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Leonardslee Rhododendrons 1926

Since our space is so limited, it seems that the reader must be satisfied with a brief list of the actual successes made by Sir Edmund Loder, and that it will be best to divide them into two departments:

In the first group I will endeavour to place the plants in their individual order of merit, though it must be remembered that such a list is merely and expression of individual taste.

Rh.loderi. This splendid hybrid, which hs no rival amongst modern shrubs to those possessing gardens of cold temperature, was raised in 1901 in three batches; twice Rh. griffithianum was the male parent, and once Rh. fortunei. Sixty to seventy per cent. Were successful when the pollen of the former was used, and about twelve per cent. When the latter was the father. At least six other hybridisers have made the same cross without obtaining the grand size and quality of the flowers Sir E. Loderís hybrid. The plant is now so well known, it requires no description. The best varieties of it are not necessarily those first named by Sir Edmund Loder, but are vars. King George (which carries 11 flowers often 7 inches across), Sir E. Loder (immense waxy flowers), Topaz (best pink), Fairyland, White Diamond, Sir J. Hooker, Pink Coral, Venus (now at Exbury), an example at Bodnant, and two unnamed at Leonardslee.

Sir Edmund made a few hybrids from Rh. Loderi, and of one of these he thought most highly, namely Rh. Loderi var. Pink Coral X Rh. arboreum (blood-red). Those that have flowered since his death have proved unsatisfactory as well as tender, though Dame Alice Godman has a fairly good one at South Lodge. (It may be of interest to our members to know that quite 80 per cent. Of all Rhododendrons crossed with Rh. arboreum (blood red) var. kermisinum are tender, and in most cases more liable to frost injury than kermisinum itself.)

A good many hybrids with Rh. Loderi have been made of recent years by some of our members, and some of these are likely lo prove successful. Recently I saw a very handsome hybrid raised by Sir John Ramsden Rh. Loderi X Rh. Doncaster, Rh. Doncaster seems to be a good breeder, as Lowinsky and others have proved.

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