2022 – Sweet azalea (Rhododendron arborescens)
The sweet azalea is a deciduous shrub that can grow up to 10 feet tall with a similar width. It thrives in acidic, well-draining soils and in part shade. There are two main forms of sweet azalea. What could be called the “straight species” blooms in late May to mid-June while the variety called “Georgiana” blooms mid-July to early August. Regardless of form, their flowers have a wonderful, strong fragrance that lives up to its name. The 2-inch-wide flowers can be white, sometimes tinged with pink, and very rarely pink. The leaves turn a lovely crimson/orange in the fall. This species makes an outstanding addition to any garden.