The azaleas are in full peak bloom. These are not the evergreen exotics from Asia, however. These are natives and hybrids from those natives that flourish in the southeastern United States, where we live. The collection is a mix of species and named hybrids including three Aromis, one Confederate, several Lights and some of the older English Knap Hills (Exburys). The Knap Hill group was originated in England with Anthony Waterer about 1870. This group was further developed by Knap Hill Nursery (Waterer), Goldsworth old Nursery (Slocock), and Exbury (Rothschild), from which the name Exbury was incorporated. These azaleas are hybrids of R. molle, R. calendulaceum, R. occidentale, and R. arborescens.
In the United States there have been wonderful crosses made in the effort to distill winter hardiness of the flower buds by the folks in Minnesota. The Northern Lights Series of azaleas is a series of hybrid azaleas being developed and released by the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Any azalea released and included in this series will have flower bud hardiness of -30 degrees to -45 degrees F to withstand Minnesota winters. As the azalea breeding program continues, new selections will become available and will be denoted by a cultivar name that includes the name “Lights”.
The Confederate Series of deciduous azaleas was introduced by Dodd & Dodd Nurseries, Semmes, Alabama. An excellent large-flowered Exbury Azalea was crossed with the heat-tolerant, native Florida Azalea, R. austrinum, and the results are large-flowered, fragrant, heat tolerant cultivars. The Aromi azalea hybrids were created in Mobile, Alabama by Dr. Gene Aromi, a retired education professor at the University of Southern Alabama, and his wife Jane, a retired elementary school teacher. In 1971 they began hybridizing Exbury azaleas with southern native species to create heat tolerant, large flowered, fragrant deciduous azaleas. Do give those appropriate for your climate a try, you won’t be sorry.
In the continuing effort to catalog the plants growing in the Fairegarden, a daunting but worthwhile endeavor, may we present the spring flowering deciduous azaleas, Rhododendron-‘as follows’:
aromi ‘High Tide’
Mt. Saint Helen’s
Rennie-might be Renne
aromi ‘Pink Carousel’
Canescens-growing in sun
Canescens-growing in shade
Alabamense-photo from 2009, did not bloom 2010
There are two cultivars, Orchid Lights and King Red with no photos as yet. Better luck next year. There are a couple of summer blooming varieties that will be added later on. All of these photos and the list of names can be found on the page listed on the sidebar titled Plants We Grow-Deciduous Azaleas.
For a little more back story on some of the azaleas growing here, view the post written naming them as our signature plants by clicking here-About Those Azaleas-My Signature Plants.
Hello everyone. I am back home from England after an amazing visit to Malvern, London and many other beautiful spots. There will be posts about it all, rest assured. The comments on posts published while I was gone will all be read and digested, questions answered if possible. Thank you for your sweet and kind readership.
Heavenly azalea time in the south – lovely to see so many beautiful varieties here!
What a great collection, just how big is your garden to include so many of these gems. I remember hiking in the Smokies one June ages ago and coming upon acres of yellow and orange azaleas. This was before much horticulture on my part, and I couldn’t tell if they had been planted my man/woman or God. Either way they were stunning and the mental images are still with me.
Welcome home from the Mother Country. I look forward to your stories and photos.
They are all breathtaking. I was trying to pick a favorite, but I think I just love them all.
Frances, I know that these beauties are your signature plant, but never realized how many you have. They are stunning. I saw a Florida Flame azalea at a local nursery and am kicking myself for not scooping it up. They do seem to decline here during dry summers…but, with a little pruning they can look stunning. Yes? Miss you bunches! gail
These are fantastic, Frances! I bought my first native azalea (yellow – can’t remember the name offhand but it’s very fragrant) this spring. Now I see that it’s only the beginning…
Welcome home. I’m so glad you had a wonderful trip and look forward to reading about it.
What an amazing collection, Frances. With each photo I thought–this is my favorite–no, this one. It’s no wonder you have such a large collection.
The eye candy is making me drool.
Like everything but think I fancy the Mandarin lights most. Adding some new shrubs to the garden this year and that looks like a winner.
Azaleas (and rhodies in general) grow here, but they are pushing the zone. I’m always amazed at the HUGE blooms people get just one zone warmer, plus all the wonderful BRIGHT color variations. (Mostly pinks and whites here.) So wonderful!
I have 2 tiny deciduous azaleas, but only one of them is supposed to attain the size of yours. A neighbor has 60 or so and the variety is just amazing from tender to wowee zowee colors. I don’t know how you fit all these in your garden.
Dear Frances, thank you so much for sharing these wonderful azaleas. They are so gorgeous and they bring back my childhood memories in the mountains in China. We used to have Azaleas all over in the mountains every Spring. I remember the elders told us that red ones were eatable while the orange ones would make you sick. And we kids always had fun to pick up the tasty flower petals as snacks, or made necklace from them and brought home for mom. It is no chance to grow Azaleas in clay land Colorado, but it is such a visual feast just to look at them in pictures.
Xiaowen from Colorado Springs
When we move to the woods, I’m planning on having tons of these. They are so beautiful.
Oh, my lands! What an assortment you have.a and so many. It is probably a good thing I only have an acre LOL! it keeps my trees and shrubs at a limit or I would be so tempted to get some of those azaleas. Hope you had a wonderful time at Malvern Frances.
Welcome home Frances. It is good to see that you made it back without delays or any other mishaps. Your azalea collection is marvelous. I would love to grow some but haven’t had any luck as yet. I will have to try some Exbury types. They look good enough to eat.
Very impressive collection Frances! I love the yellows!! Natives are the best!! Great photos!
I just got back yesterday from Oregon, Frances, where there are azaleas and rhodies everywhere, the largest specimens I’ve ever seen. Your collection is another treat for these Midwestern eyes! I am kicking myself now for not buying one of the ‘Northern Lights’ series when it was on sale this spring.
It’s taken me a day to catch up on rest from my vacation, so I can only imagine how jet-lagged you must feel. Looking forward to reading all about Malvern!
Welcome home –am sure you had a grand time!! Love your native azaleas. We have a bunch in the Learning Garden and I have come to appreciate them so much more than the others. I have marked ‘Mt. St. Helens’ to get for my new garden. It erupted the year we were married and Charlie almost didn’t make it from Ft.Lewis to Virginia for the wedding!! ASH!!
I like that you put the names right on the photo….remedial help is greatly appreciated.
They are all beautiful. One of my Alabamense bloomed barely and the one that isn’t Alabamense but was labeled such did not. There is a man in Tallahassee who hybridizes, his name is Miller and his native plant nursery is Trillium Gardens.
Do you know you can go into your WordPress settings and change your Feeds to ‘Full text’ so that your text and photos show up in the Blotanical picks frame rather than just 3 lines?
They’re all gorgeous…and I’ll know where to refer as I add native azaleas to my yard. With so many to choose from I won’t know where to start. We have .33 acre lot too, but there wouldn’t be room for what you have as I have so many large oak trees and other huge trees. I can’t believe how many you can fit there and also have so many perennials and other plants/bushes/shrubs/trees, etc!
The fairies must be as delighted as I am when these bloom (mine are also). Glad you are home safely and anxious to see photos from the trip.
I hope you had a marvelous time on your trip.
I didn’t know there were so many different azaleas. They are out of this world. I shall look for some different ones to join mine. I only have one color.
They truly are stunning, what a collection you have there in your garden.
I do kind of love the deciduous more then the evergreen. Showier, more colorful, and really beautiful.
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