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Potomac Valley Chapter
of the
American Rhododendron Society
Newsletter: Summer 2003


  • September 21, 2003 1:00 - 4:00 PM Regular meeting at the National Arboretum
  • October 12, 2003 4:30 - 8:00 PM Fall Banquet - JRs Stockyards Inn, McLean, VA.
  • January 11, 2004 1:00 - 4:00 PM Regular meeting at the National Arboretum
  • March 28, 2004 1:00 - 4:00 PM Regular meeting at the National Arboretum

Next Meeting: September 21, 2003 1:00 - 4:00 PM at the National Arboretum
Program: Chapter Field Trip Revisited plus a Cutting Exchange

Our next meeting will be at the National Arboretum Administration Building on Sunday, September 21st. We will be showing pictures including a video Jon Wallenmeyer made of our chapter field trip last May to see the Delp rhododendrons and the garden of Paul James. (See related article)

We will also have a cutting exchange for the large leaf (elepidote) rhododendrons. If you have cuttings to share, please put 3 to 5 of them in a plastic bag, label with the variety, and bring them along.

The Arboretum is located in northeast Washington D.C. at 24th and R Street off of Bladensburg Road. For best directions to the Arboretum, check out their website: http://www.usna.usda.gov

Refreshment Duty: Those with last names ending in A through H, please bring a treat to share.

Annual Fall Banquet: October 12, 2002 4:30 - 8:00 PM
Jeanine Smith - "Rhododendrons in New Zealand"

Mark your calendars for Sunday, October 12th. We have an excellent speaker coming from the west coast, Jeanine Smith, who will entertain us while we once again enjoy a delicious meal at JR's Stockyards Inn at Tysons Corner. Jeanine has two excellent slide programs on rhododendrons, one of her trip to New Zealand and the other of her trip to China. We are not exactly sure which talk she will give, but we understand that both are excellent. Details and registration materials will be mailed in September along with our dues notices.

Bruno Kaelin Wins Sweepstakes at the Chapter Flower Show

At our annual Flower Show and Plant Sale at the National Arboretum on May 10th, master horticulturist Bruno Kaelin swept every top award. With flawless azaleas and rhododendrons he took all three Best of Class Awards, and his perfect truss of 'Ben Mosely' won Best in Show. Bruno is pictured to the right with his top three prize winners. Congratulations, Bruno!

We were expecting a smaller turnout than normal due to heavy rains preceding the show date and known conflicts that would keep many of our regular exhibitors from entering. However, our chapter members surprised us! As the morning pressed on, people kept bringing in loads of beautiful sprays and trusses while the rest of us admired. Eventually we ran out bottles and even entry tags for a while until reinforcements arrived. Because of time constraints, some of the flowers were only set out for display and not even judged. Yes we had moments of chaos, especially at the beginning as judging started and the public arrived to buy plants. Some committee members were still looking for containers and tags, and making last minute attempts to rearrange overloaded categories. Even so, many of us agreed that this flower show was one of the most beautiful in recent memory. A summary of flower show awards is listed below.

Award Variety Exhibitor
BEST IN SHOW Ben Moseley Kaelin

Award Variety Exhibitor
Deciduous Azalea R. calendulaceum Kaelin
Evergreen Azalea Greeting Kaelin
Rhododendron Ben Moseley Kaelin

Award Variety Exhibitor
New Potomac Valley Chapter Hybrids
1st (Pygmaleon-haematodes) x yellow Goodrich
2nd Carol's Super White x unknown Goodrich
3rd Dorothy Russell x yellow hybrid Goodrich
1st R. catawbiense 'Carolina Spring' Kaelin
2nd R. fortunei unknown
1st Helen Everett Beaudry
2nd Helen Everett Wallenmeyer
3rd Cloud Nine Wallenmeyer
Blush to Pale Pink
1st Festive Feast Beaudry
2nd Chesterland Goodrich
3rd Kulu selfed Goodrich
Light to Medium Rose Pink
1st Josephine Everett unknown
2nd Party Pink Wallenmeyer
3rd Yaku Prince Mohr
Lavender Pink
1st Sagamore Bayside unknown
2nd Tom Everett Goodrich
Deep Pink to Rose
1st Anna Rose Whitney Kaelin
2nd Willard Beaudry
3rd Aronomink Goodrich
Red Picotee or Bicolor
1st Consolini's Windmill Wallenmeyer
2nd Todmorden Kaelin
3rd Accomplishment Kaelin
1st Gigi unknown
2nd Nova Zembla Miller
3rd Redhead unknown
Lavender Pink with Blotch
1st Ben Moseley Kaelin
2nd Ben Moseley Wallenmeyer
3rd Kluis Sensation x Caroline Beaudry
1st English Roseum Wallenmeyer
2nd unknown Lorenz
1st Anna Krushke Mohr
2nd Midnight Mystique Mohr
Light Yellow to Apricot Blends
1st Peaches Goodrich
2nd Glenolden Beaudry
3rd James Allison Goodrich
Deep Yellow
1st Phipp's Yellow #32 Wallenmeyer

