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Rhododendron 'Golden Showers'
 
Fred Knippel
Acton, MA

In this issue of THE ROSEBAY, I am going to introduce you to the summer-flowering deciduous azalea 'Golden Showers'. All too often people tend to gravitate to the evergreen elepidotes which, for the most part, all bloom about the same time, mostly from the end of May to early June, with a few exceptions. I have many of these same plants and who wouldn't? However, I also have about the same number of deciduous azalea varieties that bloom, following the elepidotes, until the end of July continuing into early August.

'Golden Showers'
Golden Showers

These plants particularly appeal to me because they bloom singly and, thus, enable me to pay them the individual attention they deserve. They are all distinctive and different, each to be enjoyed for its variety of plant habit, color of bloom, foliage and, in many cases, fragrance. I particularly like the summer-flowering azaleas. They do their thing without much competition from the rest of the Ericaceae family.

'Golden Showers', hybridized by Weston Nurseries, is one of my very favorites. Some years ago I obtained some cuttings of this plant and, as is all too common, the plant markers disappeared. When they first bloomed a couple of years later, I was mystified as to what they were. The buds were peachy as were the first flowers and neither looked like anything I had seen previously. Big mystery! Then the open flowers changed to yellow and then to white. At that point I was able to identify the plants as 'Golden Showers'.

I was very taken by the transition of color seen on the same plants, a progression that lasted for several weeks. In full sun 'Golden Showers' grows for me into a bushy and very floriferous plant with nice glossy green foliage which turns to a very attractive bronze before dropping in the fall. The flowers have a subtle vanilla fragrance that adds to their desirability. Like most of its cousins, 'Golden Showers' can be managed nicely by careful pruning. With a University of Minnesota rating of -24°F, the plant can be grown in even the coldest parts of New England. If you are fortunate enough to be able to drop into Weston Nurseries during the summer, you will see this lovely plant in person, along with many of their other beautiful summer-flowering azaleas.


Previous Article Rosebay Index Next Article The Rosebay Volume XXVI Spring 1999 official journal of the American Rhododendron Society Massachusetts Chapter