Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Garden Catalogues... And Dreaming

A new snowstorm is whistling around the corners of the house, and a huge mass of cold air is rumbling towards us all the way from Siberia, with temperatures predicted as low as -15 this weekend. I don't so much mind when Arctic air moves down here from Alaska, but when the whole other side of the world starts sending its cold to Iowa, I start feeling picked on. It's a good time to start thumbing through the spring garden catalogues, and making plans for when the snow finally melts.
One of the things I want to plant (or should I say shoe-horn into) the garden this spring is another late-blooming azalea (by late-blooming I don't mean the fall re-blooming Encore type of azalea that's all the rage now, but rather those azaleas that bloom in mid- or late summer). The summer bloomers tend to need a little bit more sun than a lot of the spring blooming azaleas, so finding the right spot for them in my garden/jungle is tricky... also, many of them get quite large. When I first started growing late summer-blooming azaleas I was quite surprised to find that most of them, in spite of blooming during the hottest part of the summer, seem to stay in bloom far longer than the mid-May Exbury type azaleas. I assume this is because the summer bloomers get their late flowering from more southerly species like cumberlandense and arborescens. Besides the profusion of long-lasting flowers, I also very much like the spicy perfume that some of them bring to the garden, and many of them have very crisp, attractive foliage.
Above are pictured three that we already grow:
July Jewel- a delightful, very long-blooming shrub. It's only negative is that it's a selection of Azalea cumberlandense, which has no perfume.
Azalea Weston's Popsicle, in the middle picture, is dark pink with an orange-yellow flare, and is modestly fragrant.
Weston's Lollipop is very light pink and wonderfully fragrant.
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I must tell you that one nursery you mentioned in the past was Munchkin Nursery in Ohio. This month I have poured over their catalogue and webcite looking at their wonderful trilliums and toad lilies. It is a time to dream, and and a time to pull up the covers.
Philip... I do like his catalogue; he seems like a real plant nut.
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