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Brighten up your garden with colour; BestOfTheBunch.

AZALEA THESE acid-loving shrubs, which burst with colour in late spring and early summer, are a must if you want to brighten up dull corners - and they also look fantastic as stand-alone specimens in tubs.

Azaleas, which are generally smaller, daintier versions of rhododendrons, can be either deciduous or evergreen. I love the evergreen varieties which are low and spreading, producing sheets of flowers in May.

They work wonderfully in pots and many are hardy enough to cope with frost pockets, although you have to choose carefully.

Good varieties include Rhododendron 'Blue Danube', a compact, neat evergreen azalea which bears masses of mauve flowers, is extremely hardy and ideally placed in light shade.

Another pretty specimen, which is not as robust and will need a sheltered spot, is R. 'Gumpo White', which grows to around one metre (three feet).

If you want some bigger types, try deciduous azaleas, which can flower as prolifically as their evergreen relatives but also have fantastic foliage colour in autumn..
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:May 27, 2009
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