Evergreen Azalea

"Amy looped her fleecy skirts with rosy clusters of azalea, & framed the white shoulders in delicate green vines. Remembering the painted boots, she surveyed her white satin slippers with girlish satisfaction, & chassed down the room, admiring her aristocratic feet all by herself."

-Little Women
by Louisa May Alcott


The Gable hybrid azalea 'Rosebud' is a vibrant shell-pink double. It is widely regarded as the best pink rose-form full double azalea.

RosebudThe usual double & hose-in-hose azaleas look like flowers inside flowers, but this one's so curly & thickly petaled it really does look much more like a tea-rose than an azalea. When the buds are only about half opened they look like perfect rosebuds.

It can usually be counted on for six weeks of flowers, in fullest bloom for May, lasting into early June. In some years, a few blooms open prematurely for a very slight April flowering before it really gets going & completely hides its leaves & branches under dense flowering.

The ten-year height of this semi-dwarf will be anywhere from two to four feet, with spread considerably wider than tall. It is low-growing, small-leafed (inch or inch & a half leaves), & extremely hardy. It does well in full sun, though the flowers would last a bit longer in brightest shade or dappled sunlight.

RosebudJoseph Gable's far-reaching achievement developing many cold-hardy very flowerful azaleas in Stewartstown, Pennsylvania, is all the more remarkable because he pursued his hybrid programs to great extent as a devoted hobbyist, & was never a full-time nurseryman.

For an additional sampling of his creations, see the pages for 'Stewartstonian' & 'Purple Splendor.' For another superior roseform azalea, see also Kehr's 'White Rosebud.'

Joe developed the popular standard 'Rosebud' from Kurume azaleas. Kurumes originated as hybrids of R. kiusianum & R. kaempferi from the mountains of the island of Kyushu in Japan. His breeding increased shrub hardiness for 'Rosebud' & many other cultivars primarily with use of the Korean azalea, R. yedoense var poukhanense.

The two cultivars from which 'Rosebud' arose were 'Louise Gable' & 'Caroline Gable,' both of which were hybrids of poukhanense & kaempferi. 'Rosebud' has been further used in breeding programs, but no newer cultivar with rose-form blossoms has ever displaced this original from public admiration.

The 'Rosebud' shown here is in a sunny location among several other low-growing evergreen azaleas including Girard varieties which are descended from Joseph Gables' creations.


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