This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V26", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
The most superficial observer believes he can tell a Rhododendron from an Azalea, but he judges from appearances, and appearances are often deceitful. The botanist can draw no line. The Azalea was once confined to those which had five stamens, and Rhododendrons to those with ten; but there are Azaleas with more and Rhododendrons with less than ten stamens; that is to say, kinds which the superficial would call Azaleas or Rhododendrons, but the botanist now calls them all Rhododendron. But we suppose the florist will find it very convenient to divide them, and long yet the deciduous forms will be known as Azaleas and the evergreen ones as Rhododendrons.
Geographically, what we know popularly as Rhododendrons are natives of our own continent, and are mostly hybrids raised from Rhododendron Catawbiense hybridized with the solitary European species Rhododendron ponticum. But the temperate parts of the East Indies have a beautiful class known as greenhouse Rhododendrons, which are very varied and showy, and many of them delightfully sweet-scented. We give with this an illustration of one of these, and it will be seen that if the artist has thought it worth while to be scrupulously accurate, there are more than ten stamens in these, and the flowers are much more tubular than those of America. This particular one is, according to Wm. Bull who introduced it, "A remarkably beautiful hybrid, producing immense trusses of fine large flowers of a delicate soft pink color, with long blush-white tube. This handsome hybrid belongs to the perpetual-blooming section of greenhouse Rhododendrons".
Rhododendron Pink Beauty.
The taste for these seems growing, and everybody is asking how to grow them? The fine, hair-like roots like to run in among stones, sand, peat, or some other open material, and when they get these they want nothing more. They wont grow in soil that is nothing but water, nor in close, compact earth. Anything else is agreeable to them. Some of these hardy kinds are very beautiful. Messrs. Hoopes Bros. & Thomas of West Chester, showed us one called Mrs. Milner, which was of as a deep red as the famous East Indian kinds of the arborea class.