began, and the search has continued since that time. Using the March 15, 1963, report by Dr. John Wister entitled "Rhododendrons; the Dexter Strain Hybrids" as a guide, it was noted that of the 79 cultivars listed Heritage had only 17 represented in its collection. This fact made us more determined than ever to locate and return these plants to the garden of their origin Contacts were made with several arboretums and botanical gardens well as a few private gardens from Cape Cod to Virginia. A two-week collecting trip was planned and the gardens I visited included:

Winterthur Museum, Winterthur, Delaware
U.S. National Arboretum, Washington, D.C.
Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania
John S. Tyler Arboretum, Lima, Pennsylvania
Arthur Hoyt Scott Foundation,
Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania
Dr. John C Wister's private garden, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania
Morris Arboretum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Planting Fields Arboretum, Oyster Bay, Long Island, NY

(The largest collection of mature Dexter cultivars to be seen anywhere in this country will be found in three gardens within a five-mile radius of one another - namely the Tyler Arboretum, Swarthmore College, and the garden of Dr Wister.)

These organizations were most interested and cooperative in our project, and we were able to obtain cuttings from 45 cultivars not represented in our collection at Heritage Plantation. The interest and encouragement conveyed by the staff of these gardens added to our incentive to locate the remaining cultivars.

All cuttings collected on this trip, plus a few hundred gathered at Heritage before leaving, were to be propagated by Roger Coggeshall, President of the Cherry Hill Nurseries, West Newbury, Massachusetts. This seems to be a suitable time to extend the appreciation of Heritage Plantation for him willingness to propagate our cuttings for the next few years. There are also two other men deserving of our thanks for their help (help without which our program would have been greatly delayed), namely Dr. John C. Wister, former Director of the Arthur Hoyt Scott Foundation, Swarthmore College Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, and Director of John Tyler Arboretum, Lima, Pennsylvania; also Edmund Mezitt, President of the Weston Nurseries, Hopkinton, Massachusetts. Thank you Roger, John, and Ed:

The rooting percentage of our 1970 cuttings was excellent, and young plants were returned to Heritage Plantation late summer of 1971 and planted in our nursery frames

During the winter of 1970-71, our first "Dexter Appeal" was compiled (see Vol.25, #2, p.109, April 1971 ARS Quarterly Bulletin) and mailed to many rhododendron growers through out the country. The response was most informative, and we were able to locate sources for 75 of the 79 listed cultivars,

Our search continued during the spring and fall of 1971. Following that year's National Convention at Philadelphia, a small truck was rented which made it possible for us to stop at the following nurseries on the return trip where plants of several cultivars were purchased. Also, in many cases, additional plants were donated by the owners and other plants were ordered for 1972 delivery:

Tranquility Nursery, George Arrington, Huntington Valley, Pennsylvania
Laurelwood Gardens, Mrs. John Knippenberg, Wayne, New Jersey
Indian Run Nursery, Mrs. Leon Heuser, Robbinsville, New Jersey
Oliver Nursery, Fairfield, Connecticut

During the winter of 1972, the number of Dexter cultivars nearly doubled. It was at this time that a group of rhododendron enthusiasts in the Philadelphia area, headed by Dr. Franklin West and Philip Livingston, became interested in publishing a much-needed book to include the works of several Eastern United States rhododendron hybridizers. With this in mind, Dr. John Wister, with assistance, was persuaded to write the chapter on Charles 0. Dexter. Having acted as secretary for the original Dexter investing committee, he was the most qualified man in the country to head this important task. It was my good fortune to be invited by John to assist him with this project - providing me with an experience and information that could not be obtained elsewhere. It was felt by many members of the book committee that at long last the best of the Dexter's growing at Swarthmore, Tyler, and Wister's under test numbers should be named so they might be included, This task received top priority, and the number of cultivars immediately jumped from 79 to 141. It is agreed that this is too many, and it is hoped in the near future that out of this list a selection of 30 to 40 of the best will be made and propagated by interested nurseries. The remaining cultivars, and it is certain many of them are nearly as good as the top 40, will remain in cultivation for rhododendron hobbyists and collectors.

Because of circumstances beyond the control of the book committee, there was a delay in its publication. However, in April 1978, "Hybrids and Hybridizers, Rhododendrons and Azaleas for Eastern North America" was published. The editors, Dr. Franklin West and Philip Livingston, should be proud of their efforts. Every gardener interested in the genus rhododendron will find its contents invaluable for reference.

This sudden increase in the number of named Dexter cultivars made it necessary for additional trips to the Wister and Tyler Arboretums. Annual collections were made each fall with the exception of 1974. Our special thanks are extended once again to John and Gertrude Wister and the Tyler Arboretum for their willingness to share their plants by furnishing Heritage with many, many cuttings.

Your editor has asked me to mention a few things I would like to see completed in the near future. One would be that the Dexter collection at Heritage be completed and another would be that I hope to see the day 'Dexter's Spice' is listed in Weston Nurseries' catalog.

During the fall of 1972, a three-acre wooded area was selected at Heritage Plantation to be cleared and prepared for our future Dexter Rhododendron Display Garden. Trees of various sizes had to be removed. Large oaks especially had to be thinned, and underbrush had to be removed. A water line was laid throughout the area making it possible to reach any plant with a 100' hose. Available plants were set out in the spring of 1973, and as young plants reached the necessary size, they too were planted. By the summer of 1977, there were over 300 plants representing nearly 100 cultivars. There were also small plants of an additional 25 cultivars in the nursery to be planted in 1979. Our goal to have a plant of every named Dexter cultivar represented in our collection for the 1980 National Convention will not be reached, but only a very few will be missing. The Display Garden will be of value to those interested in the Dexter collection of rhododendrons. Here the many cultivars can be studied and evaluated since they are growing under similar conditions. It is also the desire of Heritage Plantation to distribute cuttings in the near future to those friends who helped make this collection possible.

Previously, in response to many requests and realizing that the aforementioned cutting distribution program was several years away, we had formulated plans for a "Dexter Distribution Program". For three years, 1973-1975, a few rooted cuttings from several Dexter cultivars were available to the Members of Heritage Plantation at a reasonable cost. After contacting several growers capable of propagating for a program of this type, Dr. Thomas Wheeldon, Gladsgay Gardens, Richmond Virginia, agreed to proceed in the rooting of three cultivars for the first year and to furnish us with 400 small plants. Robert Carlson, owner of Carlson's Nursery, South Salem, New York, with much experience in shipping plants through the mail, agreed to assume that responsibility. This was a new venture, and after a few "kinks" were ironed out, it worked very well. One important fact we failed to take into consideration was that there were very few stock plants available for mass propagation, and the number of cultivars we anticipated was not as complete as expected.

The above three-year program was discontinued after the 1975 delivery was completed. During that period, it became known that several nurseries throughout the country were offering small Dexter plants for sale A list of 145 Dexter cultivars was sent to over 100 nurseries asking them to check and return an enclosed list indicating the cultivars they would be offering for sale in 1976. A new "Source List for Dexter Rhododendron Cultivars", dated May 1, 1976, was compiled and distributed to all registrants at the Valley Forge National Convention later that month. The demand for that brochure was so great another printing was done, and a copy will be sent upon request to anyone sending a stamped self-addressed envelope to Miss Jean Gillis, Horticulturist, Heritage Plantation, Sandwich, MA 02563.

With the cooperation of the ARS Plant Registrar, Edwin Parker, we were able to register 17 additional Dexter cultivars (see Vol. 32, #2, Spring 1978 issue of the Quarterly Bulletin). With the exception of 'Skyglow', all others were plants named by Jack Cowles between 1959 and 1967. From available records, this brings the total registered Dexters to 42. With the combined efforts of the John Tyler Arboretum and Heritage Plantation, an attempt will be made in 1979 to obtain the necessary information to register an additional 31. This is a project that Registrar Ed has been stressing for some time, and we hope to see his wish fulfilled.

How was the "Dexter Story" spread around the country during the 1967-1977 decade? At first, there were some "old timers" who were a little doubtful of the sincerity of the new owners of the Dexter Estate. This property had passed through four different owners between 1943 and 1967, and these same "old timers" know what had happened to many of the plants. They wanted to be sold on the sincerity of the new owners before committing themselves. It did not take long to convince them that our programs and goals were to restore the reputation of Charles 0. Dexter as a hybridizer as well as obtain a complete collection of his cultivars then in cultivation. As this is being written, we know Mr. Dexter stands high along with Joe Gable, Guy Nearing, Tony Shammarello, and other well-known rhododendron and azalea hybridizers. During the 1967-1977 decade, it was not possible to obtain the complete collection, but we were gratified to obtain about 90%.

The Quarterly Bulletin editors were always willing to publish material. Invitations to speak on the "Dexter Story" at the meetings of many chapters from Massachusetts to Virginia were accepted and enjoyed. The friends made on these occasions will remain some of my fondest. If meeting dates and propagation time coincided, I often took cuttings a-long to be distributed among the members. There were many times that I, too, returned to Heritage with cuttings and small plants voluntarily brought to the meetings. Members had seen our search list in the Quarterly Bulletin and wanted to help in our endeavors. It was also my good fortune to be on the program with Dr. Franklin West at the 1976 Valley Forge National Convention where we told the story of Mr. Dexter's life and rhododendrons. My last invitation was to speak to the Canadian National Rhododendron Society meeting at Vineland, Ontario, in May 1978. Much to my surprise, I found there are many Dexters being grown in the Niagara-Toronto area as well as areas in the vicinity of Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Between 1970 and 1977, Heritage Plantation received, by purchase or gift, plants and cuttings from sources listed below. We wish to thank each and every contributor and fervently hope no one has been overlooked.

Arnold Arboretum, Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts
Arrington, George; Tranquility Nursery, Huntington Valley, Pennsylvania
Bastedo Nursery, Freehold, New Jersey
Burns, Sydney; Syosset, New York
Coggeshall, Roger; Cherry Hill Nurseries, West Newbury, Massachusetts
Collins, Edward; Medford, New Jersey
Davis, Ross; Wayne, Pennsylvania
Bumper, Henry; Roslyn Estates, New York
Egan, Ernest; Woodbridge, Connecticut
Gray, Harold; Melville, New York
Herbert, Charles; Phoenixville, Pennsylvania
Heuser, Mrs. Leon; Indian Run Nursery, Robbinsville, New Jersey
Kehr, Dr. August; Silver Springs, Maryland
Knippenberg, Mrs. John; Laurelwood Gardens, Wayne, New Jersey
Koenig, Thomas; Asbury Park, New Jersey
Leach, David; North Madison, Ohio Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania
Mezitt, Edmund; Weston Nurseries, Hopkinton, Massachusetts
Mosher, Francis, Jr.; Mill Valley California
Mraw, Louis; Trenton, New Jersey Oliver Nursery, Fairfield, Connecticut
Paton, Andrew; Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts
Planting Fields Arboretum, Oyster Bay, New York
Princeton Chapter ASS, Princeton, New Jersey
Ragonese, Carmine; East Northport, New York
Royce, Mrs. Doris; Basket Neck Nursery, Ramsenberg, New York
Schlaikjer, Mrs. Hugo; Halesite, New York
Stillwell, Marshall; Thomasville, North Carolina
Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania
Thomson, William; Eden Gardens, Stamford, Connecticut
Tyler, John J Arboretum; Lima, Pennsylvania
U.S. National Arboretum, Washington, D.C.
VanVeen, Ted; VanVeen Nurseries, Portland, Oregon
VanVlecb, Howard; Montclair, New Jersey
Vermeullen & Sons Nurseries, Neshanic Station, New Jersey
Wheeldon, Dr. Thomas; Gladsgay Gardens, Richmond, Virginia
Winterthur Museum, Winterthur, Delaware
Wister, Dr. John; Swarthmore, Pennsylvania
Withers, John; Mt. Solon, Virginia
Young, Howard; Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania


Rosebay Note: We think this article will surprise many of our readers. Somehow or other Columbia , South Carolina just does not sound like "Dexter Country". Herb Racoff is a member of the Southeastern Chapter, A.R.S. and chairs the chapter's Dexter Study Group. Among other things he is widely known as a Camellia grower and recognized as a pioneer in the use of Gibberellic Acid with Camellia blooms. We are happy to welcome Herb as a contributor to this issue.

COLUMBIA, South Carolina is located in the geographical center of South Carolina, elevation 300 feet. Approximate average annual minimum temperature is 10-20 degrees F. Temperatures below 15 degrees are unusual. Some fall seasons can be very mild. The first frost and freezing temperature of 26 degrees occurred on the night of December 10, 1978 Ordinarily this can be expected to happen about the middle of October.

My plants are grown on a one-half acre lot under the protection of tall pine trees, which allows for filtered sunshine. Some of the Rhododendrons are planted in the ground among 35-year-old Camellias and others are being grown in containers ranging in size from one quart to seven and one-half gallons. Frost rarely penetrates the overhead canopy provided by the pine trees. Average winter daytime temperatures are in the upper 40's to the upper 50's. The summers are very hot. Daytime temperatures in May are in the 80's and by the end of the month may get into the 90's. Temperatures in the mid to upper nineties are usual from June to mid September. Readings over 100 are unusual. Rainfall is generally adequate, about 52 inches per year, but dry periods and dry seasons are not infrequent. 1977 and 1978 summers were very dry. Nighttime summer readings are in the upper 60's to mid 70's with high humidity.

The soils in the Columbia area are mostly light and sandy, but red soils are common in the northwest parts of the city and suburbs. The soils can vary from almost pure sand to sandy loam to clay loam to clay. My plants are growing in a suburb located in the southeastern section known as Forest Acres. The soil is sandy, clay loam which is slightly on the heavy side. The pH is acid in reaction as is generally the case in this area.

Evergreen azaleas are seen in profusion in most all yards here. Rhododendrons are not commonly grown. There may be as many as 2000 rhododendron plants grown within a ten-mile area from where I live. Those which are grown are what most of us refer to as the old standard varieties. Unusual to see many deciduous azaleas, but some are grown, both the wild and cultivated forms. My experience has been that these are very susceptible to mildew in the late summer and early fall and this results in premature leaf drop.

My first experience with rhododendrons occurred in the late 1960's when a nurseryman friend in North Carolina gave me 5 one-year-old plants growing in one-gallon metal cans: 'English Roseum', 'Luciferum', 'Nova Zembla', 'Roseum elegans' and one plant the name of which has been forgotten. The four plants previously named survived and are now fine specimens. This is something of a miracle because I knew nothing about rhododendrons. A large hole was dug, about one-third peat moss (Canadian) was mixed with the soil and the plants were put in the ground. The exposure was southeast and there were only two or three hours of sunlight in the middle of the summer, and less in the fall and winter. Watering or fertilizing was rarely done. The plants are now fine specimens. These varieties were selected because the donor said they were easy to grow. He said if they were successful other varieties could be tried.

Upon retirement, in January 1972, from a Veterinary career, ample free time was available. Friends in North Carolina suggested it would be a real challenge to try growing rhododendrons in Columbia, especially varieties which were not being grown here, In the spring of 1972 four. three-year-old plants were locally purchased: 'Scintillation', 'Maryke', 'Faggetter's Favorite' and 'Mrs. E.G. Stirling'. These plants were grown from liners imported from Washington state. These were being grown in raised beds of 50% Canadian peat moss and 50% very sandy soil. Even though properly planted, they succumbed to Phytophthora cinnamomi during the summer. The peat and sand mixture adjacent to the roots remained too wet. Also the spring of 1972 was characterized by frequent rains which did not help thesituation. When it became apparent that the plants were dying, cuttings were taken and successfully rooted. During the early stages of Phytophthora cinnamomi infection, the roots are destroyed, but the tops are not infected. The plants wilt, but turgidity can be restored to the cuttings by putting the stems in water for an hour or two. Plants of 'Mrs. E.C. Stirling' and 'Scintillation' from these cuttings are nice shrubs now. 'Faggetter's Favorite' and 'Maryke' have poor heat tolerance and in my opinion are not satisfactory plants for this area.

In the fall of 1972 additional plants were purchased from various sources in North Carolina. These were container-grown. Many tried to bloom in the fall. This was very disappointing since all of the buds on some of the varieties were affected. Fall blooms are most unsatisfactory since one doesn't get a good truss. Usually from one to three florets develop and when freezing weather comes, the buds freeze and, come spring, there is no bloom.

At the urging of friends, longtime rhododendron growers from North Carolina and Long Island, I became interested in Dexters and was made a gift of several year-old plants. Fall bloom in Dexters is generally not a problem. To date fall bloom has occurred yearly with 'Wissahickon'. However some buds usually remain undamaged and will make nice trusses in the spring. Longtime Dexter growers in the Southeast tell me one can expect a few florets occasionally on 'Apple Blossom' and 'Harlequin'.

In the fall of 1973 I purchased several 3- and 4-year-old Dexters in New Jersey. Most of these were budded. They were 'Wissahickon', 'Powder Puff', 'Tom Everitt', 'Great Eastern', 'Ben Moseley', 'Todmorden' and the nurseryman gave me a rooted cutting of 'Parker's Pink'. In addition he named what he thought were some of the more desirable varieties, but was unable to furnish a source. Since that time many Dexters have been purchased from New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, Oregon and Washington, mostly as rooted cuttings and some 1- to 5-year-old plants. Many of these were mislabeled, i.e. 'Powder Puff' for 'David Gable', 'Powder Puff' for 'Ice Cube', 'Scintillation' for 'Horizon', 'Scintillation' for 'Champagne', 'Warwick' for 'Betty Hume', 'Anna Rose Whitney' for 'Ashes of Roses', and on it goes. This is especially disappointing for a novice who does not realize the mislabeling until he has grown the plant for several years.

In the meantime he may have distributed cuttings which will only cause further confusion. Some nurseries are real generous and include in each shipment, which has been paid for in advance, a few dead or dying plants (at $5.50 or more each). Some were never rooted. One sometimes receives a piece of rhododendron, callused or not, just stuck in a ball of peat and perlite. These succumb shortly after arrival. Have experienced 30% to 80% mortality of rooted cuttings that arrived during May through July. Some of the problem is no doubt due to the fact that at this time of year the temperatures here are already high. I now try to get rooted cuttings delivered from late September through early November. These are generally sold as year-olds and cost more. However, survival of this group has been 90% to 100%. Cuttings rooted by me, or purchased, are potted in 4- to 6-inch plastic pots, depending on the size of the root ball. The potting mixture consists of 40% Canadian peat, 40% ground pine cones (WW shredder-grinder, passed through a 1/4" screen) and 20% coarse perlite to which is added one ounce of gypsum and one ounce of 20% superphosphate to each three gallons of the mixture. The ground pine cones sometimes include about one-third by volume of ground oak leaves.

Rooted cuttings are kept in the greenhouse, among the Camellia plants, during the first winter. Some choice varieties are often kept in the greenhouse over the second winter also. Electric heaters are set to come on when the temperature drops to 32 degrees and go off at 34. Every two months, from December through March, the rooted cuttings are foliar-fed with Peter's Rhododendron Special (15-45-5), half teaspoonful to each gallon of water. If any mildew appears, they are sprayed with Benlate: one teaspoonful to each two gallons of water. This can be mixed with the fertilizer solution. From April through August fertilization is by Peter's Rhododendron Special, foliar-fed at the rate of one teaspoonful to each gal ion of water, sprayed on the plants every two weeks. The application is made heavy enough to allow a good bit of the solution to run down into the pot. To the fertilizer solution is added one tablespoonful of Ben-late and two tablespoonfuls of Cap-tan (50% wettable powder) to each two gallons. From time to time I substitute two teaspoonfuls of Ferbam to each gallon instead of the Benlate-Captan mixture. Fungus diseases during the first summer on rooted cuttings have been a big problem for me resulting in 50% or more mortality. With the frequent use of fungicides the loss has been reduced to 10% or less.

During the last three years cuttings have been acquired from members of the Southeastern Chapter, arboreta and private gardens in the Northeast and from Camellia-growing friends on Long Island, who were also kind enough to get cuttings for me from their friends. I prefer to root cuttings from my own plants in June and July, from plants in the mountains of North Carolina in July August, October and November. Advantages of taking cuttings in June and July here are that bottom heat is not required and in addition another growth cycle will be obtained before cold weather arrives.

