Remember A is for April’s Azaleas but the Satsuki bloom in June. Satsuki azaleas refers to the fifth month of the old Japanese calendar, and many girls in my school are named Satsuki. Tsutsujis or Azaleas or Rhododendron spp. flower at the end of April and into May, and often beyond. There are many Japanese native species and hybrid groups.

 

People flock to the mountains to look at the blaze of color caused by the flowering azaleas. The satsukis flower later than most species of azaleas. I see them flowering a lot from late May to June. They last a long time.

DID YOU KNOW that the East Indies seafaring traders brought azaleas into Europe because the plants were spectacular and compact and thus easily carried. The Japanese R. indicum plants became known as the Belgian Indicas, because Japan was unknown and almost closed to traders, and “the Indies” was a vague term for areas unknown to European botanists.

Meanwhile, within closed ports, the Japanese gardeners were working hard at producing new and perfect varieties for bonsai gardens. The yama-tsutsuji  is an example of the dwarfed plants that were spectacular with their tightly packed flowers on leafless or almost leafless stems.

 

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