The luminous, evergreen Rhododendron ‘Solidarity’ was hybridized by my friend, the late great plantsman, Hank Schannen. Several plants have flourished in my garden for over 20 years, despite Mother Nature’s relentless assaults. Given shade, well draining acid soil and adequate water, Solidarity has been disease free and has bloomed reliably every year. With dark pink buds that open to extra-large pink flowers that fade to white, the vigorous shrub is a sight to behold. Photo below.
Another May/June bloomer gracing my garden is Hank Schannen’s favorite Azalea, the dazzling Rhododendron ‘Ben Morrison’. Equally hardy and disease free, it’s a unique evergreen Azalea with bi-color flower buds as striking as its abundant flowers. Photos below.
A plant that does not perform with vigor, yet survived horrific icy winters and oppressively hot and droughty summers, Tree Peony, Paeonia ‘Yae Zakura’ (Host of Cherry Blossoms) is enchanting. I’m so besotted that if the plant only produces one or two exquisite, shell-pink flowers, I’d be content. Amend the planting soil with lime and or wood ash if your garden soil is acid. Photos below of Yae Zakura’s flower and colorful Fall foliage.
Finally, for both beauty and vigor, I recommend the award-winning herbaceous peony, Paeonia ‘Coral Charm’. Photos below.