Roger Coggeshall selected this plant out of a shipment of seedling Azalea kaempheri purchased from Kogut Nursery, Meriden, Connecticut in the early 70’s. The plant was selected for its vivid red bloom and shiny foliage. We were looking for a hardy, upright-growing, red Azalea. This one is a very showy, fire truck red.
The original plant at Syringa Plus is now 5 ½ feet tall by 4 feet wide. Its Fall foliage is a deep reddish-bronze and persists well into the Winter. This plant has proven reliably hardy. It has never shown any winter injury.
Rhododendron maximum ‘Independence’
‘Narcissiflora’ is a Ghent hybrid Azalea, originated by Louis Van Houtte of Belgium, before 1871. It displays double yellow flowers that are very showy (1 ¾” in size) and are extremely fragrant. Blooms mid to late season (late May in West Newbury, Massachusetts). It is a tall, upright shrub up to 6’-8’ high and 6’ wide that broadens with age.
Our original stock plant was brought from the Arnold Arboretum to Cherry Hill Nurseries in 1958. Propagated by softwood cuttings, this cultivar has proven to be a favorite for many years. Cutting-grown plants are very vigorous, easily producing flowers in three seasons.
Among those customers was Summer Hill Nurseries in Connecticut. Mike Johnson, the owner, grew it for years in his arboretum. He had so many inquiries about this plant that he asked Roger if he could name it. Roger said yes and he named it ‘Independence,’ as it is still in bloom on July 4th.