Tikorangi Notes: Friday, 27 May, 2011
As autumn closes into winter here, the days are shorter and we are getting plenty of rain but it is hardly cold yet – daytime temperatures are still in the late teens. The beauty of vireya rhododendrons is their ability to flower randomly throughout the year, even at times when there is not a great deal else in bloom. Buttermaid is one of Felix Jury’s early hybrids (aurigeranum x macgregoriae). In a world of big, fragrant, luscious blooms and heavy felted foliage, Buttermaid is destined forever to be the bridesmaid at best. However those showy big-bloomed types rarely, if ever, put on a mass display like the unpretentious Buttermaid. After decades of growing and experimenting with vireyas, we are increasingly of the view that healthy characteristics and flower power matter more than fragrance and individual flower size.