Lecture: Hybridizing Evergreen Azaleas

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The Valley Forge Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society invites you to join them for a series of informative lectures at Jenkins Arboretum & Gardens in Devon. All lectures are free of charge and no pre-registration is required. The first lecture of the winter season will be HYBRIDIZING EVERGREEN AZALEAS presented by Joseph Klimavicz, Azalea Hybridizer.

Joe Klimavicz, with the help of his daughters, has been developing some exciting new hybrid evergreen azaleas. Some are named and registered, and others are numbered selections that will likely be named in the future. Joe Klimavicz has been an avid hybridizer of fine evergreen azaleas since the late 1980s. He carries out his active program in the backyard of his one-third acre home in Vienna, Virginia. This garden is an example of highly intensive cultivation. Each year, Joe makes five to ten crosses and raises 500-1000 new hybrids that he moves out of his basement and into his cold frames for the growing season. He raises most of his plants in a one-gallon size, but admits that he eventually throws 99% of them away, saving only the very best of each cross for further evaluation and breeding, or perhaps a prestigious spot in his garden. The Klimavicz hybridization program is aimed at developing sturdier varieties that rae better able to survive neglect. Specific hybridization objectives include a plant that is hardy, vigorous, disease and insect resistant, floriferous and has a flower that is long lasting and bright in color. Joe's three daughters also do their own azalea hybridizing.


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