Girard's Rose Azalea
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Make your garden look like the Augusta National during the Masters, even if you don’t live in the steamy South! Who isn’t mesmerized by the brilliant banks of Azaleas blooming their hearts out each year during that famous golf tournament? Unfortunately, many of these beauties require very mild winters. Girard’s Rose is one Azalea that homeowners in colder climates can enjoy, too; it performs well even where temperatures drop to -10ºF. And what a stunner it is! In April or May (depending on location), it makes a decadent display of bountiful blooms of the most luscious, deep rosy pink color. Gorgeous!
Girard’s Rose Azalea arose near the shores of Lake Erie, about 50 miles east of Cleveland. Peter Girard, Sr. founded Girard Nurseries in Geneva, Ohio, in 1946 and soon began breeding Azaleas. His aim was to develop plants that not only looked pretty, but would thrive in northern gardens. Using Joe Gable’s hardy Azaleas as a starting point, he and his son Peter, Jr. came up with some 56 new selections, several of which have become customer favorites. Girard’s Rose is one of the best. It was introduced in 1965.
Girard Azaleas are perhaps the most evergreen Azaleas you can buy for colder climates. If the winter isn’t exceedingly harsh, they can hold almost all their leaves throughout the dormant season. Girard’s Rose Azalea also has another feature: great fall foliage! When nights turn frosty, its deep green leaves become a rich burgundy color.
How to Grow
Azaleas appreciate a little pampering. They thrive when shielded from hot summer sun and given moist but well-drained, acidic soil. They never like to dry out but don’t care for soggy conditions, either. Azaleas can “burn” from harsh chemical fertilizers, so feed with a gentle organic product like Bower & Branch Elements™ Fertilizer. Azalea lace bug can sometimes be an issue, but specimens grown in optimal conditions in most cases will remain healthy and resistant to attack. If pruning is necessary, trim your Girard’s Rose Azalea immediately after blooming, as next year’s flower buds are formed in summer.
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