R. bakeri var. 'Alhambra'
G. David Lewis, Colts Neck, N.J.
Photo by G. D. Lewis
R. bakeri is native to the higher regions of the Cumberland Plateau from Kentucky to Georgia and Alabama. This beautiful species blooms in mid to late June two to four weeks after R. calendulaceum . 'Alhambra' is a selected form named by the late Warren Baldsiefen. His catalog states that he obtained the original plant from Joseph Gable who selected it for its exceptional color. R. bakeri is less vigorous than many of the American native species making it especially desirable as a garden plant. It appears to be perfectly hardy in central New Jersey and is resistant to heat, drought and the powdery mildew disease which plagues many of our deciduous azaleas. The flowers of 'Alhambra' are a brilliant orange red blazing in the garden well after most other rhododendrons have finished blooming. This clone is clearly a superior representative of the species and deserves widespread distribution.