It hardly seems possible that this is the ninth issue of our publication. Time really flies when you are having fun and enjoy what you are doing. So to that end, I am a happy camper. Work for me is just staying busy, and I've worked several jobs all my life. Now that I'm older, I can just pick and choose what I want to do in the literary area. In addition to my genealogical columns, occasional short stories and books, and newsletters, I find that I'm happiest when I'm busy. Therefore, I relax in my garden, returning to the computer when I'm ready to get back to the literary field. Travel is sometimes a part of my leisure quest.
Spring is coming early to my corner of the world. It's mid-February, and I've already moved most of my hibiscus out of the greenhouse, utility room and from my bedroom and bathroom. Of course, they are positioned in such a way that they can be yanked back to safety in case of a late freeze. I really feel as if our winter is over, so I'm going to chance leaving things alone. I've already acquired more planting soil, the proper plant foods, new pots and am ready to begin my spring ritual of starting more seedlings. I have lots of seeds to start with, and this winter I got some started on a special heating unit in a friend's greenhouse. Most of these new seedlings are compliments of Bob Rivers-Smith in New Zealand. And my Merjan X Merv's Fascination is coming right along as are all my Tahiti Reds and the crosses with this one. Hopefully, I'll have something different to exhibit at our show in July. Hope springs eternal, or something like that.
It is with great pleasure that I would like to announce another of the great IHS projects, one that I have alluded to in earlier communications. It ranks up there with our web site and H.I. in importance. It is a CD entitled "The IHS Hibiscus Odyssey 2002", and is the brainchild of Joseph Dimino who has put in untold hours in its creation. A number of other IHS members have contributed including myself, Chris Noble and Nadeen Pickard as well as the entire Board who have reviewed this CD. Nearly a year ago, the board reviewed Joseph's proposition and voted to form the CD committee, which consisted of Joseph, Nadeen, and myself. We have worked through many dozens of communications, if not a hundred or more, and we are very pleased with the results.
As to the format, Joseph has worked some incredible graphic wizardry in the creation of this CD, which has a theme based on the Sci-Fi film 2001. You will have to see it to understand just how impressive it is. It is full of high tech graphics, video clips, and narrations - the whole nine yards. It is truly a knock your socks off CD, and Joseph gets full credit for the concept and creation of this format.
As to content, it is also very interesting. Diversity is the basic theme. It has considerable original content with in depth articles on Hibiscus Care, Propagation, Hybridizing, Pests & Diseases, plus the International Cross Reference Registry and the AmHS Registry and all H.I. publications to date. There is a Photo Gallery and Hibiscus Archive (many hundreds of photos). It is to my knowledge, by far the most complete hibiscus CD to date and something every hibiscus enthusiasts could profit from immensely. As Nadeen says, when you put this CD in your computer, fasten your seat belt, put your chair in its upright position, tape your socks on (too cold to fly barefoot) and prepare for take off - maybe even a good idea to have the smelling salts at close hand.
This is another example of the International Hibiscus Society doing good things for the hibiscus community and beyond.
HIBISCUS AND THE PHILIPPINES
Part 1 Hibiscus in the Islands:
The Spaniards introduced Christianity to the Philippines. Today, more Christians live in the Archipelago than in any other Asian country. But, the 400-hundred year Spanish colonial yoke was overthrown in the 1890’s after several revolts against the rule of Castille. On June 12, 1898, nationalist leaders declared the Philippines independent. Earlier that year, however, hostilities between the United States and Spain broke into a declared war between these two countries in April 1898 and culminated with the U.S. Fleet defeating the Spanish Armada in the Pacific in the Battle of Manila Bay on May 1. After both countries signed a peace treaty towards the end of that year, the United States occupied and took control of the islands but eventually developed the country into a self-governing commonwealth in 1935. War broke out soon thereafter with the Japanese occupying the islands from 1942 to 1945. With the Liberation of Manila by advancing allied forces led by Gen. Douglas MacArthur of the United States of America Forces in the Far East (USAFFE), the Philippines eventually reestablished its full independence on July 4, 1946. Because it lies in the cusp of South East Asia, the Philippines is known as the “Pearl of the Orient”. It is a founding member of the United Nations, the ASEAN and several other international organizations.
