Rhododendron Identification Project
Early May is the time to see Azalea Way in full bloom! Mid-month into June enjoy a long walk through the arboretum’s vast rhododendron collection. Walk along secluded Dorothy’s Way amid the stately specimens on the hillside. Enjoy some of the unique plants found on Ridge Road near Long Valley Road, hybridized by early pioneers Charles O. Dexter, Guy Nearing, David Gable and others including R. ‘Paul Vossberg’ which was grown at Laurelwood Gardens and named by Dorothy Knippenberg circa 1975.
Joe Di Giacomo, Chairperson of the volunteer Rhododendron Identification Team, stated that “to date, we have identified 208 rhododendrons in our collection of 300-400 mature rhododendrons. These include 61 different named hybrids and 6 species. A plant record was created for each rhododendron including its parentage, color, bloom time, flower truss and foliage descriptions, plant growth habit, cold hardiness, name of hybridizer, and its location in the arboretum.”
Dorothy’s Way is a 500-foot soft footpath traversing a gentle slope parallel to Brook Road, marked by a trellis at the edge of the woods. It is believed that many of the rhododendrons along its length were part of a Knippenberg hybrid trial area.
The rhododendrons are usually in bloom in late May. The path takes you up close and very personal under and among the huge rhododendrons. What a way to see these fantastic blooms! The memorial trail was constructed by volunteers of all ages, and the wooden arbors at each end were Eagle Scout projects.