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Author Topic: lowndesii  (Read 4576 times)

johnw

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lowndesii
« on: March 19, 2008, 01:18:19 AM »
I wonder if anyone is growing R. lowndesii in the UK.  I have only seen it in the garden of June Sinclair, Port Ludlow, Washington State on this side of the Atlantic (or should that be the Pacific?). Her plant was about 2 feet wide by 2 inches high growing in a bark mound where a tree had been felled, the spot rather dampish. There it looks like a camtschaticum on a dietand as delicate and fine as redowskianum before demise.

I find it impossible to grow from seed, the seedlings last a few months and them peter out.  I grew them at  about 5-10c. If I had a plant my inclination would be to grow it like camtschaticum with more grit in the mix. We see photos of it in the wild growing from the rock crevices, it could easily get cooked in the summer here with one hot day. Anyone on their successes or failures?

Is there a source in the UK? I have heard Ron MacBeath sells it or at least has it though it nevers shows up on his website list.

johnw - where the weather has hardly improved but the wind is slowly abating.   


John in coastal Nova Scotia

Lesley Cox

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Re: lowndesii
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2008, 08:34:17 AM »
What is your seed source John? Is it the June Sinclair whom you mention and if so could she be encouraged to send seed to SRGS or AGS seed lists? Or could anyone else? It's one of those "holy grail" plants to me, and I'd love a chance to try it from seed. No hope of anything else here. I had a tiny plant way back in the 60s, imported, if I remember correctly fron Reuthe's in Kent but it was the first of several species to die, lack of knowledge and experience at that stage being the culprit. Now, I have LOADS of knowledge and experience when it comes to killing plants.  :)
« Last Edit: March 19, 2008, 08:38:31 AM by Lesley Cox »
Lesley Cox - near Dunedin, lower east coast, South Island of New Zealand - Zone 9

ian mcenery

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Re: lowndesii
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2008, 11:31:39 AM »
Yes it is a lovely plant when properly grown and that's the rub. I still have a bit of this plant which I bought from Cox eons ago which came with the instructions to cover with a cloche to protect in the winter. I just checked and hidden under a small plant of Curlew it still lives but it is a miserable specimen although there may be flower buds.

In spite of attempts to root cuttings and grow on a new plant I have failed miserably. I have also bought a replacement from Aberconwy Nursery who sometimes have this (lovely plants by the way) but have only succeeded in killing this. Lovely though it is it may be that this is a plant for pot culture and that is not for me  :-[
Ian McEnery Sutton Coldfield  West Midlands 600ft above sea level

johnw

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Re: lowndesii
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2008, 12:51:39 PM »
Leslie - The seed I grew indeed came from June.  I think it was even offered one year in the ARS Seed Exchange.  I will call June this weekend and ask her to send some op seed as I don't think there is much of a chance of it crossing with anything else in the vicinity. Send me a note in August as a reminder and I will try to send you a pinch.

The last time I was at June's she told me it had just been moved and it was looking a tad frail.  I just hope she hasn't lost it.

I have to confess I did have a very tiny piece of her plant, given to me by a friend in BC who successfully propagated a piece from June.  his is gone and so has mine. I grew mine rather well in a gritty Primula trough although it was less than an inch across, I think the Primulas kept excess moisture to a minimum. However I kept it in a cold greenhouse for the winter, on the floor and absentmindedly let it dry out.

Ian - thanks for your information. We'd love to see a photo of it in flower if you have buds! Were the Reuthe plants small enough to have a friend ship to Canada?

There are several delicious photos of very healthy plants in the wild.

http://pagesperso-orange.fr/asianflora2/Ericaceae/Rhododendron-lowndesii.htm

I suppose Wagtail is possible substitute for the desparate but I understand Glendoick is not propagating it anymore. I does reasonably well here without the leaf spotting (or was it rust) they report. It would be interesting to cross lowndesii with ludlowii to make a thoroughly difficult to grow hybrid.

johnw
« Last Edit: March 19, 2008, 01:03:20 PM by johnw »
John in coastal Nova Scotia

ian mcenery

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Re: lowndesii
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2008, 04:24:45 PM »
John I have bought Ludlowii (can't help being an optimist) from Cox this year and hope to keep it. I do think the species nearly all have that certain quality of flower and elagance not always there with hybrids.  Anyway it is a good quality plant now and may be easier than Lowdesii which has been planning to die for over 25 years. It would be interesting to hear from anyone who has seen Lowdesii in the wild as it would be interesting to hear about its exact habitat etc.