The Philippines is a largely mountainous country, with narrow strips of lowland along the coastal fringes but also contains broad inland plains, especially on the islands of Luzon and Panay. These islands were formed about 50 million years ago as a result of the buckling of the Earth’s crust and volcanic eruptions.
The Philippine Trench, one of the deepest in the World, is located off the northeast coast of Mindanao and reaches a depth of 10,439 meters below the surface of the Pacific. Scientists believe that this trench forms the boundary between two tectonic plates, which are constantly pushing against each other. One plate is bending downwards beneath the other. Deep beneath the earth’s crust, the descending plate melts, creating magma and tremendous pressure that fuels sporadic eruptions in some of the Archipelago’s numerous volcanoes, notably Mt. Pinatubo, Mayon (inset, left) and Taal. The Philippines also has many fine bays and harbors. Those situated on the western coasts of the country providing some of the most spectacular sunsets in the world.
The Philippine Islands extend about 1,850 kilometers from north to south, and about 1,100 kilometers from east to west. Luzon Island, which has an area of 104,688 square kilometers, is the most important island in the Archipelago and including Mindoro Island, form the northern group. Several mountain ranges run generally north-to-south through northern Luzon which include the Cordillera Central and the Sierra Madre chain in the northeast between which lies the fertile Cagayan Valley. Banaue (pronounced: “ba-na-weh”), northeast of the highland mountain resort city of Baguio (pronounced: “bag-yo”), the City of Pines and the Summer Capital of the Philippines) in the Mountain Province of Benguet (pronounced “beng-get”), is famous for its cascading rice terraces and is considered one of the wonders of the world.
central part of Luzon and adjacent Mindoro Island are the country’s main rice-producing
regions. The capital, Manila, stands on the eastern shore of a superb natural
harbor called the Manila Bay which is bounded in it narrow entrance to the west
by Corregidor Island, site of one of the most fiercest battles between the invading
Japanese Imperial Forces and the defending Filipino and American soldiers at the
outbreak of World War II in the Pacific.
The central part of the Philippines contains a number of other islands with medium-sized
(13,080 square kilometers), situated in eastern Visayas, is a triangular shaped
hilly and verdant island. It is the third largest in the Archipelago and is adjacent
to the peninsula of Bicol. It is basically a rural and farming area where thousands
of hectares of abaca (i.e., Philippine hemp), a variety of coconut species, maize
and rice are cultivated. Samar Island has many undiscovered and therefore undeveloped
fine white-, ash- and ochre-colored beaches. The mountainous interior is blanketed
with thick forests teeming with wild flora and fauna.
flowers of H. Abelmoschus are about 10 centimeters in diameter, with yellow petals
which are, however, purple at the base, inside. The capsules of the musk mallow
are oblong-ovoid and 5 to 7 centimeters long, are covered with long hairs, and
contain numerous musky seed. Records show that the seed yields an essential oil
that contains farnesol, an abundance of palmitic acid, furfurol, acetic and ambrettol
acid. The seeds, after being pounded and prepared in decoction, are administered
as a diuretic, tonic, carminative and anti-hysteric. A mucilaginous decoction
of the root and leaves is used in the treatment of gonorrhea as for headaches,
rheumatism, varicose veins and fever. And like the effect that the fresh juice
of young coconuts have on certain organs of the human body, the fruit of H. Abelmoschus,
in powder or infusion, may be given for flushing and stimulating the intestines
When a new seedling is shown at monthly meetings and Annual shows, and it starts to win some Certificate of Merits, it can be nominated for the Hibiscus of the Year (HOTY) competition.
Every seedling must be registered before it can be in the competition. There are rules to be followed by the selection committee, which are as follows:
1. The competition for HIBISCUS OF THE YEAR, hereafter referred to as H.O.T.Y. will be conducted annually to determine the most outstanding seedling or new variety hybridized and raised in Australia.