Cuttings are wounded on two sides soaked thirty minutes in Benlate solution (one tablespoonful to two gallons of water) and five minutes in a saturated sugar solution. Then they are dipped in indole-buyric acid powder: 0.8% to 1.6% in summer and 1.6% to 3% in fall, depending on the variety. Propagation is done in the greenhouse under intermittent mist: from 5 to 15 seconds every ten minutes depending on the outside temperatures. During the summer, misters are on from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. for from 10 to 15 seconds. During late fall and winter, misters are turned off on cloudy days. On sunny days, 5 seconds every 10 minutes from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. Rooting media is half Canadian peat and half coarse perlite. During the summer, even though the glass is shaded, greenhouse temperatures will reach 115 degrees or more. The shading material is Varishade applied to the inside surface of the glass. Varishade is opaque when dry. In the late fall and winter, when the greenhouse is tightly closed, moisture condenses and the glass becomes transparent, admitting more light. When the weather turns cool, usually by mid October, bottom heat of 72 degrees is applied to the rooting bed by means of a thermostatically controlled electric heating cable.

During the summer of 1978 Dexter cuttings were obtained from New York, Philadelphia, District of Columbia areas on July 19-21, and from Massachusetts on July 21 and August 1. As of December 1, 40% were rooted and potted. The rooting has been very erratic. 100% of some varieties stuck were rooted, others varied from 0% to 75%. About 10% rotted soon after being stuck and were discarded. Many of the cuttings are still in excellent condition and will probably still root. Having been under mist for so long they are now being lightly fed with Peter's Rhododendron Special (15-45-5) half teaspoonful to a gallon of water. This is applied as a spray every two weeks. There is no question in my mind that, in addition to the condition of the wood, there are optimum times for taking cuttings, varying with the varieties. For several years I've tried to propagate Dexter 'Betty Arrington'. Cuttings taken from June through September usually rotted within a week or two. This year those stuck in late October were, as of December 10, growing roots.

All rhododendrons grown in this area must have afternoon shade. They do best with high shade and good air circulation. Too much shade results in open growth, few or no bloom buds, and serious problems with Phytophthora cactorum. Plants will tolerate more sun if misted almost every day for an hour or two and kept well-watered. The Dexters have excellent heat-tolerance. Many clones, because of the large foliage, require much shade to avoid foliage burn, This is especially true of 'Scintillation'. Heat tolerance should not be confused with sun tolerance.

High planting is essential. I plant about three inches above grade. The soil mixture is one-half sandy clay topsoil. The other half is made up of 40% Canadian peat, 40% ground-up pinecones and 20% coarse perlite. A generous handful of gypsum, one of 20% superphosphate, and one of chlordane is added and thoroughly mixed in. The sound is then heavily mulched with pine straw. In the spring, after new growth begins, I fertilize with Camellia-Azalea fertilizer (4-8-4), a small handful to a three-foot plant applied to the mulch and watered in. One tablespoonful of Disyston per three-foot plant is sprinkled in the mulch. Cygon, two teaspoonfuls per gallon of water is sprayed on the plants. The Disyston, Cygon applications will give good control, for about 6 weeks, of lacewing fly and peony scale. Until the new growth hardens off, the plants are sprayed every two weeks with 50% Malathion, 1 teaspoonful to each gallon of water, in order to control biting and sucking insects. Additionally, young plants are fed a small handful of ammonium sulphate per 5-foot plant in early August. Sequestrene or iron sulphate is used if signs of chlorosis appear. It has been my experience that fertilizers applied in April, as the plants begin to bloom, should be avoided. This practice will cause new growth to come out. This will either push off the bloom buds or obscure the flowers.

Experience to date indicates we can probably grow all Dexters in Columbia. Those having cream, yellowish or apricot flowers, such as Dexter's Cream, Champagne and Sky-glow, are more difficult for us be-cause of poor sun tolerance. Exposure to sun results in poor foliage and sunscald, requiring the plants to be grown under much shade. This starts the vicious cycle of poor bud set and increased fungus diseases.

A Dexter Study Group has been active in the Southeastern Chapter for the past two years. Interest is very high. Meetings are held most every month on a Sunday. There are 22 active members and, when some of the mates attend, as many as 55 people may be present. The goals are: (1) To evaluate the clones as grown in our area; (2) To attempt to clarify the nomenclature of the Dexters; (3) To make clones available to our members. Growing conditions among our members vary considerably. For example, Columbia, South Carolina is 160 miles south of Asheville, North Carolina. Average annual minimum temperatures vary from plus 10 degrees to minus 8 degrees. The elevation of the growing areas ranges from 2900 feet in the mountains of North Carolina to 300 feet at Columbia, South Carolina. The soils vary from sand to clay, etc.

In the mid 1920's Charles O. Dexter moved his Beacon Manufacturing Company textile plant from Massachusetts to Swannanoa, North Carolina. During the late 20's and 30's truckloads of plants were shipped by Mr. Dexter to the Swannanoa-Asheville area. Many were planted on a hillside behind the Beacon Manufacturing Company, others at the Biltmore Estate and in Charles Dexter Owen's garden (Mr. Dexter's nephew) at Biltmore, North Carolina. Others were given to plant employees and friends. It is believed that these were all seedlings, although it cannot be ruled out that some were propagations from clones that Mr. Dexter considered superior. There is now no identification on these plants except for three which have been identified as originating in truckload shipments. They bear old tags No. 431 (not Giant Red), 429 and 405. There is also another Dexter being grown in the Asheville area identified as Dexter No. 203. There is no information available as to the origin of this clone. In the early 1960's another truckload of rhododendrons was shipped from the Dexter Estate to Asheville, North Carolina.

When rhododendrons began to disappear from the hillside planting behind the Beacon Manufacturing Company, the plants were dug and moved. Many were moved to the Biltmore Estate and Charles Dexter Owen's garden. Some were given to plant employees and others. It is only in the last few years that cuttings have begun to be available to members of the Southeastern Chapter. Some of the clones obtained from different sources appear to be identical. The possibility exists that plants of the same varieties were shipped to North Carolina or sister seedlings that were almost identical could have been received. However, it is also known that the owners of some of the plants exchanged cuttings or layers.

An interview was recently held with William H. Garren of Travelers Rest, South Carolina. He was present when the ARS Dexter Study Group visited the Biltmore Estate and the Charles Dexter Owen garden. To the best of his recollection this was about May 1956 or May 1957. He was not sure of the dates. Mr. Garren was in the employ of the Biltmore Estate at that time. The Dexter Study Group did not request any cuttings. He recalls the rhododendrons were magnificent, in full bloom, and the local people were very disappointed when the group did not think any of the clones were good enough or different enough from those which they had already tagged at other places. This was the reason given for not taking any cuttings.

About a year later, Dr. John Wister sent some small plants to the Biltmore Estate. (Again he was not sure of the date). The plants were to be grown and evaluated. At that time the Biltmore Estate operated a rhododendron nursery and test garden These plants were not named but were under numbers. Mr. Garren remembers one plant being tagged with a BPPM number. This identifies it as a Ben Moseley origination. About 1969 the Biltmore Estate Nursery went out of business, and the plants were sold. Included among those were Dexters that Dr. Wister had sent, some sent by Charles Dexter and rhododendrons obtained from other sources. These plants did not have any identifying names or numbers when they were disposed of. It is quite likely that cultivars growing in the Asheville area are (1) now named Dexters that had been sent to North Carolina by Dr. John Wister, (2) true named Dexters that had been sent by Charles Dexter (3) not Dexters at all, but plants obtained from other sources.

After growing Dexters for several years, from contacts with other growers, and seeing plants in bloom, I am convinced that there is confusion in the identification of clones in the channels of trade. Either the clones have somehow been mixed up, or named cultivars that are impossible to distinguish from each other were given different names by different growers. It is also possible that plants which were thought to be seedlings were propagations, not seedlings, and were distributed to more than one grower.

'Dexter Cherry Red' (Winterthur #11) seen in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey and New York are all indistinguishable from 'Wissahickon', even having the same bad habit of fall blooming. 'Dexter Amethyst' seen in shows in North Carolina and New York appears to be identical with 'Dexter's Purple'. I have been told by long-time Dexter growers that the true clone of 'Amethyst' is much lighter in color than 'Dexter's Purple'. I have seen two clones in nurseries tagged 'Dexter Tan'. One is pink and the other is buff or apricot. The buff or apricot color fits the description of the clone registered with the ARS as 'Tan'. I have been told that Dexter/Vossberg's 'Pink #1' , also known as SAE #1, is 'Dexter's Pink'. I do not have 'Dexter's Pink' and have not seen it in bloom. If SAE #1 and 'Dexter's Pink' are identical, why did Samuel Everitt number both clones differently? ('Dexter's Pink' was numbered SAE #12). All clones of 'Fordham' (New York Botanical Garden #201) seen to date are indistinguishable from 'Tom Everrit' (New York Botanical Garden #205). I do not believe the Dexter Study Group in 1949 would have tagged two identical cultivars with different numbers. Unfortunately, no plant identified as 'Fordham' could be located in the New York Botanical Garden in 1978.

The writer would be interested in any observations or comments from readers regarding these and other mixed-up Dexter clones that are currently in the channels of trade.

