Plants - Trees and Shrubs

The 2011 rhododendrons of the year

See which rhodos and azaleas received top honours--you just might want to add one to your garden



Elepidote: ‘Fort Bragg Glow’ (‘Ruby Bowman’ X R. elliottii)
(not pictured)
An early midseason bloomer, it bears wavy-edged strong purplish-red flowers which become dark red deep in the throat with dark red spotting on all lobes. The funnel-shaped flowers are five inches across and are held in ball-shaped trusses of 11 to 14 flowers. It has a rounded habit with six-inch long olive green leaves and grows to seven by nine feet in 15 years. Hardy to -9 C (15 F), it was hybridized by John S. Druecker of Fort Bragg, Calif.

Lepidote: ‘Fragrantissimum’ (R. edgeworthii (s) X R. formosum)
(not pictured)
Pink-tinged buds open to funnel-shaped, wavy-edged white flowers up to four inches across with a hint of pink and a greenish throat. The plant is very leggy and benefits from regular pruning. It is perhaps best when trained as an espalier. Hardy to -9 C (15 F), it is tender and one of the most fragrant of shrubs with a spicy smell in early midseason. A mid-19th Century Rollisson hybrid from England, it was awarded the RHS First-Class Certificate in 1868.

Deciduous azalea: ‘Hotspur’ (parentage unknown)
(shown above)
The four-inch flowers are deep orange-red with frilly edges and a yellowish blotch in the throat and held in a ball-shaped truss. It blooms in late midseason and is hardy to -26 C (-15 F). Reddish or bronzy new foliage appears on an upright plant, reaching six feet or more in 10 years. A Rothschild hybrid from the early 20th Century, it is part of the Hotspur Group that covers a wide range of colours. It won a RHS Award of Merit in 1934.

photo by Harold Greer

Evergreen azalea: ‘Hino-crimson’ (‘Amoenum’ (s) X ‘Hinodegiri’)
A Kurume hybrid widely planted throughout the United States, it is sun tolerant and compact, with a low to medium growth habit. Small, vivid red flowers are held in a lax globular truss and hold their color well. Glossy green leaves turn dark red in autumn. A Vermeulen hybrid from New Jersey, it is hardy to -23 C (-10 F) and received the RHS Award of Merit in 1974.


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