Field of Science

Only the tough (& hardy) survive

This has been a tough spring, following a winter with some very deep cold.  Since the Feb. thaw, the freezing weather with snow has just kept coming back.  It's been very tough on the narcissi that normal have no serious problems. Even the hellebores, which are so tough you think maybe they're made of old tires, are bowed over quite a bit.  So if something comes through all of that and still flowers, it qualifies as tough.  This is without question the toughest and hardiest of the Rhododendrons, R. mucronulatum, Korean azalea.  It isn't too fussy about soil either, so if you think you are too cold for an azalea, try this one.  This image was taken 48 hrs after a snowy mid-20s night.  They are quite early flowering and you never see them in garden shops or nurseries.  They can be gotten via mail order, and while that means small, they do grow pretty quickly, which is good because ours keep getting broken by jealous oaks or eaten by the bunnies (only down side, without protection, the bun-buns will eat them to the ground).  The flowers a very bright pink and these shrubs look great in the middle of a mixed border.  This is a TPP 2 thumbs up plant recommendation.  They are deciduous; the leaves in the background belong to another Rhododendron.

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