azalea

Beginning in 1935, Mr. B. Y. Morrison, horticulturalist, plant breeder, and Director of the National Arboretum, began hybridizing azaleas at the Plant Introduction Station in Glenn Dale, Maryland. By 1952, over 400 hybrids had been introduced. The goal of Mr. Morrison's work was three-fold. First, he wanted to develop plants with profuse, huge, and varied blooms. Second, he wanted to develop plants that were cold-hardy. Third, he wanted evergreen azaleas that would bloom from mid-April to mid-June. The resulting collection of azaleas, known as Glenn Dale Hybrids, are a spectacularly varied collection well represented at Annmarie Garden. These hybrids were first planted at the Garden in 1997, and since then over 500 shrubs have been planted by young volunteer gardeners.

 

The Glenn Dales at Annmarie Garden are cold-hardy for Maryland winters. Their habit ranges from the dwarf 3-foot variety to large 8-foot shrubs. Bloom size ranges from 1.5 inches to 4.5 inches. Bloom colors include white through pink, with reds and purples. Added visual interest is achieved with complimentary and contrasting deeper colors as well as stripes, flecks, variegated argins and throats. Some plants may even sport renegade branches with distinctly different colors and patterns. Because bloom times vary depending on the weather, and from plant to plant, there is an explosion of color from April through June in a good year.