List of Dexters

Herbert Racoff
December 1, 1978

Acclaim - BC 1978*
Accomac - 4 yrs, budded
Accomplishment - 1 yr.
Adelphia - MC 1978
Alice Poore - 2 yrs.
Amethyst - 1 yr.
Arlequin - 2 yrs.
Aronimink - 2 yrs., budded
Ashes of Roses - 3 yrs.
Avondale - 1 yr.
Ben Moseley - 7 yrs., budded
Betty Arrington - 5 yrs.
Betty Hume - 7 yr., budded
Black Cherry - BC 1978
Brown Eyes - 7 yr., budded
Champagne - 5 yrs.
Charleston - 4 yr.
Chatham - 2 yr.
Cherry Red - 2 yrs.
C.O.D. -RC 1978
Dexter's Appleblossom - 3 yrs.
Dexter's Brandygreen - 3 yrs.
Dexter's Brick Red - RC 1978
Dexter's Cream - 3 yr., budded
Dexter's Favorite - 1 yr.
Dexter's Giant Red - 4 yr., budded
Dexter's Glow - 3 yr., budded
Dexter's Horizon - 4 yr., budded
Dexter's Orange - 2 yr.
Dexter's Orchid - 3 yr., budded
Dexter's Pink Glory - 3 yr.
Dexter's Purple - 4 yr.
Dexter's Red - 3 yr., budded
Dexter's Springtime - RC 1978
Dexter's Vanilla - RC 1978
Dexter's Victoria - 3 yrs.
Dorothy Russell - 4 yr., budded
Dot's Cherry Jubilee - 1 yr.
Elizabeth Poore - 3 yr.
Flaming Snow - 2 yr.
Fordham? - 4 yrs., budded
GiGi - 4 yrs. budded
Glenda Farrell - 1 yr.
Gloxineum - 2 yrs.
Great Eastern - 7 yr., budded
Halesite - 3 yrs., budded
Helen Everitt (Dexter?)-? yrs., budded
Honeydew - RC 1978
Hunting Hill - RC 1978
Katherine Slater - 1 yr.
Kelley - 1 yr.
Marshfield - RC 1978
Merley Cream - 2 yr.
Mr. W.R. Coe - 1 yr.
Mrs. W.R. Coe - 7 yrs., budded
Oh Joy - PC 1978
Parkers Pink - 6 yrs., budded
Pink Sparkler - 4 yr.
Powder Puff - 8 yrs, budded
Ramona - 4 yrs., budded
Red House - 6 yrs., budded
Red Velvet - 3 yrs., budded
Rona Pink - RC 1978
Sagamore Bayside - 5 yr., budded
Scintillation - 7 yr., budded
Shawee Lake - 3 yr.
Skyglow - 4 yrs., budded
Tan? - 3 yr., budded
Todmorden - 6 yr.
Tom Everitt - 7 yrs., budded
Tripoli - 2 yr.
Warwick - 7 yr., budded
Westbury - 5 yr., budded
Weston - 1 yr.
Willard - RC 1978
William Rogers Coe - RC 1978
Winneconnet - RC 1978
Wissahickon - 7 yr., budded
Wyandanch - 7 yr.
Beinecke #20 - RC 1978
Beinecke #43 - 2 yr., budded
Dexter Bow Street - RC 1978
Dexter Estate #501 - RC 1978
Dexter #13 - RC 1978
Dexter #44 - RC 1978 (Fairhaven)
Dwarf Pink Fragrant, H. Phipps #32-RC 1978
Everitt's Deep Pink (PF#130) - RC 1978
Everitt #2 - RC 1978
Everitt #10 - RC 1978
Evie Baalsrup (PF 69-55) - NC 1978
Pygmalion x Hematodes - PC 1978
Morris #4 - NC 1978
New York Botanical Garden #15 - RC 1978
Ross L - RC 1978
Salmon Pink (Weston) - RC 1978
SWl2499-7 - RC 1978
SWl2499-8 - RC 1978
SWl2505-4 - RC 1978
Vossberg's Pink #1(SAE#1)-4 yrs, budded
Wisner #1 - 3 yrs.
Wisner #2 - 3 yr., budded
Wisner #4 - 1 yr.
Young 59-47 - 3 yr. budded

*RC 1978 refers to cuttings rooted during the Summer and Fall of 1978 Asheville, North Carolina area locally named or numbered plants are not included in this list.


MY hope and objective for several years has been to originate an H-1 scarlet-red hybrid (the color of Mars) intermediate in growth between a dwarf and tall-growing variety. The plant characteristic to be endowed with a good root system vigorous with the vigor to be distributed overall to a bushy, well-formed plant, with branches hugging the ground. Clothed with an abundance of lustrous green foliage and retaining leaves two or more years. To root easily from cuttings, repel most insects, be fairly resistant to twig blights and root rot, and to set flower buds at an early age.

The above outline is a lot of wishing for an outstanding commercial plant. I am continuing toward this goal and made more crosses this spring. I might be lucky and get some help from Above.

At the present I have two plants in which I attained the scarlet-red color, void of any magenta, but they lack other qualities. 'B46-R' lacks vigor, is an irregular grower and ham sparse foliage, although an H-l hardy plant. 'Scarlet Glow' has vigor, upright growth of good proportion and good foliage, but an H-2 hardy plant. Both plants set bud when two or three years old.

I have several seedlings under observation. A few bloomed this past spring and showed promise. More plants have met buds and will come into bloom next spring.

I am holding hope that perhaps my 'Yaku Prince', in a pink, and 'Yaku Princess', in a white, may become popular plants in their respective colors

To sum it up, the test of time is the pendulum that affirms the consensus of opinion of the nearly perfect plant. The originator most likely will not share in its recognition.

It has been a lot of fun hybridizing, and my greatest rewards have been, and continue to be, the compliments for my plants.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The foregoing is excerpted from a personal letter from A.M. (Tony) Shammarello. It was in answer to a simple query to Tony last spring at the New York meeting. Now, with recognition for a lifetime of accomplishment, was he ready to call it quits - or was there still some unfinished business. If so, in what direction was he heading? The fact that his letter was not written until the following December, "on the day of the first snowfall, with no stress from other chores", speaks for itself. While Tony, his story and his plants have been described on many an occasion, even at the risk of redundancy, we cannot resist including our favorite--short in height, tall in stature and a giant of a man.


IF the American Rhododendron Society had been in existence in 1853, it might have invited Henry David Thoreau of Concord, Massachusetts, to become a member or to talk to the group. Since he was not much of a joiner, he probably would have been a more enthusiastic speaker than a member. His fondness for, and his interest in, the rosebay (R. maximum) and the rhodora (R. canadense) are mentioned several times in his writings - specifically in Volume V of his JOURNALS, which covers the period from March 5 to November 30, 1853.

About the rhodora he states the following on May 18th, "The rhodora is one of the very latest leafing shrubs, for its leaf-buds are but just expanding, making scarcely any show yet, but quite leafless amid the blossoms." He continues on May 20th with the following: "Of deciduous trees and shrubs, the latest to leaf out, as I find by observation today, must be the panicled andromeda, rhodora, and button-bush. In some places, however the first has perfectly formed leaves, the rhodora at most not half unfolded, the button-bush for the most part just bursting buds." And several days later (May 23rd), he mentions that "I see the light purple of the rhodora enlivening the edges of swamps---another color the sun wears. It is a beautiful shrub seen afar, and makes a great show from the abundance of its bloom unconcealed by leaves, rising shove the andromeda. Is it not the most showy high-colored flower or shrub? flowers are the different colors of the sunlight."

He believed that the introduction of Rhododendron maximum in Concord deserves recognition. On May 15th he wrote in his JOURNAL that "A man is about town with a wagon-load of the Rhododendron maximum this evening from Gardiner, Maine. It is well budded, buds nearly an inch long; long, narrow, thick leaves, six inches long or more. He says it means the 'rose of Dendrum' and will grow from a mere slip cut off and stuck in any soil,---only water it three times a day.!!! No doubt of it."

Those who purchased the plants must have cared for them properly, for on June 4th, Thoreau states that "the date of the introduction of the 'Rhododendron maximum' into Concord is worth preserving. They were small plants, one to four feet high, some with large flower-buds, twenty-five cents a-piece; and I noticed next day one or more in every front yard on each side of the street, and the inhabitants out watering them. Said to be the most splendid native flower in Massachusetts; in a swamp in Medfield. I hear to-day that one in town has blossomed."

Further mention of the rhododendron is made on June 18th when he writes that "At the flower Exhibition, saw the rhododendron plucked yesterday in Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire. It was the earliest to be found there, and only one bud yet fully open. They say it is in perfection there the 4th of July, nearer Monadnock than the town. Bigelow says 'the flowers form a terminal cluster or thyrsus immediately above the leave', and before expansion, forms 'a large compound bud, resembling a strobilus or cone'. These buds are very remarkable. These flowers were, I should say, a very pale rose-color, with permanent greenish spots on one side, as of fallen pollen. In the midst of such a profusion of roses, etc., I could not discriminate its odor well. It cannot be very remarkable in this respect."

There is no further mention of the Rhododendron maximum in his JOURNALS so we can only wonder what percentage of rooting was achieved by those who attempted the method of propagation to which he referred. Unfortunately, the rosebays planted in the front yards of Concord have, alas, long since disappeared, although they could have become magnificent specimens by now The rhodora, however, still flourishes in untouched sections of woodlands and swamps, presenting much the same annual spectacle which entranced Thoreau 125 years ago.

Landscape Architect
Illustrated by Francis T.P. Plimpton, Jr.

THE American Rhododendron Society lies in wait for the rhododendron collector. Sooner or later it gets its man (or woman).

It took 17 years for us to succumb, and we fell victim during the blizzard of 1978. Frustrated by the weather, we decided we'd be productive and clean out our old files. There under "rhododendron and azaleas", we found an application blank furnished by the New York Chapter. Evidently we had picked it up at a flower show in 1961.

"Why not?" we asked ourselves. No matter that recently we'd been devoting considerable time "to getting out" of organizations. Into the mail went the form specifying that we'd like to be members of the Massachusetts Chapter.

Forget about communications being disrupted in poor weather. The ARS has its own network. The glue was hardly dry on the envelope before we got a phone call from Dorothy Swift. Wouldn't we like to go out to the Cape to Andy and Dorothy Paton's and help work on the Plants for Members program?

Andy charmed us into purchasing cuttings and working for him at the same time. By return mail (it seemed) the ARS winter bulletin appeared luring us to the annual convention in New York. We were hooked.

We were no strangers to rhododendrons and azaleas when we joined the ARS. As landscape architects we use them in almost every design. On our own property the most difficult part of being landscape architects and rhododendron enthusiasts is devising strategies by which we add to our collection without destroying the overall plan. If our collecting instincts are compulsive, our interest in good design is pervasive. Since joining ARS, our acquisition of new plants has doubled and locating them successfully has given us much thought.

One of the most effective ways to display rhododendrons and azaleas is in an ericaceous shrub border. Choosing plants with similar require cents and blending them together is an engrossing task. We generally start with a good "framework" tree which is repeated at intervals throughout the planting. The tree selected should be one that is compatible in all ways with rhododendron and should offer interest at more than one season.

On small properties our choice is often flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida). Other deciduous trees that perform well include Halesia carolina, the Carolina Silverbell, which blooms in mid May and has a dry winged pod as fruit. The leaves of the Halesia will be yellow in the fall. Halesia carolina will grow to about 30'. Set against an evergreen background of hemlock or pine it receives much attention.

The Sorrel Tree, Oxydendrum arboreum, is another frequent choice. It blooms in July and the dried capsule fruit is persistent zest of the winter. The leaves, a dark lustrous green, turn brilliant scarlet in autumn. Growth is pyramidal in form. The average Sorrel Tree height will be about 35'.

Stewartia pseudocamellia has much to recommend it. It is valued because of its July bloom. In the fall, the foliage turns from a clear green to plum. Its interesting exfoliating hark sakes it appealing all winter.

