Rhododendron • シャクナゲ • 石楠花 • shakunage
Rhododendron hybrid in area M, which grows against East fence & arches over stream. It has slender leaves and pink buds, which open to white flowers roughly in April.
We do not know what cultivar it is, its origins or parentage; so only a picture and a link to an article on mechanics of hybridizing rhodies. The sources on building our garden note that Juki Iida was given about 160 different rhodies from Arboretum when he started to build the garden, and this might be one of them. His letters and articles indicate that he thought that was way too many for Japanese style garden, but he was also aware that Seattle people love rhodies (it’s a designated state flower).
From American Rhododendron Society on ‘Tips for Beginners: Mechanics of Basic Hybridizing’: […] First, a few basic definitions: Hybridizing is the process of creating new varieties from already established plants. It is achieved by combining the attributes of one plant with those of another; this is done by fertilizing one plant with pollen taken from another. This action is called a cross. The notation identifying a cross is written as Plant A x Plant B, in which Plant A is the “mother” of the new plant, i.e., the receiver of the pollen, also called the seed parent; and Plant B is the plant from which the pollen is taken, the “father” or pollen parent. The resulting hybrid is the product of the seed produced in the seed-bearing (mother) plant and will contain varying degrees of the attributes of both parents, yet is recognizably different from each. […]
From Rhodoland on ‘Hybridizing Rhododendrons and Azaleas’: […] How does it work?
Suppose I have an early flowering rhododendron, very hardy with pretty white flowers. If I want a later flowering plant, hardy with a fine flower and a dark blotch (I like blotches), then I have to cross it with a late flowering plant which has a dark blotch. We want a double red flower? That’s not so easy. I use ‘Queen Anne’s’ with double white flowers (therefore without stamens) and I cross it with, for instance, ‘Erato’, the father, with dark red flowers. I can’t do it in reverse, remember, because ‘Queen Anne’s’ has no stamens. Oh, yes, it’s not that easy. You need to know what you are doing. […]