Thursday, May 19, 2011

Today the Asian staff and Betty went to the Azalea Collection to see the Satsukis

starting below Betty and Amanda. from the top: 'Shiko no Tsuki', 'Hoshun', 'Robin Hill Gillie', 'Chojuho'

We were looking for varieties to propagate and add to our collection and we found....probably too many. Carole and Barbara were testing the irrigation when we arrived and they chased us through about 5 zones without every getting us really wet. When they finished, Barbara, with her dependable enthusiasm, showed us her favorite selections and gave us a bit of history and anecdote. She also showed us the North Tisbury hybrids, selections of Rhododendron nakaharai made by Polly Hill. We saw plants grown from cutting the Polly sent to Barbara when she was 95 years old (I think she lived to be 100....horticulture is a good field for so many reasons). I love the North Tisbury's for their excellent foliage, low stature, and the warmish colors of their flowers.

There are some beautiful Satsukis and some peculiar ones; of course I like both equally! The Azalea Society of America declares that the Japanese have been hybridizing Satsuki Azaleas for at least half a millenium. Wow. I like Satsuki's because they have interesting flowers, they bloom after the initial and secondary flushes of azaleas are finishing up, and they tend to be compact plants on the smallish side.

I have no idea what Betty and Amanda are looking at way up in the air. None of the azaleas we looked at were more than a few feet tall.

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