Styrax japonica, the Japanese Snowbell, blooms in early June and makes a good companion for late-blooming azaleas and rhododendron. The white bell-shaped flowers hang beneath the fully developed leaves. This tree is most effective when planted on a bank so that the flowers are clearly seen from beneath. Horizontal in branching habit, Styrax japonica grows to 30' in height.

Cornus kousa, blooming at the same time as Styrax, will have fruits similar to raspberries. It will color deep wine-red come fall. Older trees have a somewhat mottled bark.

A mixture of evergreen and deciduous material works best to set off azaleas and rhododendrons A diet of rhododendron alone is pretty rich. We shy away from crab apples as in an ericaceous border. Our taste tends toward native plants. Exotic material is used only if it seems to blend well. We use quite a few conifers, mainly hemlock and White Pine. The dark background they provide sets off blooming plants nicely. During the winter the mass of needled evergreens tends to contrast with the cold fingers of the rhododendron foliage.

On small properties we often use Pinus cembra, the Swiss Stone pine. For an accent we've used slow-growing Sciadopitys verticillata, the Umbrella Pine. Hinoki Cypress surrounded by white azaleas has proven an attractive combination.

Hollies are always compatible in the ericaceous border, and provide a strong pyramidal accent. English Holly should be used in coastal areas in protected locations. American Holly is fine if situated in a location given protection from the wind. Ilex pedunculosa, the tong-stalk Holly, is very dependable. Lower-growing hollies, such as Ilex crenata helleri make good facer shrubs and Ilex crenata convexa, with its shiny convex foliage, is a good foil for azaleas.

The evergreen shrubs which we use most frequently in conjunction with our azaleas and rhododendron plantings are Kalmia latifolia, and lately Kalmia latifolia 'Silver Dollar'. We use both Pieris japonica and Pieris floribunda. The latter is not troubled by lacewing fly. We've also used Skimmia japonica and Sarcococca Hookerana var. humilis in coastal zones. Sarcococca makes a particularly satisfactory facer plant.

Leiophyllus buxifolium, the Box Sandmyrtle, also works well as a facer plant. Its foliage will bronze in the winter, Its small white flowers resemble blueberries and appear in May. Prunus laurocerasus schipkaensis, the Cherry Laurel is fine for coastal areas where it's out of the wind. It belongs in the mid to rear part of the border, Leucothee fontanesiana is also good, Mahonia aquifolium is fine as a facer or when it can droop down a bank, but never use it in a windy location, for it gets too ratty looking in the winter.

Among the yews we find ourselves using Taxus baccata repandens, particularly on banks and beside steps when it forms a handsome dark contrast to azaleas. In a formal border we have used Taxus cuspidata nana clipped to 12" and it looked well in front of the white Ghent hybrid azalea 'Daviesi'.

Enkianthus campanulatus, the Red-veined Enkianthus, is one of our favorite deciduous shrubs. Its white flowers appear in May and resemble those of blueberry. The fall color is a brilliant crimson. Fothergilla major is a native with spikes of white blooms, also blooming in Nay. Its red fall leaves make it another good choice.

Clethra alnifolia, Summersweet, will bring July fragrances and white flowers to an ericaceous border. Its fall leaves will be in the yellow to orange range. Deciduous Rhododendron vaseyi and Rhododendron Schlippenbachi will bloom in early May. As a bonus these plants will supply generous red fall color.

We favor ground covers in conjunction with azaleas and rhododendron as they form a "living mulch". They also tie a planting together nicely. We avoid using Hedera helix since it tends to clamber up our precious specimens unless we keep after it. Instead we use Vinca minor, Pachysandra and the ever-exuberant Ajuga.

At the edge of a woodland where it gets some sun, Bearberry does well. In an intimate terrace area where it can have shelter, European Wild Ginger has proved very satisfactory. Ferns and wild flowers are also nice in combination with azaleas and rhododendron.

We discourage narcissus in the ericaceous border because most of the azaleas and rhododendron will bloom after the bulbs have gone by The ripening narcissus foliage, which must be left on to ripen, spoils the overall appearance of blooming azalea and rhododendron.

Perspective sketch of ericaceous Border
Low facing plants line the foreground

A lawn is the nicest foreground for an ericaceous border and, if neatly edged, it sets off azaleas and rhododendrons beautifully.

We have worked out the color schemes carefully. This is where the designer-collector living on a small property can get in trouble. Where space is available we use a minimum of three plants of one variety in a group and we try to repeat at least one or two of the groups so that the border gets a feeling of continuity. We are always trying new plants and usually get, or are given, only one specimen of a particular variety.

A new acquisition is usually treated as a specimen plant, and we use plenty of laurel or other broadleaf to set it off. We try to keep the warm hues apart. However, even if two colors clash when viewed together, you can use them in a long border if they are separated, since the eye can take in only so much at one time.

On our property the yellow and oranges are located together on the west side. Combined with whites and backed up with White Pine and hemlock they look very well.

Any mistakes in placement are easily corrected, since shallow-rooted azaleas and rhododendrons move easily even when in full bloom.

Cross Section of a Border
Design for a sloping border

Design for a sloping border uses Styrax japonica under-planted with R. calendulaceum and R. catawbiense album. This border would be particularly effective in early June.

Dogwood as the framework tree in border
The ericaceous border design

Dogwood is "framework" tree in this portion of an ericaceous border. Broadleaved and needled evergreens set off varied collection of rhododendrons and azaleas.

Rosebay Note: Susan and T.P. Plimpton are by profession Landscape Architects. They will be responsible for the lobby display at the 1980 annual meeting. They are regular contributors to the trade publication, The American Nurseryman, where their subjects have covered everything from the landscaping of formal regal gardens to a Florida seaside plot.

Part 2-Conclusion


Following are the Robin Hill azaleas that have been named but not registered with the ARS. Hopefully the better and most popular of these cultivars will be submitted for registration by Mr. Gartrell, so some names may be altered to conform with requirements of the international Code of Nomenclature of Cultivated Plants - 1969.

BLUE TIP: ('Malvatica' x unknown*) X 'Hosei'. Lavender 2-2{" single flowers; blooms in mid June. Mature plants will have a varying amount of flowers with white centers, enhancing the color and giving a blue appearance. (Z12-2).

BOB WHITE: 'Oakland' X 'Dr. Bergmann'. White 2" single, hose-in-hose flowers, with occasional semi-double or double flowers; blooms mid to late May. The flowers' buds are pale green as they are about to open but, when fully open, the flowers are pure white with just a pale green blotch. Good petal texture adds to the brilliance of the flowers, and the beautifully-shaped corolla is mirrored by the hose-in-hose flower structure. If I were restricted to planting a single white azalea in my garden, it would be this one Beautiful foliage and mounded growth habit complete the picture. (N42-6).

CHANSON: ('Louise Gable' x 'Tama-giku') X 'Shinnyo-no-tsuki'. Pink (RHS 55B) 3" semi-double to double flowers; blooms in early June, Very broad petals create an unusual flowering appearance; broad, mounded growth habit. (U17-3).

ELIZA SCOTT: 'Oakland' X 'Heiwa'. Pink (RHS 62A) 3" single flowers; blooms in late May and early June. A loose, somewhat upright, mounded growth habit. This cultivar will demand more room than most Robin Hills to be at its best. As with many azalea cultivars with a Kaempferi Hybrid as a parent, this cultivar cannot be appreciated as a young plant since it has the faculty of forming a cluster of five or six flower buds at the terminal tips when well established in the garden. At this point, the growth habit is of little consequence when the size of flowers and floriferousness is considered. (T23-4).

JEANNE WEEKS: ('Louise Gable x 'Tama-giku') X ('Kaigetsu' x Gable cv. 'Carol'). Light pink (RHS 65A) fully double 2" flowers; blooms in late May. Very beautiful as the flowers resemble rosebuds when opening, and the free branching, compact mounded habit shows the flowers to great advantage. Considered by many who grow the Robin Hill Hybrids to be one of the finest of the group. (U7-8).

MME. MAB CHALON: ('Glacier' x 'Tama-giku') X 'Getsu Toku'. Pale lavender (RHS 65C) 3 1/2" single flowers with occasional light purple stripes and splashes; blooms in late May. Good flower texture; strong growing, mounded habit. Very handsome foliage; large, round, dark green leaves that take on a dark burgundy tint in autumn make this a cultivar to consider when looking for summer texture and fall interest in the garden. (T16-7).

MRS. VILLARS: 'Oakland' X 'Heiwa' White 3 1/2" single flowers; blooms in early June. Very ruffled petals and occasional pink splashing add interest; mounded growth habit. (T23-l0)

ORMSBY: 'Louise Gable' X 'Yozakura'. Pale red (RHS 39A) fully double 2+" flowers; blooms in late May. Very free branching, dense upright growth habit; growing slightly broader than tall and very heavy flowering. (T05-3).

PEG HUGGER: ('Louise Gable' x 'Tama-giku' X ('Kaigetsu' x Gable cv. 'Carol'). Pale pink (RHS 09A) 2+" double flowers; blooms in mid Nay. Compact, mounded habit, (U1-8)

PETER POOKER: ('Louise Gable' x 'Tama-giku') X 'Shinnyo-no-tsuki'. Lavender (RHS 73C) 2 3/4" single flowers; blooms in early June. Very ruffled flowers, with broad petals make the flowers appear larger; when in bud almost promises to open light purple, giving some contrast against the already open flowers. Low, broad, semi-dwarf growth habit; dark green foliage, best described as lush, makes a perfect backdrop for the flowers. Lavender is a color many people overlook when considering azaleas. Some consider it lifeless; others funereal, and still others just look at lavender as a poor relation of purple. However, I think this cultivar may change many a mind. (U15-l)

PULKEN: Belgian Hybrid X Gable cv. 'Carol'. Purple (RHS 67A) 2 1/4" single hose-in-hose flowers; blooms in late May. flowers are very flat-faced and ruffled. Mounded growth habit. (T62-6).

ROBIN DALE: 'Oakland' X 'Heiwa'. white 3 1/2" single flowers with pale green throat; blooms mid to late May Very ruffled margins, and occasional semi-double to double flowers, with some pale red splashing add inter-set. Somewhat open, broad, mounded growth habit. (T24-8).

SABA HOLDEN: 'Oakland' X 'Heiwa'. White 3" single flowers; blooms in late May. A dense compact mounded growth habit; light green foliage that remains fresh-looking on the hottest summer day, and flowers with ruffled margins that have light red splashing and stripes make this a very worthwhile cultivar. (T22-5).

