ARS South Australia Newsletter – July 2018
A highlight of June meeting was the presentation by Milton Bowman on the history and development of rhododendron hybrids by David Whibley during the 1920s in the Adelaide Hills. Milton shared fascinating facts about the start and challenges of a hybridising program, rhododendron hybrids created right here in Stirling, as well as people involved: sponsors, influences and implementers, and the stories behind these hybrids’ names. Whibley hybrids are unique as they were created as a result of the only successful hybridising program in South Australia. The hardy hybrids bred mainly by the Waterer Family in the UK during the 19th century such as Pink Pearl, Sappho and Madam Carvalho were used as the genetic material of the Whibley hybrids. Hence they tend to be tough and relatively drought resistant which is important for growing them more-or-less successfully in South Australian climate. Some of them have very attractive flowers and deserve a place in any Hills garden. These plants are not commercially available, so it is important to maintain and promote these hybrids.
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