Tour An Illinois Woodland Garden
Wide-ranging azalea collection
Barbara bought her first azaleas at a convention eight years ago. Those 54 plants led to a wide-ranging collection now nearing 1,000. For hardiness, she suggests Northern Light hybrids in an array of colors. Their fragrance is akin to the best of the spicy viburnums, she says.
Her top tip for azaleas: "For success with azaleas, provide good drainage in humus-rich soil made acidic with pine bark." She grows considerably fewer large-leaf rhododendrons. They need more careful siting because they tend to suffer in cold, harsh winds. But she adores "the Yaks" (R. yakushimanum). "Their flowers look like cotton candy," she says, "and their foliage is like velvet."
Pictured: Painterly waves of trillium, native geraniums, bleeding heart, phlox, merrybells and bluebells surround azalea varieties.