This past week, many of us watched one of the most famous major championships in professional golf. Live from the iconic golf course located in Augusta Georgia. Accolades go to the champion along with his green jacket, but the real winner of the tournament is Mother Nature and her green thumb. Mother Nature with her azaleas, rhododendron, and dogwood lining the course in full spring splendor. Every green and fairway beautifully carved from the Georgian hill country designed to add color and texture to a stunning backdrop. If you’ve never watched, it’s worth it just for its beauty and elegance.
Often underappreciated, azaleas will make your backyard a masterpiece in brilliant colors. Spring flowering, azaleas are shade-loving evergreen shrubs that will do well in many Kansas City landscapes. Best as foundation plantings on the north or east sides of the home or under any shade canopy.
Best performing azaleas varieties for Kansas City include the Karen, Hot Shot and Hino-Crimson. These compact evergreen azaleas will reach a mature height of 3-4 feet under ideal conditions. Hino-Crimson is a smaller bright red variety that is always popular.
Many new reblooming varieties of azaleas have been popular in the last few years. Red Magnificence and Coral Amazement ReBloom™ are establishing themselves as one of the most outstanding rebloomers. Double flowers blooming in spring, with sporadic summer flowers and then a massive reblooming in early fall.
Best performing rhododendron varieties include the PJM, Ramapo and Roseum Elegans . The PJM rhododendron is a smaller leafed variety that shows a purple flower in the spring and deep mahogany-purple leaf color through the winter months. The PJM has smaller blossoms, lower growth profile and is extremely winter hardy.
Treat them right: Just like Uncle, azaleas and rhododendrons are acid lovers. Azaleas and rhododendron prefer well-drained soil. When planting, amend your soil with Max Mix, a blended natural compost to improve drainage and acidity in the soil. In areas, with poor drainage, a raised bed may be needed. Mulch with pine bark mulch, a naturally acidic mulch. Fertilize with Uncle’s Green Love, organic fertilizer, to give them the iron they need. Keep a soil test kit handy to check your soil’s acidity, and with a little extra effort up front, you can bring color and class to your shady spot.