SIR ROBERT: ('Glacier' x 'Tama-giku') X 'Getsu Toku'. Very pale pink (RHS 55D) with lighter center; 3 3/4" single, somewhat flat-faced flowers, with occasional flowers all white with pale pink sectors, or stripes; or pale pink flowers with white sectors, or sometimes all white flowers. Very variable; all the flower patterns may appear on just several branches, or the entire plant. Blooms during June, occasional flowers may start blooming in late May. Blooming is almost sparse at times, and then suddenly very heavy-blooming, and then slowing down again, affording bloom over a four to five-week period. Of course, this length of blooms is dependent on optimum weather conditions during June. One is almost teased, or bewitched, as each flower opens to reveal the different color patterns. With the different patterns, all in soft pink and white 'Sir Robert' has a flowering effect unique among hardy evergreen azaleas. The habit of growth is ideal; dense, compact, semi-dwarf. Very dark green foliage that appears crisp and clean is a perfect backdrop for the soft color tones of the flowers. (Tl5-8).

TURK'S CAP: Parentage unknown. Bright scarlet-red 3 1/4" single flowers; blooms in late May. A loose, upright growth habit indicates that possibly 'Oakland' is one of the parents. The large flowers sometimes have recurving petals that resemble a Turkish-style cap, hence the name 'Turk's Cap'. This is not consistent from year to year, however. (T60-6).

VERENA: 'Oakland' X 'Tama Giku', Lavender 2 1/2" single flowers, with a slightly lighter throat; blooms in late May. Fast-growing, mounded growth habit. (T49-4).

WEE WILLIE: 'Shinnyo-no-tsuki' X ('Louise Gable' x 'Tama-giku'). Light pink (RHS 38B) 2 3/4" single flowers with lighter throat; blooms in early June. Dense, compact, semi-dwarf growth habit; perhaps the slowest growing of the Robin Hill Hybrids that have been named. Bob Gartrell Has had second thoughts about the name given this cultivar, however. He feels that any cultivar name using the adjective "wee" should be truly diminutive in habit. 'Wee Willie' may not stay as small as the name may imply, but it is still very beautiful flowering plant. The flowers are a very delicate shade of pink, and having broad ruffled petals adds to their charm. The habit of growth, being very dense, makes each flower bud compete for space to open, so at flowering time the small plant is just smothered with beautiful pink flowers. (V2-l0)

WELMET: 'Oakland' X 'Heiwa'. Lavender-pink (RHS 65A) 3 3/4" double flowers. Slightly loose, broad, mounded growth habit. (T25-5).

WENDY: ('Louise Gable' x 'Tama-giku') X 'Heiwa'. Light pink (RHS 38B) 3" single flowers with wavy margins; blooms in mid June. Compact, mounded growth habit. (T21-3).

WHITE HART: ('Gumpo' x 'Glacier') X 'Snowclad'. White 3 1/4" single flowers with green blotch and ruffled margins; blooms in late May. This is an unusual hybrid in the respect that all the parents are usually on lists of recommended white azaleas. Each parent is a superb white azalea, and 'White Hart' certainly shows their fine qualities in flower; however, it has a stiff, mounded habit, and foliage that has a wrinkled appearance. These two slight drawbacks dominate the garden appearance just enough to keep 'White Hart' from being the best white Robin Hill Hybrid. (J12-l)

WHITE MEAL: 'Glacier' X 'Getsu Toku'. White 3" single flowers; blooms in early June. Somewhat loose, mounded growth habit. (T2-4).


Following are some Robin Hill Hybrids that have been grown by members of the New York Chapter Azalea Study Group, and in spite of being unnamed, have become favorites of many of the members.

H19-9: 'Jimmy Coover' X 'Glamour' Bright red (RHS 42A) 2" double flowers; blooms in late May and early June. Dense, semi-upright, broad compact growth habit; small elliptic to slightly-oblanceolate leaves that turn maroon in autumn. Beth parents are hybrids of Azalea indicum, and the fine foliage and growth habit qualities have been inherited by this Robin Hill Hybrid.

N26-2: ('Louise Gable' x 'Oakland') X (Belgian Hybrid x Gable cv. 'Carol'). Dark pink (RHS 39A) 2 1/2" double flowers; blooms in late May. Compact, semi-dwarf mounded growth habit.

N33-2: (Belgian Hybrid x 'La Lumiere') X (Belgian Hybrid x 'La Lumiere'). Bright scarlet (RHS 44A) 2 1/4" single flowers; blooms in late May. Broad, compact growth habit; beautiful glossy foliage that turns deep maroon in autumn. This is just about the most vibrant flower color in the Robin Hill Hybrids. Combined with the very striking foliage and good growth habit, it makes a superb garden plant.

P4-7: ('Mary' x 'Beacon') X ('June Dawn' x 'Macrostemon'). Light pink (RHS 39C) l 1/2" hose-in-hose flowers, with occasional double flowers; blooms in late May. Slightly upright, compact mounded growth habit.

P25-6: Parentage unknown. Pink (RHS 39B) 2" hose-in-hose flowers; blooms in mid to late May. Mounded growth habit. Beautiful flower form with sharp margins, which are enhanced by the hose-in-hose structure and deeper pink stripes (RHS 39B) with a lighter throat make this variety outstanding. The striping is not very definite; almost a gradation of the color tons, as if an artist has taken his brush and palette and touched up the flowers. Very unusual, and needless to say, a very beautiful garden subject.

T15-7: ('Glacier' x 'Tama-giku') X 'Getsu Toku'. Pink (RHS 49A) 3 1/4" single flowers; blooms in mid June. Very broad and ruffled petals; flat-faced flowers with the petals having a slight backwards curling create a very unusual flowering appearance. Nice, mounded growth habit.

T17-5: ('Glacier' x 'Tama-giku') X 'Getsu Toku'. Light pink (RHS 38B) 3 1/4" single flowers with very ruffled petals; blooms in mid June. Handsome glossy foliage and low somewhat-sprawling growth habit.

T18-3: ('Treasure' x Az. mucronatum seedling) X 'Getsu Toku'. Light pink (RHS 39D) 2 3/4" single flowers with very broad petals; blooms in mid June. Broad, mounded growth habit.

V12-4: ('Jimmy Coover' x 'Glamour') X ('Louise Gable' x 'Tama-giku'). Scarlet (RHS 43B) 2" double flowers; blooms in late May and early June. As with Robin Hill Hybrid #Hl9-9, the Az. indicum traits are evident in the foliar characteristics and growth habit.

There are numerous other Robin Hill Hybrids being grown under numbers propagated, exchanged, and admired by New York Chapter Azalea Study Group members. These unnamed selections are not to be considered inferior to the named cultivars. Bob Gartrell ham named those selections that met his own personal standards, and has also tried to keep the number of named varieties within reason.

Currently, there are two groups of unusual Robin Hill Hybrids being propagated: dwarf forms that arose from witches'-broom growths, and dwarf hybrids from Bob Gartrell's crosses. This latter group is plants that are ten to twelve years old, and measure only about 10 inches high, and are over 2 feet in spread.

There are several others that Bob Gartrell has selected for naming and registration. When they have been formally registered with the ARS, they will be described along with the dwarfs in a future article.

*unknown, or when stated as parentage unknown, refers to a common problem with gardeners: a lost or illegible label.

With Particular Reference To The Genus Rhododendron

Reprinted from the newsletter, New York Chapter, A.R.S.

MOST rhododendron growers, lovers and collectors more or less graduated from the less taxing items found in most gardens much as the orchid people graduate from the foliage plants which seem to decorate virtually every commercial establishment today.

Well, I skipped a lot of grades of high school and the first two years of college by accumulating in three years some three hundred hybrids and species, almost all of them small plants. In the process, I managed to make at least as many mistakes as it would take a normal person to make in thirty years. I try not to make the same mistake twice; instead, I make new ones. I'm writing this in the hope that you will be able to avoid some of my errors.

SOIL PREPARATION. Like others who can read, I dug the $5.00 hole, added the peat and sat back to wait for the big flowers we know so well. That was in the beginning, before the "insanity" set in. I really don't know how "it" took over. In any case, there are now some 100 plants improperly planted and I'm moving them. How we got from then to now may be of some interest.

I began with 17 one-gallon plants from a large chain whose salesman pointed to the growth bud and exclaimed "Look at that beautiful flower bud for next spring". It was September. I raced from Patchogue to Westhampton, dug the required 17 holes, quickly put each plant in (I didn't want to break any of the roots). To insure their safety from the Gods of winter I placed a full inch of soil over the crown and then mulched that with two inches of the very best peat moss.

At the time I had an apartment in New York City and was coming to Westhampton 3-4 times a week. Each time I would check my prides and joys and nothing happened till late April. Then everything happened. They began to keel over. First 'Vulcan' 7 out of 8, then 'A. Bedford' 2 of 8. What could be wrong? I raced from garden center to garden center. One spoke directly of borers and sold me "Borer-kill". The next mumbled about worn out soil and chlorosis. He sold me "Miracid".

Then by chance on a dreary Sunday morning I saw a sign saying "Planting Fields Arboretum". I had read at one time about Mr. Coe's home and thought I sight take a look. As I parked the car I saw lots of rhododendrons and looked for an office and hopefully a solution to my woes. For 35 cents (now 50) I received the New York Chapter's rhododendron booklet. I speed-read it in the parking lot in 15 minutes, then broke every law racing to Westhampton Beach. I tore the peat away from my suffering children with my bare hands. They began to revive and I wrote the membership application to the New York Chapter.

During the proceeding months I had begun to accumulate quite a few cultivars. I had seen a yellow rhododendron in bloom and when I tried to purchase it, it was gone. For the next six months I made a pest of myself at I believe every garden center on Long Island. First one or two, then four or five rhododendron plants found their way into my old car. The ultimate came the day of my first plant sale. I loaded up with 17 rhododendrons and 2 azaleas. At 3 a.m. the next morning after work in New York City, I was stopped by two police cars. They demanded to know what kind of plants I had in the back seat. Ever so slowly I got out my ARS card and then began to laugh. Moral: If you do transport rhododendrons, do it in daylight.

