Apricot Fancy Sir Edmund Hilary

Gilded Sunrise Allen's Surprise
The former National Garden of the
New Zealand Rhododendron Association
Haggerty Street, Kimbolton
Manawatu, New Zealand

White Family Rhododendrons at Heritage Park

The rhododendrons at Heritage Park hybridised by Tom and John White put on their best attire last year and were much admired by conference members. The park originally acquired propagating material for trialling from ‘Barnsdale’, Tom and Prue White’s garden and `Sentry Hill’ John and Irene White’s garden. Two visits by Rodney Wilson, Sue and Lindsay Davies began the project for this collection and we continue to add to it as we seek out original early crosses no longer propagated.

John’s father and mother, Tom and Prue White, were early members of the NZRA and Foundation Members of Pukeiti. Tom served on the Pukeiti Board and was Chairman for a number of years. In 1987 he was made Patron, a position he held until his death in 1992. Both Tom and Prue White were great gardeners, hybridising and crossing many plants in their garden ‘Barnsdale’.

Tom’s son, John, continued the family tradition and served on the Pukeiti Trust Board and was a valued member of the Heritage Park Trust. John and Irene created a lovely garden `Sentry Hill’ which we were privileged to visit the last time the Hawkes Bay folk hosted a conference, in 2007.

 Heritage Park acquired Barnsdale rhododendron material and this was propagated by Sue Davies. The resulting plants were put in the trial beds in 2010. Five years later they were shifted into the Eastern Border that houses NZ hybrids. We have R.`Barnsdale Prudence‘ named after a grand-daughter, R. `Charity’ named after a family friend, R. `Barnsdale Elizabeth’ named after another granddaughter and R. `Irene’ named after John’s wife.

John’s father hybridised a rhododendron and named it after his wife Prue, but unfortunately this plant died. There is a rhododendron R. `Prue White’ a USA hybrid which came to Pukeiti as cutting material from Hal Braafladt, a doc-tor friend of Graham Smith. This material was quar-antined at Pukeiti and is R.dalhousiaex R. `Else Frye’. It was named after Mrs T H N White of ‘Barnsdale’ by Graham Smith in 1994. The bloom is described as having creamy pink trumpets and is deliciously scented! We look forward to adding R. `Prue White’ to Heritage Park.

The Sentry Hill propagating material was collected by Rodney Wilson and Lindsay Davies, this was also trialled and plants were relocated from the trial beds to the `Birch Garden’ at the top of the Hawkes Bay Pond about the same time as the Barnsdale plants. In this garden we have Sentry Hill #4, Sentry Hill #5, (decorum x decorum), Sentry Hill #6, Sentry Hill #H52 and R. `Barnsdale Pink’ (`Naomi’ x `Carita’? x `Ilam Canary’). The numbered Sentry Hill rhododendrons are unregistered. R. decorum is the main parent plant of the Sentry Hill numbered crosses. The Sentry Hill rhododendrons have grown well and will be spectacular in the future. Walking amongst them in the spring was an experience of scent and floriferous abundance!

Sue Wagstaff

Acknowledgement: Photograph R. ‘Prue White’ courtesy of Graham Smith.

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