I planted ‘Fashion Plate’ in 2016 as a 1-gallon from RareFind Nursery. After its first winter, I realized that the buds weren’t reliably winter hardy in our zone 6a. I didn’t want to get rid of it, however, because the plant itself is quite nice as an evergreen even when not in flower. So I decided to move it to a very inconspicuous corner of the house with a northeastern exposure, right next to the boiler room, which perhaps gives it additional protection in winter. In any case, we had a very mild winter this year and the plant was completely covered this spring in those gorgeous, soft yellow blooms. The blooms are quite large, almost tropical looking, and stay clean and attractive for a long time, unlike my Rhododendron ‘Mario Pagliarini,’ whose blooms get spotted about a day after opening.
My plant is currently about 3ft x 3ft and has a nice uniform, dense habit with clean, healthy foliage that looks great all year. The leaves only droop on the coldest winter days. This year, my plant started blooming on May 7 and the flowers are now just finishing at the end of May.