Plant of the month: January
The common name for the deciduous Rhododendron species is azalea. They represent a number of sections in the genus Rhododendron, whose distinguishing feature is loss of leaves in the autumn, usually accompanied by good autumn colour and spectacular displays of flowers on bare stems or alongside newly emerging leaves in the spring. Our azaleas are concentrated at the foot of the garden in the Azalea Walk. The flowers come in a kaleidoscope of colours from deep red to the palest of pinks and pure whites. Some cultivars and species also emit a sweet fragrance making their all too brief flowering one of the highlights of the gardening year. They need acidic soils to do well and prefer some moisture and are ideally placed under light overhead cover from trees.