Franklin H. West, M.D., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
AZALEAS, by Fred C. Galle
Oxmoor House, Inc., Box 2463, Birmingham, Ala. 35202
$6.95 hardback with 24 pages of color; $1.95 full text without color.
Anyone from Texas to Maryland who loves azaleas should have this fine book, which covers all the essential information any enthusiast might need in selecting and growing these plants. Although Fred Galle has addressed his text to the Southern gardener, there is much of value for azalea buffs everywhere. It is well worth the extra price of the hardback edition just to get the definitive color pictures of native species that accompany the author's lucid text on this often tangled subject.
In addition to discussing landscaping, planting and care of azaleas, propagation, diseases and pests, this book also covers subjects of more special interest, such as forcing techniques, growing azaleas as espaliers, topiaries, bonsai, and in hanging baskets. There is a complete discussion of companion plants for azaleas, and a good traveler's guide to Southern azalea gardens.
The hobbyist will find a rich treasure of information about the better evergreen azalea varieties, selected by color and season of bloom for each hardiness zone from 6b to 9b. The lists of deciduous species and hybrids and of rhododendrons suited for the South are relatively brief and should challenge many breeders to develop more hybrids for the South. The rhododendron information is tabulated according to each variety's adaptability to altitude and sun exposure.
With these variety lists in hand, the reader has a fine buyer's guide to assist him in making the best selections when visiting local nurseries. Although the book lacks a reference list of azaleas and rhododendron nurseries to refer to for the hard to find sorts, the reader is encouraged to turn to the American Rhododendron Society for this information.
Fred Galle's book reflects his mastery of the subject in its clarity and authoritativeness, derived in part from his many years of work as horticultural director of Callaway Gardens, Ga. His love of these plants is especially shown in the exceptional beauty of the color photographs he has chosen for this book.