Ian McEnery Sutton Coldfield  West Midlands 600ft above sea level

johnw

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Re: lowndesii
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2008, 04:50:11 PM »
Ian - I've killed 3-4 ludlowiis, two were gone before winter even arrived. Peter Cox sent me seed of his Arunachal Pradesh collection and about 6 sprouted but only one survives in my southern garden though it is minute, alive though. I saw lusty little seedlings at Warren Berg's several years ago, his own garden seed.

I'm very impressed with Glendoick's ludlowii hybrid Wren, it can take anything winter can throw at it. I attach a shot of it here in Halifax. I guess you could call it the poor man's ludlowii!

Friends may see lowndesii in the wild next month. I've alerted them to make lots of notes on conditions and to take many photos.

regards

johnw
« Last Edit: April 19, 2008, 10:37:37 PM by johnw »
John in coastal Nova Scotia

Lesley Cox

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Re: lowndesii
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2008, 08:10:38 PM »
Thanks so much for the seed offer John. I'll certainly remind you in August and have already put a large notice on the wall above my computer to remind me to remind you.

I think there are already lowndesii x ludlowii hybrids aren't there? Sure I've read about them somewhere but can't remember where.
Lesley Cox - near Dunedin, lower east coast, South Island of New Zealand - Zone 9

Maggi Young

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Re: lowndesii
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2008, 08:44:46 PM »
For general garden use it is true that one of the various ludlowii lowndesii hybrids is a better bet as regards staying alive and actually flowering! Witness that fat little 'Wren' shown by John!

There are various references to R. lowndesii for those with back issues or the CD, in "the Rock Garden" index elsewhere on this site
http://www.srgc.org.uk/index/content.html

http://www.srgc.org.uk/index/SRGC%20Introduction%20&%20Index.pdf

Edit, 3rd July 2008 :

Very remiss of me, I forgot to mention that there is an updated index to "The Rock Garden" online in the main site, also: this courtesy of Glassford Sprunt, hero of the parish of Bridge of Allan! 

See the Index here: http://www.srgc.org.uk/index/SRGC%20Introduction%20&%20Index.pdf
It is complete up to issue No.  121 
« Last Edit: July 03, 2008, 07:18:56 PM by Maggi Young »
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!

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johnw

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Re: lowndesii
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2008, 09:45:13 PM »
Leslie - I have put a reminder in my iCal for August as well. I'm not aware of any lowndesii x ludlowii crosses but I wouldn't be surprised if Peter Cox or Barry Starling hasn't attempted the cross - sounds like a recipe for disaster or a supreme beauty. Isn't 'Pipit' lowndesii x lepidotum? If one were to use the yellow lepidote in Jens Birck's album a yellow Pipit would surely result.

Maggi - My Journals are in storage but if I recall they were just passing references to lowndesii thoiugh there might have been a paragraph or two back in the 1950's when it was discovered. It truly is a holy grail of rhododendrons.

I found this reference on the internet. I wonder if you shouldn't just jump in the car and head out to his place? Maybe a phone call or a letter might be more polite. Ormskirk is northeast of Liverpool.

AGS Summer North Show 2000
Certificate of Merit
   plant or exhibit of outstanding merit
Mr B. Russ, Ormskirk
PLANT/EXHIBIT: Rhododendron lowndesii

Does anyone graft lepidotes? I'm thinking ludlowii might just be okay, nay even vigorous, on another rootstock.  But on what is the question?

johnw

John in coastal Nova Scotia

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Re: lowndesii
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2008, 09:51:04 PM »
When I said  "ludlowii lowndesii hybrids" I didn't really mean crosses between the two, just hybrids of each.. which do provide fine yellow flowered garden plants .


John, that reference to Brian Russ' plant is one I had almost forgotten about... I remember seeing the photos at the time, or perhaps it was in a tlk Brian gave....... it was an absolute cracker! Mind you, Brian is an extremely skilled grower..... he is fond of ericaeae in general and grows magnificent specimens  8)
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!

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