Last year, I added some new shrubs to the garden. I don’t have a lot of experience with shrubs, and as I was perusing the selection at local nurseries, I noticed a little azalea called ‘Golden Lights’. The tag assured the reader that the shrub was hardy and I decided to give it a try, though I associate azaleas with the south.
When I got home, I learned through a bit of internet research that the ‘Northern Lights’ series are cold-hardy azaleas developed by the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. The program developed its first commercially available seedlings in 1978. ‘Golden Lights’ was introduced in 1986.
Azaleas are a subgenera of rhododendrons. They enjoy acidic soil and can tolerate some shade. ‘Golden Lights’ grows to 6 feet and in addition to spring flowers, offers bright fall foliage.
I had modest expectations for ‘Golden Lights’ and was pleased to see that it survived the winter. Then I watched with growing excitement as it began to produce buds and finally flowers. Wow, what a stunner! Every time I walk down to look at my little bush, about 2 feet tall and covered with flowers, little bubbles of laughter float up through me like bubbles in an Aero bar.
Now I’ll be on the lookout for other ‘Northern Lights’ azaleas at local nurseries.