I have lived most of my life in Mississippi, and nothing spells spring in the South more than azaleas. The problem with the old azaleas, however, is that they are not evergreens and their annual bloom time is very brief. The rest of the time, the old traditional azaleas are either a mound of nonexpressive green leaves or worse, they are become nothing more than brown stems in winter.
Encore Azaleas Are Better Than the Traditional Spring-Only Shrubs
Yesterday [the end of Octoaber], I happened upon a clearance sale at my local garden center [Correll Familly Gardens in Harrison, AR], and the place was a kaleidoscope of blooming Encore Azaleas. The end of October is typically the time of year in the Ozarks when not mudh is blooming, and most of nature has already tucked herself in for a long, winter’s nap. Certainly, the trees are still parading about in their autumn gownsat the end of October, but otherwise, this is a time when most of us realize that within days, even the hardwood trees will become masses of bare branches.
As it turns out, I am currently creating an entirely new landscape out at the farm where I am building an art studio and apartment. The building that I am updating is a rather plain white, and nothing but crabgrass is growing among the rocks there now. Creating a new garden in the Ozarks is usually a daunting task. In most Ozark areas, like my new garden space, the ground is 99% filled with unyielding rocks. Digging a hole to place a new plant is almost impossible in most of the Ozarks. Therefore, I am creating my new garden areas in raised beds that I am filling with imported soil.
Encore Azaleas Are Evergreen [or Ever-Reddish-Burgundy Green]
During the summer, I love my climbing roses, and I immediately transplanted several of my climbers to stretch themselves upward and along my studio’s walls. But after I moved my roses, they immediately shut down for winter, and they looked more like spectres haunting my sttuio building than like flowers. I had already determined that I was in sore need of something that would bring some sort of color to my new landscape all year long. When I saw the blooming encore azaleas, I realized that I had found the perfect plants–especially for my new stuio’s landscape.
Encoure Azaleas bloom 3 times per year, and they produce mounds of blossoms during those 3 blooming periods. During the winter, the bushes do not bloom, but because they retain their burgundy red leaves all year, they continue to add color to their garden areas. Especially against my white building, I need at least some color all year long.
Encore Azalaeas Bloom in Several Colors
Encore Azalea Autumn Empress
Autumn Empress is an almost brazen pink. The operative word in the former sentence is “almost.” Empress is a gal that shouts in the garden, but she does not scream. She is just loud enough to make her garden area sing. Empress only reaches a height of 4′ and a width of 3′ and it will also fit in a small and intimate garden spot.
Empress is heat tolerant, disease resistant, and it thrives in full sun.
Encore Azalea Autumn Twist
Autumn Twist is my favorite Encore Azalea. its base color is a soft, light pink, but it is striped with the darker and brighter pink of Empressp. Autumn Twist is a bit larger than Empress. She will grow to a height up to 5′ and a width up to 4′ Autumn Twist is the fastest growing of the Encore Azaleas.
Encore Azalea Autumn Lily
The white encore Autumn Lily is the the perfect whisper to soften the louder Empress. Lily is also a bit larger than Empress. She will also grow to a height up to 5′ and a width up to 4′
Encore Azalea Autumn Fire
Fire is smaller than either of the above varieties. It only grows to a height of 2.5′ and a width of 3′.
Check here see a gallery and a discussion of all of the Encore Azaleas,
All of the Encore Azaleas like full sun, all of them have 3 blooming periods, and all of them are evergreens.