AZALEAS, Deciduous
Award Variety Exhibitor
Deciduous Species and Native Azaleas
1st calendulaceum Kaelin
1st Dolly Sods seedling Beaudry
Deciduous Azalea Hybrids
1st unknown orange Knap Hill Beaudry
2nd Homebush Kaelin
2nd Beautiful Yellow Kaelin

AZALEAS, Evergreen
Award Variety Exhibitor
White, Single
1st Unknown Lorenz
2nd Glacier Kaelin
3rd Kathy Ann Kaelin
White, Hose in Hose or Double
1st White Rosebud Lorenz
2nd no name Lorenz
3rd Panda Mohr
White to Pale Pink with Prominent Blotch
1st Magnifica unknown
3rd Magnifica Wallenmeyer
Light Pink, Hose in Hose or Double
1st Blushing Baby unknown
2nd Nancy of Robin Hill Beaudry
3rd unknown unknown
Rose Pink, Double
1st unknown unknown
2nd Tiny Miller
Salmon Pink, Hose in Hose or Double
1st Louise Gable Goodrich
2nd unknown Lorenz
3rd unknown Lorenz
Orange Pink Bordered or Bicolor
1st Ben Morrison Lorenz
2nd Ben Morrison Miller
3rd unknown Miller
Orange Pink, Single
1st Greeting Kaelin
2nd Dreamsicle Beaudry
Rose Red, Hose in Hose or Double
1st Red Wing unknown
Red, Single
3rd Kobold Rittman
Purple/Lavender, Single
1st unknown Lorenz
2nd Mrs. Mildred Kinder Miller
3rd unknown unknown
Purple/Lavender, Hose in Hose or Double
1st Elsie Lee Lorenz
3rd Elsie Lee Mohr
Lavender/Purple Bicolor
3rd Komo Kulshan unknown
New Potomac Valley Chapter Hybrids
1st (Elsie Lee x Satellite) F2 Rittman

The Garden of Paul James - Delp Rhododendrons, George Ring Hybrids, and More

At our regular meeting on September 21st, we will share some of the beautiful things we saw on our chapter field trip tot the garden of Paul James near Roanoke, VA. After hearing Paul's talk in March, we wanted to see his garden and admire those Delp and Haag rhododendrons first hand, so we arranged a trip on May 11-12, 2003.

When we arrived, the first plant Paul showed us was an unnamed azalea seedling from his neighbor, the late George Ring. A cross of [(Fairfax x Moonbeam) x Beacon] (pictured right), the soft pink flowers of this azalea are white in the center, beautifully ruffled, and very heavy textured. The plant habit is very compact. Helen Ring had planned to sell their house now that George had passed away, so she asked Paul if he would take some of her husband's favorite plants and give them a permanent home so they would not get lost. I had considered George's azalea 'Fairfax' his best hybrid, but this seedling was even better! We hope to be able to register this outstanding azalea as a formal tribute to its hybridizer, George Ring III.

After admiring Paul's rock garden, we headed over to a hill where most of his Delp hybrids were planted . The late Weldon Delp was a prolific hybridizer from west central Pennsylvania, and Paul James has one of the largest collection of his hybrids. Paul planted them on a steep, exposed hillside near his home where he has been evaluating the plants. To us, they all looked beautiful and we laughed at ourselves saying that if we had just seen Paul's garden prior to the District meeting in April, we would certainly have snatched up more of those rooted cuttings in our own plant sale.

