JARS v57n2 - Rhododendron of the Year Awards, 2003

Rhododendron of the Year Awards, 2003
Laura Kentala
Plant Awards Committee, Chair
Kirkland, Washington

The ARS Plant Awards Committee has selected the Rhododendron of the Year awards for 2003. Because of climate differences, the committee selected plants for six regions: Northeastern, Mid Atlantic, Southeastern, Midwestern, Northwestern and Southwestern. The Swisher Award is given to a vireya rhododendron.

The first criterion was that the plant perform well in the region, even for a novice. the plant had to exhibit good form, foliage and flowrs, to prove itself cold and heat hardy for the region, and to show resistance to pests and diseases. In addition, the plant had to be available in the nursery trade.

In this issue the choices for the Northeastern and Mid Atlantic regions are shown. The Journal welcomes photos of upcoming Rhododendron of the Year plants.

* Name is not registered.


R. 'English Roseum' R. 'Olga Mezitt'
Elepidote: 'English Roseum' (syn. 'Roseum Pink'). This tall hybrid is tolerant
of extremes in cold, heat, and humidity. Leaves are small and
glossy and slightly rolled. Flowers are soft rosy lavender.
Photo by Harold Greer
Lepidote: 'Olga Mezitt'. Leaves are mahogany in the winter and bright, light green
in the summer. They are just part of what makes this plant appealing. Small, tight balls
of clear pink cover every terminal of this plant during bloom.
Photo by Harold Greer
R. 'Hardy Gardenia'* R. 'Homebush'
Evergreen Azalea: 'Hardy Gardenia'*. White flower is a hose-in-hose double.
Bush stays low but gets wider with age. Very airy.
Photo by Harold Greer
Deciduous Azalea: 'Homebush'. Medium size bush with nice fall color foliage. Bright
pink flowers are semi double and are held in tight balls. Bloom is mid to late-mid in season.
Photo by Harold Greer


R. 'Solidarity' R. 'Windbeam'
Elepidote: 'Solidarity'. This hardy hybrid starts out with red buds that change to pink
and then almost white. Bush is large with outstanding foliage.
Photo by Harold Greer
Lepidote: 'Windbeam'. Very hardy apricot-pink colored flower change
to light pink. Leaves are elliptic.
Photo by Harold Greer
R. 'Blaauw's Pink' R. 'Cecile'
Evergreen Azalea: 'Blaauw's Pink'. Flower is strong pink with darker blotch, hose-in-hose.
Photo by Harold Greer
Deciduous Azalea: 'Cecile'. This medium bush with foliage has wonderful fall color.
The flower is vivid red with a blotch that is vivid orange-yellow.
Photo by Harold Greer