Powell Gardens is a place for learning and reflection and it is with a mix of deep sadness that we announce that Andy Klapis, the longtime Raytown educator and nurseryman has passed away a month short of his 90th birthday. Andy was the donor of the original collection of azaleas that grace the Rock & Waterfall Garden. These masses of springtime color have brought much joy to our visitors and make May 1 an annual pilgrimage to that garden. So here’s a reflection of 6 of the 7 varieties of azaleas he provided in masses for that garden: may we remember Andy each spring with their glorious bloom.
Andy’s selection of a pink Glenn Dale azalea that was a reliable performer in our climate. This is probably my favorite azalea of all and not available in the nursery trade anymore.
Here’s Andy’s favorite double pink cultivar Azalea ‘Lorna’ which blooms very late in the season.
This exquisite white azalea is another unknown white Glenn Dale azalea that performed well for Andy’s old Raytown Nursery. I know of no other white azalea so beautiful and this is also not available in the nursery trade anymore.
Vivacious Azalea ‘Herbert’ topped his “good doer” list and may be one of the most reliable azaleas for Greater Kansas City. It is still available at area nurseries.
The beautiful fragrant lavender blooms of the Korean Azalea (Rhododendron yedoense var. poukhanense) were also of his donation. This azalea also remains very popular and available. Unfortunately I have no image of his very favorite azalea which is the double form of this azalea: the Yodogawa Azalea (Rhododendron yedoense). I will be sure to capture its image next spring and remember Andy and his knowledge and generosity of plants when the azaleas shine with bloom in the Rock & Waterfall Garden next spring.