Hurrah, it’s March! Spring is but a shiver away.
Since I first wrote about ‘Marshy Point’s Humdinger’ in November 2011, this can-do, glowing, double pink, evergreen azalea has flowered reliably and prodigiously every spring and fall. It’s a fabulous, hardy, blooming machine. (Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the Encore Series repeat-blooming azaleas I’ve tried. Yet I’m hoping for better luck with my current Encore, ‘Autumn Embers’. I’ll let you know.)
Humdinger is not a fussy or demanding garden diva, but like other evergreen azaleas it does insist on a few culture essentials:
Plant in acid soil, in an area with high, open shade protected from exposure to strong winds. The soil should be well-drained and abundant in organic matter such as leaf mold, compost or shredded pine bark. Organic matter improves aeration, increases the soil’s water-holding capacity, reduces leaching of soil nutrients and promotes beneficial mycorrhizae. Moreover, in my garden, beneficial soil-enriching earthworms are especially abundant in areas with pine bark mulch.
Before planting, any tightly bound root mass must be loosened by cutting from top to bottom around the circumference of the root ball. Failure to do so often results in a dead plant. So don’t be timid, you won’t hurt the azalea. Humdinger will thank you.
Comprehensive information about azaleas can be found in the ne plus ultra reference, Fred C. Galle’s Azaleas (Timber Press, 1987). For a more recent reference, see Kenneth Cox’s Rhododendrons & Azaleas: A Colour Guide (The Crowood Press Ltd, 2005).
I bought my Azalea ‘Marshy Point’s Humdinger’ (Zones 6-9) from RareFind Nursery. To easily access their 2013 online catalog click onto my blog link. (For my previous post on Humdinger, see: Archives, November 2011, “The Real Dirt: Try It You’ll Like It”.)