May 31, 2007


Karen is the shrub on the right of the entrance

Close Up of What's Left of Karen's Blooms

Just missed the show by a week

I was a week late in visiting a client's garden in Evanston and missed the show of my favorite azalea 'Karen' , the focal point of her front entrance.

A Gable hybrid, Karen blooms around the middle of May in the Chicagoland area and is hardy to zone 4. Observe it's arching habit. The 'Karen' above is mature at 4 x 4 feet. It is absolutely breath-taking when in bloom.

Like myself. Robin over at Robins Nesting Place has a passion for Azaleas because they are so prolific in our home state Alabama. Folks in Chicago tell me that they have trouble growing Azaleas and Rhododendrons and that's when I tell them to try those like Karen which are hardy to Zone 4.

Robin, here's the azalea of your dreams ! You must get a Karen.


  1. I'm in zone 5. How I would love an azalea like that. We have hardy azaleas but I just can't keep them, although others do. And I certainly have never seen anything like Karen.

  2. Okay, Zone Fiver, you can have one. The trick is location and planting. Azaleas seem to like a north or northeast exposure with morning sun and lighter afternoon shade. And when planting them, mix in a lot of organic matter such as compost and an acid soil conditioner such as Black Forest.

    Karen is, I must say, the most spectacular Azalea I've ever seen in bloom.


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