Thursday, September 17, 2009
Our Glen Dale Elizabeth turns 50
Our grand 50 year old azalea bush Glen Dale 'Elizabeth' outside our bay window puts out a spectacular display of spring flowers at this time of the year. This grand old lady would have to be one of the most colourful small Autumn to Spring flowering shrubs. Although her blooming period in spring is restricted to a month or less, she is in fact a flowering shrub for all seasons. In winter this evergreen azaleas light up a lush green area of the garden. In spring, the vivid display produced by her is showy and placed her among the most decorative shrubs for the home garden and parks; throughout the summer and fall the leaves again add a pleasing, deep green color to the garden. Some deciduous varieties show up the warm autumn tints of the leaves and are particularly attractive with a background of evergreen plants in the garden before the leaves drop.
Although our grand old lady likes to differ from her cousin Rhododendron, the two were classified in the same genus of Rhododendron by the botanists, but many gardeners still treating them as if they were two separate types of plants. All her cousins Rhododendrons are mainly evergreen, whereas she and her siblings are mostly deciduous except for two popular groups the Kurume and Indica azaleas are evergreen. The plants are mainly native to the Northern Hemisphere, although some species do occur in Malaysia and Papua New Guinea and one rhododendron is native to the rainforest of northern Queensland.
Azalea shrubs are easily propagated and increased by taking a cutting about 2.5 cm long and placing the cut end about 50mm deep in sand. Roots on azalea plants can form within two weeks during late spring, and the plant may grow another foot tall before it is ready to be planted permanently in your yard. As azaleas range in size from tree like giants to prostrate dwarfs, decide the space you have to fill before you plant your shrubs.