By the end of the first season I had some 110 plants of 90 odd clones In that year many garden centers carried gallon-sized plants of what I now know to be liners. This was a very bad mistake for two reasons: First, I have a lot of real ordinary rhododendrons. Secondly, unless one has beds properly prepared, it is impossible to plant correctly. This was coupled with the fact that I soon discovered the West Coast. (I have recently discovered a place called England and am getting the license for that). I found this out as follows:

This past spring I received 167 plants from the West. As I had no place to put them, I bought 20 bags of Peat and then double-dug it into a bed some 60 x 12. In reality, I had more or less a peat bed mixed with 20% of my sandy soil, I then set out most of my new plants into this bed. Some were rooted cuttings and liners. Growth had been unreal, A plant of 'Medusa' put on stem growth (and buds) of 9-10 inches. A small 'Todmorden' has run amuck. Most importantly, root development has been great and it's the root system I believe that makes borderline hardy plants capable of survival. Since I have other plants of these cultivars in other spots, I quite carefully measured their growth. My other 'Medusa' has stem growth of 4-5".

Mere I had quite dramatically living proof as to my error. I am now certain that what has been published about loose friable soil with a great deal of organic matter mixed in is crucial. I called my source of these plants to see whether he had pumped them with fertilizers and he assured me he had not. Another nurseryman had told me two years before about the necessity of re-containerizing some west coast stock before setting it out. To test this I picked up some of the gallon plants and examined their root structure. In 8 out of 10 cases few roots had gone into my soil, and in one case 'rustica flora pleno' in the ground some 3 years, I could have put it back into the one gallon container. I don't suggest you run out and buy the 41 bags of peat I did, but suffice it to say, the more organic material the better, ,,which gets me to...

FERTILIZERS. No matter how well planted in the very best soil mix there is bound to be something missing. To test this I have been feeding one plant of 'Roseum elegans' and starving another that came out of the same nursery line. They are more or less side-by-side. It's still too early to tell, but the hungry one is not quite as good looking in little details: stem growth, foliage color, etc. Four feet away is a R. catawbiense album (compactum) purchased at a local nursery, of the same size as the R. 'Roseum elegans', and it is budded on every terminal. Add to this the fact that a rooted cutting of Hardgrove's "Merry May White" made a bud less than one year after being "stuck" on one flush in the shade, and I can only conclude I again erred. This was driven home when I saw seedlings of a local nurseryman 5-8 inches long. He has been foliar feeding weekly. Since our growing season in rhododendrons anyway extends well into the fall, perhaps the caveat to end fertilizing In June is wrong. And that gets me to ....

THE SUN. Byron Neff fold me that he likes flowers "Big flowers" and that he is not prepared to wait years to see some of smaller plants set buds, (He detailed this in an article for this NEWSLETTER - Raising Rhododendrons In The Sun -December 1977.) As a test I moved a 3-year-old 'Scintillation' which set two buds in '77 into the sun. It has 18 now, A 'Bob Bovee' received as a 4-year-old unbudded plant, pinched and exposed has 23 buds, Similar results were obtained with the following (all less than 3 years old): 'Blue Peter', 'Harvest Moon', 'Crest', 'Cadis', 'Bacher's Gold', 'Kubla Khan', 'Tortoise Shell Wonder', 'Ben Moseley', 'Brown Eyes', 'Butterfly', 'Honey Seafoam', 'Robert Allison', and too many more for this to be an accident In many cases I have other plants of the same clones in semi-shade or filtered sunlight. For example, another 'Scintillation' has 7 buds in 50% shade. Add to this a note from the new book "Hybrids and Hybridizers" (you can buy it from the New York Chapter) about Dexter growing things in the sun and blooming seedlings in 4 years and the note that Guy Nearing found leaves of plants grown in the sun to be some 207 thicker than those in the shade and you begin to wonder, Cape Cod, Dexter's territory is most like Long Island. The problem then may be not the summer sun but rather the winter sun when frozen ground, lack of snow cover and severe winds make things a bit unpleasant outside. Based on last year's developments, I have reached some tentative conclusions about hardiness,


Some of my 140 yellow and orange clones were supposed to die last year. They did rather well I thought compared to the so-called "Iron Clads", particularly those with ponticum blood in them, the 'Blue Peter', 'Fastuosum flore pleno' and 'Roseum', which were severely damaged in foliage. I am basing this on my observations of Planting Fields, various gardens and conversations at the National Convention. On the Eastern seaboard the experience was universal and only West Virginia, Ohio and the Mid-West had contrasting results. What I'm suggesting is that here with so many mini microclimates, the dicta of Ben Morrison must be applied. If you think you might like a plant, buy it and try it. I wouldn't trade 'Medusa' (an H-4) for all the 'Fastuosum flore pleno' or 'Everestianum's in the world. What I'm suggesting is that the Iron Clads here don't have the sense to stop growing in the fall. The more tender things stop at the first little chill, and I have the plants to bear this out, which brings me to the plants themselves and where to get them.

GROWERS. Alfred Raustein has one of the finest rhododendron nurseries here, and Matt Nosal of Holly Heath Nursery has an incredible collection of azaleas. Jim Cross of Environmentals grows wonderful little things available in the more fastidious garden centers. Then too, there are the plant sales of the New York Chapter.

PINCHING. I have pinched out the growth buds of many small plants. I believe this to be wrong. It encourages twiggy growth which doesn't bud up. A much better procedure I feel is the "Baldsiefen Method" of removing one full flush, in fact one full year's growth. At that time all cuttings are placed in baggies, properly labeled and given to Frank Arsen, who will then sell them to other members at the Cutting Exchange.

As I look around my place I am often distressed to see how many sad things I bought because I thought I knew what I was doing. I really don't want to think about the money, rather the time I wasted with really inferior things. I am taking the liberty of listing a few of my choice plants.

Nathan Hale: This is a Dorothy Schlaikjer production forced on me by Jane McKay with the "chance" comment as I passed by ... "If anyone saw that in bloom they'd buy it on the spot". Well since Lady McKay is the equivalent in flowers to what Escoffier is in my business, I bought on the spot. This is the best thing that flowered this year---great big fragrant flowers on a tidy bush. Much more will be heard of this number when it gets to the West Coast.

Azalea Target: Another "stray from McKay". $4.00 for a 36" azalea seemed a bit cheap, so I stuck it in a corner and forgot about it - until it flowered. It started late in June, lasted for four weeks. I selfed it, crossed it with Nakaharai Fancy, maximum, and yak Exbury. At night I would leave the car lights on to look at it. I am now going azalea crazy, something I was told would happen, but didn't believe.

Scintillation, Burgundy Cherry and Brown Eyes are three plants I don't remember who I bought them from, but I definitely remember each one was given the "Betty Hager Seal of Approval". So well known, they hardly need a vote from me.

Amazement: This is the sister to Golden Star. A Royce child, but really the "Rolls" of the Yellows here. Deeper yellow, more fragrant and better in habit, I have crossed it with everything save the Hicks yews, for the Seed Exchange.

Chikorand R. keiskei (dwarf form from Arsen Garden): These came from Jim Cross and got me interested in the little guys. The former is extremely difficult, the only scaly I have had trouble with. It is more than worth it.

As you can see, each one of these came by others, not involuntarily, I might say. In retrospect, I wish I had stocked my entire garden this way. I strongly suggest you should.


THE cultivation of rhododendrons almost always includes a period when they are grown in containers. Nearly always the young plants start in pots. At some later date comes the question "when can they be 'put out'?" This usually refers to planting in the ground, which in the case of hardy plants can be as soon as the frosts are over. Where tender or exotic kinds have to be protected, the plants of necessity are kept in pots forever.

There are many desirable exotic rhododendrons, in colors and shapes never found in hardy collections. How to handle them is a problem for the serious collector. There are two essentials: adequate storage area for winter protection and plant containers that are reasonably moveable. Fortunately, in Wellesley we have a large deep pit house to store our collection of tender azaleas, rhododendrons and other exotics. The experience I have had is that for just a few moves per year, it is hard to beat a concrete tub or 'pot' and a two-wheel hand truck. Clay and plastic have the wrong shape or are expensive in bushel-sized containers. Wood is costly and rots after only a few seasons.

For several years we have been observing the effects of growing our collection of rhododendrons in a wide variety of shapes and sizes of pots. These I made using forms made by stacking one polyethylene trash barrel inside another, with sand and cement as the usual casting mix. I have made a few pots, substituting coarse sawdust or perlite for part of the sand. In all cases, there are advantages in some of the mix variations from the viewpoint of lightness, easy draining of the pot, and textural effects. The choice of the molds determines the final shape and design. One advantage is that the cement can be added to or repaired by applying wet cement mix to any surface to which it will adhere.

The following is how to make a pot with a bushel capacity for about a dollar. Use one volume of cement to three volumes of sand. Stir them thoroughly together, then add enough water to give a semi-fluid pourable mix. (Coarse sawdust or perlite can substitute for up to one-half the volume of sand.) Use a trowel, shovel or hoe to make the mixture even in consistency.

The molds are polyethylene trash barrels. If a matched pair is used, then enough sand or loam should be put in the bottom of the first one to give about one inch of clearance between the sides of the two when the second one is placed inside. Tamp the sand or loam level, then make three or four one- to two-inch impressions close to the outer edge, which will be feet. A small cupcake sized patty of sand two inches high on the center of the tamped area forms what will be a drain hole. Now pour in enough wet cement mix to fill the foot holes, and to give about one inch of mix over the bottom. Next, place the second barrel onto the wet cement, fill it with about six inches of sand or loam to give it weight, and then start pouring the cement-sand-water mix into the one-inch space between the containers. Fill slowly, working a-round and around, constantly centering. To prevent the inner container from floating or collapsing, keep the sand or loam level in it several inches higher than the level of the cement slurry and tamp it down firmly. Settle the cement mix as you go along by tamping lightly or by gently thumping the side of the outer barrel. It should come close to the top of the outer barrel, making a finished pot 12-15" deep. It takes three days for the cement to harden, during which time the top edge should be watered frequently and well.

The pot is removed in stages. If possible, empty the loose fill by turning over; otherwise, scoop it out. Gradually push the inner container away from the cement, collapsing this container inward and downward. When it has been completely loosened, remove it. Tip the barrel with the pot inside onto its side and roll it for 8-10', rocking it to loosen the container from the cement pot. Stand the container upside down on its rim and tap the bottom. The weight of the cement pot usually causes it to drop. If it doesn't, roll it again. (With repeated use, the sand abrades the plastic barrels so that the cement pots do not slide out as easily. To remedy this, coat the barrels with spent motor oil or grease). With the pot upright, make a rounded edge using sand-cement mix and smooth it off with the hand or a curved piece of cardboard or plastic jug.