2. All seedlings entered in HOTY must be properly registered with the society Nomenclature Officer.
3. In June the current HOTY Committee of President, Secretary and two nominees from each branch will choose worthy seedling blooms and invite them to the HOTY competition. The Secretary, on behalf of the selection panel, will notify the person (hereafter referred to as the invitee) who registered an outstanding seedling, that the seedling should be entered in the HOTY competition. The invitee must reply by the September meeting of the Committee so that the nominations can be finalized and plants distributed to the evaluators before the end of the nomination year.
4. The HOTY entries will be grown under normal cultural conditions by duly appointed evaluators and observed over a three-year period. No seedling will be eligible for selection as the HOTY winner until the third year of observation has been completed.
5. It is the responsibility of the invitee to ensure that each evaluator has a grafted plant of the variety under review. Where help is required, the appointed Society Distribution Officer/s will assist. In some instances, evaluators may be prepared to accept wood for grafting to simplify distribution. Evaluators are required not to propagate wood of varieties under review, without the growers written permission.
6. An evaluator is required to grow the variety in his/her garden in view of the security clause in rule 5. The evaluator is required to grow the plant for a minimum of 2 years, so that comparable evaluations may be available.
7. All entrants for HOTY must be grown in Australia, from the seed hybridized in Australia, and a minimum of pod parent (preferably both) named. That fact that a seedling becomes commercially available within the 3 years observation time, or wins a best seedling award at a show, does not exclude it from being known as a seedling and eligible for the HOTY competition.
8. Hibiscus of the Year will be judged from those registered seedlings, which have been observed as per rule 4 above. Once the HOTY winner of a particular year is announced officially, all entrants for that year will go into open categories and will no longer be seedlings. Evaluation sheets will be distributed by the secretary to the evaluators, and the completed evaluation sheets must be in the hands of the secretary of the society by the 28th February each year. The winner will be announced at the annual show.
9. The scoring for HOTY will be carried out by the incumbent President and Secretary of the society, who will have at their disposal the separate evaluation sheets for each of the seedlings that have been under observation for three years. There is only one HOTY award covering single, double and miniature categories. Separate awards in each category will not be made. If at the recommendation of the evaluators it is considered that no seedling is worthy of the title of the HOTY award, then a Highly Recommended Award will be given.
10. All entries chosen for the HOTY competition will earn a certificate for the hybridizer (and also the grower if other than the hybridizer). The winner of HOTY, the hybridizer of the seedling, will receive a suitable trophy and that honor will be shared equally with the grower of the seedling if other than the hybridizer.
I do not know if the AmHS runs their HOTY the same way as we do, but these are the rules that we work under here in Australia. Ruth has been lucky to have hybridized two entrants in the competition, the first was Martha Irene, which was in the 1998 competition, and Tim's Delight which is in the 2003 competition.
ambition is win the HOTY trophy, as no woman has won it as yet. To be asked to
be entrant in the HOTY competition is an honor, and the flower must have been
winning to become eligible for nomination. This is why we have members from each
branch on the selection committee, so if a bloom has been winning at a branch,
it may not come to the attention of the selection committee if we did not have
someone from each branch.
for the Right Flowers
for the Right Flowers
In Florida, I am lucky to get a variety of hibiscus. Many growers are not as blessed, and acquiring hibiscus flowers for their garden is not just hopping in a car to Home Depot, unless, of course, you want a garden variety.
The flowers growing in my enchanted garden would not be here unless special people were not working hard on a daily basis to hybridize blooms keeping us in beautiful gems of many colors. I always wondered what a hybridizer had in mind or what cv he was hoping to get out of a cross. The Queen of the Tropics manages to keep her allure by being mysterious instead of what you see is what you get. You cross two flowers, and you never know what the result will be. You can end up with a flower close to one of the parents, a mix of the parents or something that looks nothing like the originals.
