Girard's Rose Azalea
"When I'm quiet, that's when the truth emerges.
A clear sky, the clouds like white fibers.
Underneath, a little gray house. The azaleas
Red & bright pink."
Girard's Rose Azalea was bred by Peter E. Girard, Sr., of Girard Nurseries, Geneva, Ohio. Peter began breeding his azaleas in the 1940s. His nursery is still operated by his heirs.
'Girard Rose' blooms late April & early May, having single rose-pink blossoms. It prefers part to bright shade or morning sun only, as the flowers fade quickly in full sun, though if shade it too dark it will not bloom well.
It also needs to be sheltered from cold winter winds & will have leaf damage or behave increasingly like a deciduous shrub in too windy a location. It wants humusy, acidic, moisture retentive soil with regular irrigation, as it cannot abide droughtiness.
This small-leafed evergreen is sufficiently compact for hedging, although any shaping must be done immediately after flowering as buds for the following year's flowers would otherwise be removed.
The foliage is glossy dark green above, lighter green underneath, & turns bronzy red in winter. It can be grown in zones 5 through 8, but in zones 5 & 6 it will need its shallow root system mulched for winter.
In Zone 8, winters are sometimes not chilly enough to "shock" the shrub into changing color as nicely, so the excellence of its winter color will vary from year to year. It drops a percentage of its leaves each year so can look a bit thin at winter's end, but this too can vary between fully evergreen to semi-evergreen.
Upright but low growing, its average ten-year height is two or two & a half feet, with a width of three feet. It will not stop growing however & old five-foot tall specimens are frequently encountered. Some Girard azaleas behave almost like prostrate shrubs, spreading close to the ground, but 'Girard Pink' has upward-reaching branches & nearly always shows a bit of trunk.
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