I have been able to simulate the color of terra cotta by taking a slurry of cement and water, adding enough lime-proof red coloring, a little yellow and a dash of lamp-black, and simply brushing it on with an old paint brush. Working with Portland cement is hard on the hands, but if one wants a very smooth finish, a stiff slurry applied and smoothed by hand gives a very even effect. Variations in textural effects are almost without limit. Of about six-dozen pots in our collection, no two have come out exactly the same.

The weight factor can be looked at as both a help and a drawback. The wide base and forty to seventy pounds gives great stability and wind resistance. The plant-napper risks popping a disc, or at best is only able to load only one into a minicar. This brings up the important question of how does one move these pots around? For a distance of only a few feet, they can be rolled on the lower edge when tipped over at about a 45-degree angle. For greater moves, the use of a two-wheel hand truck is a must, but in a pinch, a strong wheelbarrow with a flat bed will do quite well. I prefer a hand truck, as once the pot is cradled on the front, the truck can be pulled backwards over dry, firm ground.

Concrete pots and casting molds
The Concrete Pots

Views of finished concrete pots. Note stacked trash barrels used as casting molds. Photo Jack Cowles

Plants For Members Continuing Reports
Massachusetts Chapter Plants For Members Committee
The West Coast Annual Group Order

BECAUSE of the queries from so many of the members, it was thought that some general observations concerning this annual group order to the VanVeen Nursery would be of general interest.

In 1978 thirty-nine members submitted orders for a total pool of 652 plants. All were yearlings with a price ranging from $1.75 to $5.40 each (plus 70/ postage). While one member ordered only 2 plants, and one "winner" obtained 52, the average was 16.5 plants per member. The "Top Ten" for 1978 seem to have been: 'Scintillation', yakusimanum forms, 'Mary Fleming', 'Janet Blair', 'Candy', 'Mary Belle', keiskei, 'Ice Cube', 'Lemon Ice' and 'Chikor'. Competition was ferocious for several rare plants. Gable's remarkably hardy, pinkish-orange 'Mary Belle' was the most sought (and most sought in vain). VanVeen only parted with 5 'Mary Belles'--we needed 27.'

Since 49 members have responded in 1979, ordering 975 plants!, the program proved once again to be an obvious success. We attempted to anticipate popular items by ordering them well in advance. In fact many 1979 reservations were made prior to the arrival of the 1978 plants. This year 111 varieties have been ordered in a broad range of all colors, Hl to H3 with H2 favored. Very few of the older, more common ironclads are ordered; conversely, only one (Mist Maiden) of VanVeen's new offerings for 1979 has produced widespread interest. The yellow shades listed as H2 ('Mary Belle', 'Mary Fleming', 'Goldfort', 'Goldsworth Yellow', 'Lemon Ice') seem to be nationally popular, scarce and difficult for us to obtain in sufficient quantity. On occasion it is necessary to ration such rare plants. Highest priority is given to the earliest postmarked dates for orders.

Propagating Experiences

THE plants-for-members committee thought you might be interested in what is going on at this time in your propagation program. We know that many of you cannot visit Andy Paton's greenhouse because of either distance or time. We thought we'd just talk about what's doing with us and perhaps be able to pass on some useful information.

We are now into our third year of propagating for the Chapter. We feel that this year will produce even more interesting plants than have the past two years. As you may recall, we took a good part of the summer rehabilitating the greenhouse. We finished the work later than we had expected, late in the fall. As a consequence we had to start many cuttings outdoors under a temporary misting system. It worked fairly well, but we were not able to control the bottom heat which we could have done had the cuttings been started in the greenhouse, Even so, we had good results especially with the azaleas and were able to pot on more than three hundred well-rooted cuttings into four-inch pots in October.

We installed an extra blower on the greenhouse heater and ducted the heated air along the walls of the house then let it blow back free towards the heater. We kept the air trapped beneath the benches by mounting skirts on the bench supports. This forced the warmed air up through the bench and through the rooting mixture. We were able to maintain a fairly uniform root zone temperature of about 70 degrees Fahrenheit. This is proving to be a real boost to our rooting success this year. Many of our hard-to-root Dexter's are already showing root initiation at this writing. In early January we had to pot on some holly we had stuck in the benches on 6 November. Their root development was so heavy that we were afraid it would interfere with development of the slower rhody cuttings in the same bench space.

Dr, Herb Racoff sent us some Dexter cuttings we had not previously been able to obtain locally. Among them were 'Bosley's 1020'. For those of you who find the majority of Dexters too tender for your climate you might want to consider the 'Bosley 1020'. This plant, like 'Brown Eyes', was selected or developed by Bosley from seedlings he had received from Charles Dexter and grown on in Mentor, Ohio. As a side note and after we had received the Racoff cuttings, we noticed in the cutting swap meeting of the Chapter last October that there was a package of 'Bosley 1020' cuttings. We wonder if one of our members has a plant of this Dexter and where it is located. We'd like a report on its location and its hardiness.

We did not get up to Nova Scotia this fall to collect cuttings. Consequently our stock of these cuttings is extremely limited this season. We are getting scattered reports from members on those Nova Scotia cuttings which they previously received. One which appears to show much promise is impeditum x moupinense, a lovely cross which may prove to be the answer for those of us who seem to have difficulties with impeditum in our local zones. Last summer we saw the now two-year-old plant which Gus Kelley acquired as a rooted cutting. It is now about the size and form of a grapefruit, growing among his dwarf conifers and seemingly very happy in its location. We think this may be a plant of much promise. We were able to stick better than a dozen cuttings of Gus' plant this year. We'd like to hear from other

members who got this plant as a rooted cutting in the past. If you elect to order one of these rooted cuttings this year do not expect to get much in size, It will probably come to you in a two or two-and-one-half-inch pot and be little more than an inch or an inch-and-one-half tall. But once it is set out in your bed, it seems to take off and grow well. It is a fine dwarf.

Please note the fine variety of azaleas we will be offering this year. Polly Hill, in addition to giving us a generous collection of her North Tisbury hybrids, donated some Gartrell hybrids which appear to be rooting well. Some members donated selected cuttings from their own gardens. One which comes to mind is 'Ho oden' donated by Ken Leslie. If you are curious about this plant ask Charles Trommer or Ken for their opinion of the plant. We saw it in bloom last year and were impressed with both the substance of the blossom and the length of time it stayed in bloom without fading or dropping. Note also in the forthcoming cutting list you will be receiving the contributions by Dr, August Kehr. His Anna Kehr is now blooming in the greenhouse and is well worth the accolades it has received,

We are continuing our efforts to get into more extensive local distribution catawbiense alba v. 'Powell Glass' and 'LaBar's White'. 'Powell Glass' is virtually non-existent in commercial sources, to the best of our knowledge. It does reproduce true from seed. However only seed which has been the result of carefully controlled pollination should be used. In this way we may be able to avoid some of the troubles now experienced with Gable's 'Catalga' which, in some commercial offerings is showing some mauve in the white. Propagation of Powell Glass by cuttings continues most difficult and we are trying each year to gain more success with cuttings. Robert Shanklin in Old Lyme, Connecticut, has successfully propagated cuttings of 'Powell Glass' by taking his cuttings in July. We are trying this technique also.

We will be grafting again beginning in late February or early March. We know now that last year we pushed the grafted plants out too early. The plants we kept under mist well into the summer which some of you received in the fall sale, were well developed. That suggests to us that we will make no grafted plants available this spring as we did last year, but carry them forward until they are well developed and make them available to members next fall. If any of you have something unusual you'd like to share as a graft or want to reproduce by grafting a plant for yourself, bring the scion to the grafting workshop at one of the work weekends or send it to the greenhouse.

The generosity of members and other people as well who have made rare and unusual cuttings available to our program has been the reason we have been able to get so many fine plants into the hands of members and sustain continued interest in the program. Donors who have particular interests, as well as those member-hybridizers with plants observed to have great potential have been most willing to share their plants in the form of cuttings with us. Many of these cuttings we recognize are from award-winning plants and from plants we expect will win awards in the future. Don't overlook in your order this year one or two of these worthwhile plants.

The plants committee is particularly indebted to Chapter member Oliver Ames for his contribution of much-needed space. We are carrying over about 800 plants in one of his unheated pits as well as his greenhouse. Last summer when we were struggling with the usual space problem and with plants spread out over every square foot of yard space, the Ames's generously offered us the needed space to let us continue our work and organize our program for the upcoming 1980 convention. Because of this we are moving forward with what we think are very good plans for our share of the sale plants for the '80 convention. Thank you, Oliver Ames.

"Horse Sense" might be summarized as knowing when to say "neigh".
Wall St. Journal









MOVING of large shrubs or moderate size trees can represent a monumental task that can be most rewarding as well as an exercise in futility.

Consider a rhododendron; say about (4) feet in height. The root outline will approximately be at the drip line of the plant. To move this plant, without causing a severe loss of root system, take a root ball the size of the drip line. One man would be hard pressed to even drag the resultant object. The root ball can of course be diminished in size but a corresponding reduction in the top of the plant must be accomplished by judicious pruning. In any event don't try to move a large rhododendron during the spring or summer. You will have better luck if you do it in the fall just after the fall rains set in.

For plants other than shrubs, say small trees, it is a good idea to plan in advance. During early spring, root prune the tree for a root ball the size of which you can handle. This early pruning will force new growth which, when you move the plant during its dormant season, will help in its ability to survive

Some nurserymen offer fairly large trees. The knowledgeable and reliable sources will maintain a relatively small root ball by periodic root pruning to always keep the root ball both small and in an active condition with vigorous small rootlets.

Transplanting of all shrubs bears some element of risk. Some plants don't like it at all.

Reprinted from "RHODODENDRON NEWS", The Portland Chapter.

The Rosebay has learned of the formation of a new organization, THE AZALEA SOCIETY OF AMERICA. One of the aims of the society is to bring together all those whose interest in and appreciation of Azaleas forms a bond of friendship. For information contact the editor or write to P.O. Box 6244, Silver Spring, Maryland 20906.

We Are Sorry
For the delay of this issue. However we mortals are sometimes subject to conditions over which we have no control. We wish to take this opportunity to thank our many many friends throughout the country for their concern, prayers and well wishes during our recent illness. A special appreciation to Wally Mezitt who stepped in on a minute's notice and typed this entire issue. Wally, many thanks!