A Glenn Dale
"Youth's for an hour
Beauty's a flower."
'Youth,' a rarely offered hybrid azalea, has spread out sideways in growth a great deal since we planted it in 2000, without getting noticeably taller, so in 2003 it remained under two feet tall, but spread four feet wide.
It may someday reach a four foot height & a little wider, but is quite slow to gain height. Though not described in the literature as being even semi-prostrate, ours seems to be taking on a surprisingly prostrate appearance. One long side-reaching limb self-rooted in the soil, & I eventually severed it from the main plant & transplanted it separately in another garden.
We later added a couple other azaleas in its vicinity; the bloom periods overlap with its nearest neighboring shrubs Girard's Crimson, seen in the background of the photo immediately below, & a purple-leafed blue-flowered Oceanlake Azalea a little edge of which shows in the same May photo.
It's an evergreen with very pretty spreading structure & dense foliage. It blooms beginning late April & is finished in the third week of May.
It begins with fully colored buds which open into a great many soft lavender-pink flowers, with such wide-open flattened ruffly funnels they almost look like some kind of wild rose (in fact they closely resemble another Azalea cultivar called 'Rose Bud'). When no longer in bloom it is still a most lovely summer shrub, as pictured on the Rhododendron Foliage page. A percentage of its autumn & winter foliage ranges from bright yellow to bronzy burgundy mixed with the unchanging green (see the 'Youth' Page of the Autumn Leaves Azalea Gallery).
'Youth' is a Glenn Dale hybrid, a famous group of azaleas developed by Benjamin Yoe Morrison, perhaps the leading azalea authority in America during the first half of the 20th Century.
Morrison was also a noted landscape painter & botanical artist & composer. He was one of the founders of the American Horticultural Society & became the first director of the United States National Arboretum.
The oldest sections of the National Arboretum are the Historic Glenn Dale Azalea Hillside on the southern slope of Mount Hamilton, & the walled-in Memorial Benjamin Y. Morrison Garden, devoted to his beloved azaleas.
Benjamin Morrison's goal was to produce shrubs with increased cold hardiness & lavish flowers. His legacy lives on & on in new hybrids developed from his plants, & lives in the yards of regular everyday gardeners such as ourselves.
For more photographs of this shrub, go to the:
'Youth' Page of the Rhododendron Gallery
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