By Tim Bartholomew
Raise the Roof
When I was thinking about a plant to write about for the month of March, my thoughts turned to Basketball and March Madness. This brought my thoughts to the “Raise the Roof” series of Rhododendrons that originated with the same theme. This series was introduced by the University of Connecticut in the late 1990’s a little after the University celebrated NCAA championships for both the men’s and women’s team. This collection sports names as “Buzzer Beater”, “Hoopla”, “Huskymania”, “March Madness”, “Slam Dunk”, and “Tip Off”.
These are dependable cold-hardy rhododendrons with improved growth habits, improved colors, and greater disease resistance. The buds are also cold hardy. All are hardy to USDA Zone 4 and are generally medium size, meaning 5-7 feet tall, except Slam Dunk which reaches about 4 to 6 feet.
Here at Pahl’s Market we have carried Slam Dunk for several years. Trusses of frilly, wine-burgundy flowers with a dark blotch is an attractive accent in the landscape. New to our tree and shrub lot this year will be Hoopla and the newest in the series Buzzer Beater. Hoopla with trusses of pink flowers surrounding a yellow throat, will provide for a spectacular display. Buzzer Beater boasts pale yellow flowers. This series has large wavy green foliage with a semi-glossy sheen.
Enjoy these new varieties as they arrive this spring. Adding these to as well as over 100 other new varieties of trees and shrubs should hold something for everyone.