Weldon Delp was breeding for hardiness, so his primary hybrids often included tough species like R. brachycarpum, maximum, catawbiense, yakushimanum, and hyperythrum. He also used hardy hybrids from Gable and Shammarello, as well as some ironclads, Dexters, and anything else that caught his fancy. By growing his seedlings under ideal conditions, Weldon was able to bloom rhododendrons in just 16 to18 months from seed. This meant he could see results quickly and make next generation hybrids, but they had not been tested for hardiness. He kept meticulous records so he knew the exact parentage, and now Paul has been giving them the necessary test for adaptability.

The Delp hybrids range in all colors from white and blush, through cream, yellow, peach, pink, red, lavender, and purple. Many of them have prominent blotches like a near white with a strong reddish-purple blotch called 'Big O', a second generation, or F2 cross: [('Catalgla' x 'Pink Twins') #2 x self]. We admired a lavender with deep purple blotch, aptly called 'Spotmagic' , from another F2 cross ( ['La Bar's White' x (fortunei x croceum (wardii))] #1 x self ). I would have thought those hybrids were progeny of the familiar white with dark blotch called 'Sappho', but that was not the case.

I was impressed with the clarity of color in the Delp hybrids we saw, such as in the luminous pink 'Gourmet Truss' ['Tony's Gift' x 'Maxhaem Salmon'] or the peachy pink 'Masterblend' a cross of [(maximum x vernicosum aff. R.18139) #1 x (aureum (chrysanthum) x maximum) #1 ].

Most of the very hardy reds in the nursery trade like 'America' or 'Nova Zembla' have a bluish cast, so I was surprised to see so many vibrant reds without a trace of blue like 'Enchanter' , 'Fireball', 'Sweet Jenny' and 'Tim Craig'. Some of those were in the plant sale but what did I buy?

After visiting Paul's garden, he took us for a drive up the Blue Ridge Parkway past Peaks of Otter to see the R. prinophyllum and R. catawbiense in bloom, and some of his favorite wildflower spots. Thanks for a wonderful day, Paul!

Group Order from Van Veen: Buying Young Rhododendrons at Wholesale Prices

By the end of August, we intend to send in a group order for rhododendron yearlings (year-old rooted cuttings) to Van Veen Nursery, a wholesale propagator in Portland, Oregon. Plants will be shipped to us early next spring so we can distribute them during our meeting on March 28, 2004. The group order is for chapter members only, but we expect to buy some extras to sell at plant sales and other chapter functions later in the year. Hybrids cost us $3.35 each, but by the time we include shipping the price will run around $4.00 to $4.25 apiece. Species are a bit more and will cost $3.95 each plus postage. One restriction is that we must order at least 5 of a variety for a wholesale order. If we do not meet their minimums we will not order the variety.

There is no need to send money now but just mail the enclosed order form to Don Hyatt so he gets it by August 28th. All we ask is that you pay us when our group order is confirmed and ready for shipment. We apologize for the short response time but we received Van Veen's listing only two days before the publication date of our newsletter. If we wait too long, rare varieties will be sold out.

To help narrow down choices, Bruno Kaelin and Don Hyatt selected about 100 varieties from the 537 hybrids and species in Van Veen's current price list. Plants on our chapter's "Good Doer List" are indicated in bold. Things marked with an asterisk (*) may require special care. Look over the flower show winners for ideas too. We will post Van Veen's full listing on our chapter website at the URL listed below so if you want something else, just agree to buy five of that variety for yourself.


Dues Increase for Next Year - Upgrading our Chapter Newsletter with COLOR!

Because of escalating costs, the ARS has found it necessary to raise dues to $35.00 per year. However, chapters now keep $8.00 of the dues instead of $6.00. After reviewing our budget, your officers decided we would use the extra to upgrade our newsletters with an occasional color insert.

Jane Goodrich has written a great article about our chapter's project to plant some of the lesser known Gable rhododendrons in a display garden at Margaret White's property. We had planned to run her article this month but have decided to delay publication so we can also print some color pictures of those rarer Gable rhododendrons. Look for a color insert in our Fall Newsletter this October.

Copyright © Donald W. Hyatt