Deciduous azalea: R. luteum
Europe’s only native azalea, occurring from southern Poland and Austria through the Balkans and east to southern Russia and the Caucasus, it can be a difficult weed in its native range. It is very popular throughout Europe and has naturalized in much of Great Britain. The fragrant, two-inch bright yellow flowers are tubular with a darker yellow blotch and open before the leaves. It reaches four feet in 10 years and is hardy to -23 C (–10 F). The oblong leaves, up to five inches long, turn yellow, orange red and even purple for a month or two in autumn. Sometimes called the honeysuckle azalea or azalea pontica, it is likely the source of the honey that sickened 10,000 Greek soldiers returning from Persia in the 4th century BC.
Evergreen azalea: ‘Girard’s Fuchsia’ ((‘Herbert’ x ‘Girard’s Hot Shot’) x ‘Sandra Ann’ (s) X ‘Sandra Ann’)
A bushy plant covered with deep reddish-purple ruffled flowers up to three inches across, it blooms in midseason. It is compact, reaching three feet in 10 years, with shiny, dark green foliage that turns dark red in winter. Hardy to - 26 C (-15 F), it is a Peter Girard hybrid from the lake shore of northeast Ohio.