Several Encore azaleas are late in flowering this spring, though this is not too unusual. The repeat blooming cycle of Encores is often disrupted by weather in more northern cold hardiness zones to veer flowering times a few weeks early or late, and occasionally a season of flowering is skipped over. I have planted Encores best suited to this borderline zone 7/6b garden, and most flower dependably, though not always on schedule.
The best of these, to my thinking, is Encore Autumn Twist, which I had the pleasure of planting a few seasons before it was introduced. Early on, this azalea planted in dry shade was a disappointment with few blooms, but then it hit its stride, and for more years than I can recall it has flowered heavily. And almost always, twice a year.
The most remarkable thing about Twist was recently demonstrated to my wife. Flowers of Twist can be a variegated mix of light pink with varied amounts of purple striping, or flowers can be fully purple. But, all flowers on a branch are either variegated or purple.
Seeing the large Twist a few days ago in this very congested garden, my wife expected that the light and dark blooms were from separate plants, grown together, but I showed her one branch leading to the lighter color and the next to the purple.
After several years with few scattered blooms, a yellow Exbury azalea (above) outside the kitchen window is finally substantiating its planting in this shaded area. With a tall ‘Maresii’ viburnum, that was in flower until several days ago, as a backdrop, the fragrant and brightly colored azalea is the perfect welcome when the shades are lifted in the morning.