When I called Joe Ludick, I asked him what he wanted in a cross. He stated right off the bat that he is looking for a brown one with white spots. He said that no one had got this combination before. So Ludick is fishing for a spotted brown one.
Joe Ludick is a retired attorney and former mayor of North Miami, Florida and has been a member of the American Hibiscus Society since the 1960s. He was president of the Bruce Parnell Chapter located in North Dade, Florida. He named a cv after the city he governed, Miss North Miami. A portrait of this flower hangs in the lobby of City Hall.
Ludick became National President of the AmHS in the 1980s. He just finished serving as Chairman of the Charitable Trust for the AHS after 10 years in this position. He has also served on the seedling evaluation committee. His other hobby is fishing - any kind of fishing!
Joe and Roberta Ludick were together for over 60 years until her recent passing in October 2001. He is now a member of the Indian River Chapter in Central Florida and currently resides in Port St. Lucie.One of his creations honors that city with the name of City of Port St. Lucie.
Currently, he grows 45 roses and a few hibiscus on a postage-sized lot. But I have to tell you that over the years Ludick has created over 170 cvs. Looking at a list of his cvs one sees the parents of many show winners, and he has been to the top with Herm Geller winning Hibiscus of the Year in 1988. He came in third place with Mr. Brett in 1983 and Helen Fletcher in 1992.
I asked him to describe a flower of his that I have in my garden named The Beacon. He described the flower as a fuchsia lavender with a white eye. Oh, that sounds nice! I asked him to tell me which was his favorite cv, and he could not come up with one. He did say that Pro Legato is one of the prettiest and best bushes he has ever produced.
With close to 200 cvs named, Ludick can find it difficult to find a favorite. Some of his other beautiful flowers are: Anna Elizabeth, Challenger, Butterscotch Sundae, Double Miniskirt, Eye of the Storm, Great White, Joanne Boulin, Lilly Torbet, Mary Louise, Miss Liberty, Mount Shasta, Old Medley, Aunt Charlotte, Old Liberty, Annie Ackerman, Orange Magic, Prima Ballerina, Topaz Glory, Dirty Harry, David Boulin, Magpie, Miss Ballerina, Eva Paloni, Dakota Rose, Ruth Woodruff and Golden Eagle.
Ludick recommends 6-6-6 and milorganite every 10 days for hibiscus. He told me to be on the watch out for his newest creation, Dubyu, named after President George W. Bush. This particular flower made quite a stir at the Indian River Show. He even gave me a hint where I can find wood nearby. Off I go to see another Wizard!
Two bright blue and gold macaws soared in the mother of pearl gray skies touched by dawn's pink light. The early morning sun hung like a large golden orb on the horizon. As the mysterious flower genie flew in her magic carpet feeling the morning's dew on her face, birds of many colors greeted her with their calls. Flocks of white ibises joined her on her trip over the gently tossing waters of the ocean.
The mysterious flower genie was in search of a rare gem of many colors that she had learned was in the possession of a magical wizard to the north.
On previous travels, the mysterious flower genie had added rare gems to her treasury full of gems but now she searched for the rarest. As the genie landed in the wizard's domain, she was greeted by a bevy of gems she had never seen before. A particular gem was large and the color so ruby red of such clarity that it rivaled the Pasha's fabled Ruby of Mirage. Admiring this gem among all the others, the genie bowed to inspect this ruby gem closely. She was touched on her shoulder gently by the wizard. He gently placed the gem into her hands, and the mysterious flower genie thanked the magical wizard.
the chronicles of the mysterious flower genie from the peninsula of flowers -
(This series is being compiled by Colleen Keena from Queensland, Australia, Kristin Yanker-Hansen from California, USA, and Marcos Capelini from São Paulo, Brazil. We hope you can share your experiences of growing the featured plants so that we can all learn more about growing mallows in varied locations.)
