Deciduous azalea: R. cumberlandense
Still often called R. bakeri, the Cumberland azalea begins blooming as spring turns to summer, after the three-inch leaves have developed. The flowers are funnel shaped about 1½ inches long, yellowish orange to deep red, with an occasional yellow, held in trusses of four to seven. The plant is upright and spreading and ranges from one to two feet up to five feet tall. It is hardy to -26 C (-15 F) and prefers full sun in the north and partial shade in the south. It is native to the open forests of the Appalachian Mountains from southwest Virginia into the Cumberland Plateau in Kentucky and Tennessee and south through the mountains of North Carolina, Georgia and Alabama.
photo by Karel Bernady
Evergreen azalea: ‘Rosebud’ (‘Louise Gable’ X ‘Caroline Gable’)
This Joe Gable hybrid derives its name from the opening buds’ resemblance to rose buds. Deep purplish pink, double hose-in-hose flowers appear in late midseason. This is a slow grower with a dense spreading habit and glossy green leaves, reaching four feet in 25 years. Hardy to -23 C (-10 F), it received the Award of Merit in 1972 and a First Class Certificate from the RHS in 1975.