Sunday, March 7, 2010

Flames in the Woods: Native Azaleas of the Coastal Plain

In the coming weeks in woods and gardens in the deep south, native azaleas will begin another season of bloom. So that I don't keep showing you yet another view of the hyacinths and daffodils that have opened in my garden, here's the first of 3 presentations of these lovely shrubs in the rhododendron family.


The oranges and flames of native azaleas are exciting. These are from the collection of Mr. Aaron Varnadoe, now part of the landscape of the Jones Ecological Center at Ichauway Plantation. Mr. Varnadoe devoted much of his life to hybridizing the native azaleas of the woods in Southwest Georgia, using the rootability of R. austrinum, found only in South Alabama, South Georgia and the Florida Panhandle, which he crossed with R. Canesens and later R. Flammeum to develop heat resistant cultivars.





The pics above are from my visit to Ichauway in 2006.
Below are more from Open House in 2009.




Some were almost finished blooming, some were still in bud,
yet to bloom when we were there in April last year.
They'll begin blooming soon this month.

Other native plants that Ms. Lillian and I saw are Here

22 comments:

  1. Nothing beats the beauty of the southern azalea in its woodland habitat - ethereal gorgeousness!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dear NellJean, What an amazing selection of colours and all looking so wonderful in that woodland environment. It gives a whole new meaning to 'a walk in the wood'.

    I assume the soil is on the acidic side for the Azaleas to thrive and flower so well.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Nell - lovely colors!

    I was just reviewing my photos of the native azaleas last spring in Duke Gardens so that I could see what date to return for the show.

    Can you believe it was as late as April 26? That's still a long time off for us up here.

    Cameron

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love azaleas. They're one of my very favourite shrubs...I had never laid eyes on one before 4 years ago. And now I wish I had a whole forest of them. Unfortunately, my yard is all hot sunshine, barely any shade. So I only have 2. :) The native azaleas are so beautiful...they look like they're on fire!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Love the colors of these Azaleas Nell Jean! I always miss the show in Atlanta later on this month... the wooded area is so perfect for the Azaleas though. Lovely!! ;>)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Wonderful color. We have two azaleas which always seem on the edge. jim

    ReplyDelete
  7. I would love to go for a walk through your woods. The soil here is very alkaline, otherwise I would love to try these.

    ReplyDelete
  8. What beauties. I love seeing the blooms of azaleas and rhododendron in the states south of us where they are native grown. How wonderful to see the hills and woods full of blooms.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Oh, I love these azaleas! I'm always thrilled when I see one of the flaming bushes in a forest of Georgia or the Carolinas.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I've just been to Savannah, Charleston, and St. Augustine, NellJean, and was surprised to see the azaleas in bloom. Back here on the west coast, mine are still in tight buds. Thanks for sharing these wonderful colors!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Nell Jean, since Blotanical is still on the fritz for you, I'll just have to use the old fashin method and stop by daily and leave a message in you comment box. Oh, and our azaleas are still under snow. Maybe by the end of March. jim

    ReplyDelete
  12. I planted a number of native azaleas several years ago, only to have them perish shortly afterwards in the drought of 2007. I am trying again. I have only two this time, and they are both full of buds. I hope their roots can become well established before we have that kind of extreme weather again. They are beautiful and have a wonderful smell.

    I like your Buffy!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Very lovely flowers. They are very hot & explosive looking!

    ReplyDelete
  14. It's hard to beat the natives for color and then some of them have the best fragrance~ Your photos are beautiful and make me want to keep trying these acid loving beauties in my pretty neutral refuses to budge soil! Gail

    ReplyDelete
  15. My wife loves azaleas so I buy her a couple of 'annuals' each year. They just can't handle our cold winters

    ReplyDelete
  16. Wow! I'd so love to grow our native Western Azalea here but so far no luck. Time to try again!

    ReplyDelete
  17. The Pink Azaleas are next. They were Mr. Varnadoe's favorite and I think mine too, except I love them all.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Those azaleas are gorgeous. I have R. austrinum in my garden. There was a wild Flame Azalea on my husband's grandparents' farm and DH told me it was beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  19. My name is John Trawick II, Ruth Varnadoe Trawick's oldest son. Aaron Varnadoe was my grandfather. I just wanted to let you all know how special it is to see others in this world enjoying his legacy. Unlike many others, he was not in it for the money. He was in it for the science. This blog filled with many of you who love Azaleas would put a big south Georgia smile on his face. I am not trying to throw a kink in your blog, I just want to let you all know how much I, and "PaPa" appreciate you all!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thanks, John. It was my pleasure to post these beautiful plants. Your uncle and his able helper Susie keep the legacy at Ichauway a place of great beauty.

    I once visited a small azalea nursery near Stone Mountain. The man who owned it spoke highly of Mr. Varnadoe when he learned that I knew who he was. Mr. Aaron had led the man on searches for plants some forty years ago. We don't see native azaleas everywhere in the woods any more, but they live on in private gardens and the hybrids add to the beauty.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Nell,
    I am from Ireland
    and have to say I loved your photos.
    The colours are stunning

    Thanks,
    Aanee xxx
    Flowers Letterkenny

    ReplyDelete

I look forward to comments and questions and lively discussion of gardening and related ideas.



Google+ Followers