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Rhododendron Loderi and its varieties and Hybrids

by Sir Giles Loder, from Rhododendron YearBook, 1950

Although many hybrid Rhododendrons have been raised in recent years, R.Loderi is still considered one of the best of the large-flowered varieties.

This cross was made in 1901 by the late Sir Edmund Loder who, in his later years, turned his versatile brain to gardening when he found his eye and body could no longer follow the more active pursuits in which he excelled. At that time little had been done or was known about the hybridizing of Rhododendrons beyond the various nursery-man hybrids amongst the caucasicum and kindred species. Even at this relatively early date Sir Edmund foresaw what is often overlooked now days -- the importance of selecting the very best possible material fot the intended cross. In this case, he selected a particularly sweetly scented and large flowered R.fortunei, amongst the several he had, as the seed parent. But as he did not consider as good enough any of the R.griffithianum which he had, Colonel Fred Godman kindly allowed him to use the pollen from a particularly fine plant of that species which was growing in the cold house at South Lodge.

R. Loderi ´White Diamond´ was amongst the first to flower, producing a handsome truss with individual flowers 6 inches in diameter, of pure white with a faint splash of colour in the throat. As with all the other seedlings the sweet scent of the seed parent is carried on in its offspring.

In R. Loderi ´King George´, the trusses are distinctly pink when they first open; but they quickly lose this colour and the fully developed truss is pure white, with no blotch in the throat and often having 10-12 flowers in a truss, which like all the other varieties, stand ‘well up’ in the centre

R. Loderi ´Pink Diamond´ (F.C.C. 1914) is probably the deepest pink of the family, retaining its colour throughout its full flowering period.

R. Loderi ´Pink Coral´ retains its lighter pink colour but has also a puce-colour blotch at the base of its flowers.

R. Loderi ´Sir Edmund´ was the last of the first generation to flower, in fact it was not until well after his death in 1920 that the plant produced its large trusses and was named after him. The flowers are veined pink when they first open, fading to a clear blush pink.

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