The California Lavateras and Their Hybrids
In the mallow world the most hybridization has occurred in the rosa-sinensis compatible species. This is probably due to the fact that these plants survive well in pots, and therefore can be grown as houseplants all over the world. There has been work in other species such as H. syriacus, and several of the European Lavateras, Malvas, and Alceas(hollyhocks) but probably due to size, limited color variation, and range of growing areas these are generally limited.
The California Lavateras naturally grow in a very limited range. They are found on the islands of Santa Cruz and Santa Cantalina off the coast of Los Angeles, and then further south off the California Baja peninsula, which is actually in Mexico, on the islands of Guadeloupe, and San Benito.
Lavatera Asurgentiflora is the most Northern species found on the islands of Santa Cruz, San Miguel, and Anacapa, with subspecies glabra found on Santa Catalina, and San Clemente. It is claimed to be naturalized in the Santa Monica Mountains.
They must not have deer in those mountains because, as with most mallows, animals love to eat this plant.
although Lavatera asurgentiflora comes from the southern, and milder part
of California, I have found it to be quite cold hardy, surviving temperatures
into the high teens. It is also grown in parts of England.
plant is variable in its size, sometimes becoming very tall, but usually averaging
between 6 and 8 feet. The trunk can be as much as twelve inches across. The flowers
are a deep cerise color, and bloom nearly year round. Flower size is dependant
on the weather. In the winter they can get two inches wide, while in the summer,
they run closer to one inch.
survive the hot and dry inland conditions of the summer, defoliating to protect
themselves, but do well with summer water. This is probably due to the foggy belt
from which they come. The coast of California is often shrouded in summer fog.
In some areas it has provided measurable precipitation of up to 10 inches for
the summer season.
venosa is the most southern of the three compatible species, coming from the
island of San Benito, and naturalized on the Baja peninsula in the area of Vizcalno.
This one also seems to handle very cold temperatures, having survived the high
teens already in my garden. The flowers are larger than asurgentiflora.
They are a purple with pink edging, and deep purple veining. My only plant is
more prostrate then asurgentiflora, although it behaves similarly in every
occidentalis is the most mysterious of the three. It is found on the island
of Guadeloupe, off the cost of Baja. It is supposed to have deep purple flowers
although I have never seen it. I have three seedlings, which I am very fearful
to plant out because I have been told that it is the most frost tender of the
three. The leaves of this one are also more palmate than the other two.
Ed Mercurio, a botanist and plant lover who lives in Salinas, California has been playing around with the Lavateras for years. He originally only had L. asurgentiflora, and L venosa, and his hybridizing attempts he felt were uninteresting blendings of these plants.
was not until he was exploring Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens that he found an
unusual seedling of bluish purple. When he asked if he could have a cutting they
told him to take the plant, because all the seedlings were crosses, and would
be pulled anyway. He only did take a cutting, and from that time, through primarily
open pollination came out with numerous variations of the plant. He believes that
the original blue color came from the third Lavatera, occidentalis. He
also believes that occidentalis is the most tender of all the Lavateras
because he has noted that during our big freeze in the early 90's he lost all
the bluer hybrids. They returned through seedlings.
He has a forest of Lavateras in his backyard in the middle of a suburban neighborhood. Since he no longer has time to track these plants, he lets them open pollinate. He has put into the trade a few selections of his hybrids, including Bold Stripes, which is white with purple stripes, and Black Heart, which is a purple with a near black heart. You can see some of the variety descriptions at under Lavateras. This is the new San Marcos Growers located near Santa Barbara who have been selling some of Ed's hybrids. Also Rancho Santa Ana Botanical gardens in the LA Basin has several varieties with plans to obtain more.
was fortunate enough to get seed from his garden and would be happy to distribute
it to interested members. Since there is some concern now about importing seed
to the US, I plan to be the primary distributor of the seed. I will also send
seed to Ursula if there is a problem obtaining seed from the States. That way
US members can obtain the seed without a problem. Ed has also said that he would
be happy to welcome anyone who wishes to come to his garden for cuttings. You
can E-Mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like some seed, please EMail me at Yankerhans@hotmail.com.
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