Sunday, April 3, 2011

Rhododendron Seedlings That Grew Up

I have spent a bit of time perusing pictures to pick out some candidates for prints over the last day or two. We don't get many done, perhaps a couple of hundred a year. It is still rather pleasant to have a "hard" copy of an image. We usually wait until there is a special offer at a retail printer rather than doing any "at home" printing.
There are inevitably some rhododendron pictures chosen. In today's list there were some seed grown plants that range in age from 10-16 years. A lot of our seedlings have also lost their original labels, so a bit of guesswork is sometimes in order.
The season of 2010 was quite a good one, bloom-wise. There were probably some plants blooming we had rarely noticed before.
One was a very nice plant from 1994. Judging from the seed order records, it should be the smirnowii cross on the label, but we can't be 100% sure. 
There are a couple of plants from 1995 seedlings that are quite interesting. We have two of this candy striped plant. We sent some cuttings off a few years ago and received one plant via the ARHS Member Sale. We haven't attached any name, so just call it the "899 double calyx". It is such a complex cross that it is difficult to speculate what characteristics came from where. It is possible that yellow was the aim, but that doesn't always happen!

I rather enjoy the doubling effect found in many plants. The same effect is seen in this plant from 2001. I believe we finally got around to moving this one last summer. It will need a season or two to recover from the crowding it experienced in the nursery bed.
Another example of this doubling is found in some of the plants of (Always Admired x Barbara Cook) from 1996. These were in a very poor situation until a couple of years ago, when we moved them. They have started to resemble a much nicer plant. We hope they didn't get too flattened by this winter's snow load.
Some of our favourite plants are seedlings with R. pachysanthum as the pollen parent. A seed lot from ARS 1995 gave quite a number of hardy plants, which bloom most years. They are 'Calsap' x R. pachysanthum and most have some version of the distinctive blotch characteristic of 'Calsap'. They are relatively compact plants and most have a lovely cinnamon coloured tomentum on the new growth.
Another group of R. pachysanthum hybrids are growing beautifully in our Oak bed. This picture shows their colourful  new growth. 
The nicest of these we have dubbed "Blue Heaven" in response to the lovely silvery blue tomentum. 
Another plant which literally rose up and looked us in the eye was this tall plant with quite nice yellow flowers from 1999. It also got moved in 2010. 
Keeping track of the progress of all the seedlings Bill has grown is a job we actually do quite poorly! We have attempted a bit better stab at recording all the bloom, but never quite make it.
This plant grew from seed donated by Bruce Clyburn from here in Nova Scotia has quite good red colour. 
A tremendous number of seedlings grown here seem to have rhododendron 'Janet Blair' as the seed parent. She is a very good mother, it seems! One example I came across today was from 1996 seed. Not especially outstanding, but the plant has performed consistently over a number of years. 
This little look into seedlings "grown up" will end here, but could go on seemingly indefinitely.

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