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Archive for February, 2015

When I first saw the flower on Harold Amateis and was told of its background I couldn’t believe it. How could that strong a red come from maximum in the first generation.  Maximum had a terrible reputation here on Long Island as a parent.  Clem Bowers made many, many crosses using in in the 1930’s & 40’s and didn’t get anything of value.  Of course he wasn’t using strig, mainly the ironclades and some of the English giants.  Paul Vossburg wouldn’t have anything to do with a maximum hybrid.

I was always leery of the cross and wondered if Edmund Amateis could have mixed up the seed.  But now I see the picture of max x Leo and lo and behold another red truss.  Is there something about maximum that transmits the pollen flower color to the seedlings?  If that is the case, has anyone tried crossing it with a strong yellow?  What about crossing it with Jean Marie?

There were several problems with max crosses:  erratic bloom (as we know from Harold Amateis), bad plant habit (very open growing) and does poorly with full exposure.  I have a max x yak that I got from Sid Burns that is a good looking plant.  It blooms in very late June with large white trusses, is slightly indumented, holds its leaves 3 years and never has any winter damage (that is not saying mulch as I am in zone 7b).  It is quite a vigorous plant.

Since most rhododendrons are sold as containerized plants, it is imperative that the purchaser knows how to plant it in his/her garden.  Hank Shannon and Ron Rabideau from Rare Find Nurseries produced a wonderful video showing how to do it.  EVERYONE SHOULD SEE THIS VIDEO.  The URL for it is: