Albiflora X Wittmanniana

Another species from the Caucasus region is P. wittmanniana. "This is a plant," wrote Professor Saunders, "which does not do well under the conditions I offer it. It is not widely listed and I think never has been; it was therefore always somewhat difficult to obtain, and this, combined with the difficulty of keeping it growing and alive in the garden, has meant that I have never at any time had many blooms to work with.“

Added to this is the fact that the cross is not one that takes with great ease, and hardly at all in the reverse direction. M. Lemoine reported to me that he had never had any luck with the reverse cross, but that his hybrids were the result of wittmanniana pollen on albiflora.

He produced four lovely things and gave them lovely names: Avant Garde, Le Printemps, Mai Fleuri, and Messagere; they are not so well known as they deserve to be, although this may be because they inherit wittmanniana' s delicate constitution. Lemoine made these crosses about 1890, and since then until about 1925, nothing further appears to have been done with this species. Wittmanniana's flowers are of a most delicate pale ivory—paler than "mloko's." Of the Lemoine hybrids, Messagere, is cream-color and the other three are pinks with a sort of cafe-au-lait cast to them.

Professor Saunders raised some one hundred and sixty hybrid plants at one time or another, of which he likewise selected four for propagation: two whites [one has delicate greenish tints]; a third. Magnolia Flower, with blooms of a mauve and tawny-cream shade; Ballerina, the fourth, is the reverse of the cross; it is a smallish plant with very double cream-white blooms. He felt that this was a cross that might well repay further work by someone living in a climate better suited [wherever that may be] to wittmanniana's needs [whatever these may be]. But it has always been a hard plant to obtain; it apparently has rarely if ever been offered in America.