April 11, 2018

'Low-Country' Azaleas to Brighten the Day

2 floral mix

Those who live in and near the Low Country or the low country, please correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is that lowercase "low country" includes the coastal area between Charleston, South Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia, as described in this TripAdvisor entry (see link). "Low Country," when capitalized, denotes a specific region in South Carolina. (In my blog post title, the words are capitalized because it's a title, but I'm referring to the "low country").

In any case, the Azaleas and some Rhododendrons (both belong to the genus Rhododendron) were at peak bloom in this part of the U.S. when we were there in mid-March. I'd been aware of their prevalence in the Southeast, but the multi-color display really exceeded my expectations. We have Azaleas and Rhododendrons (and even some native ones) here in the Midwest, and I've seen them in other parts of the country, but they're certainly spectacular in the "low country" in early spring.

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3 magnolia plantation

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The highlight of the Azalea blooms, this trip, had to be the explosion of beauty and color at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens in Charleston, but they were also lovely at the Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, and throughout the region.

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Among the beauties were several deciduous native species, including Piedmont (R. canescens), Flame (R. calendulaceum), and Florida Flame (R. austrinum) Azaleas.

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Most we saw, however, were Asian hybrid Azaleas, which obviously love the growing conditions of the region. Most weren't marked, so I'm unsure of the cultivar names. I went overboard with photos, and I'm including just a few here--some native species and hybrids, and some Asian cultivars.

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The butterflies obviously appreciated them, too!

For more Azalea images, visit this post's Flickr album, which includes a small sample of the Azalea photos on my camera memory card. (Ooops, I snapped too many.)

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42 comments:

  1. I've always adored azaleas. The evergreen varieties used to be more common here but they aren't offered in garden centers to the extent they once were and I see them less and less in local landscapes as our drought conditions become more persistent. The deciduous varieties (which I never saw here even pre-drought) stand out as among the prettiest to my eyes.

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    1. I've always enjoyed them and considered planting them, but I went with other shrubs instead. They really seemed at home in the Southeast, though. I enjoyed the native ones down there, too. Some of the hybrids were really pretty, too, but some were a little too bright for me.

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  2. Your second picture is stunning. These pictures brought back memories of my trip. I had never seen such huge azaleas ever before I went to Charleston and particularly Magnolia Plantation. It is quite the spectacle. Those big old shrubs made me feel like a little girl again. It felt other worldly. I can see why you took so many photos. It is glorious. I didn't take time to find out what each species the azaleas were it was enough to see them bloooming.

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    1. Thanks, Lisa. I thought of you often while we were there. We even walked past Mrs. Whaley's garden, but it was late afternoon and it looked like no one was out and about there. I wonder if she's still alive and gardening? Ya, the Azalea plants were huge down there! Most of the plants weren't marked at any of the locations, and there were so many cultivars I wouldn't know where to start!

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  3. Beautiful . . . Spectacular . . . springtime “low country” beauty Beth . . .
    Uplifting . . .

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    1. Thank you, Lynne! Yes, I highly recommend a trip to Charleston and Savannah in March or April. It wasn't warm, but it wasn't cold either. It was quite comfortable for sightseeing. And the blooms were incredible!

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  4. Oh my, what a show! They are exquisite! I've seen gorgeous azaleas and rhododendrons in the PNW, but here in Austin, our soil is sadly, too alkaline. Thank you for sharing your gorgeous trip!

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    1. Hi Tina: Our soil is neutral, but it varies from alkaline to acid within a vary short range. But the conditions are so good for them out East. They were so huge in Charleston and Savannah!

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  5. To see so many different colored dahlias in one place is a paradise for the eyes. Wonderful. :)

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    1. Yes the Azaleas were amazing! The colors were so varied and beautiful!

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  6. Gorgeous! That first shot with Spanish Moss hanging from the trees is awesome. What a nice break from your cold spring weather!

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    1. Oh, I know: The Spanish Moss in the South is so awesome! In some places, it seemed like lace coating everything. Very dreamy. And, yes, it was a great getaway from winter, especially since our spring so far has been a dud.

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  7. Oh my ... what a wonderful destination for this time of year! I enjoyed my virtual visit, especially to the pond :)

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the virtual recap. :) I want to go back! There were several stunning pond and river settings at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens.

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  8. Those are gorgeous. I think the problem for many of us here — even more than cold issues — is space. You really need room for them to grow and room for you to stand back a bit for viewing. I really love the white ones with the pink flush. I keep thinking about adding some of the cold hardy ones but my spots with space get south and west sun, neither of which would be good for them. And, as an FYI, when I was at the Cap Times, the headlines only capitalized the first word unless other words required caps on their own. I think to some extent it is an institutional decision/style.

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    1. Yes, more space would be handy. Also, the Azaleas here seem more natural when they're small foundation plantings, in my opinion. Re: the headlines...yes, the style does vary for sure. Some newspapers use that "sentence case" style, and I did when I first started this blog. When I worked in corporate and association publication departments, the style varied. I think the main thing is to be consistent. I made a decision a few years back to go with Chicago Manual of Style for the headers, so that's what I do now. :)

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  9. Thanks for that. It's cold, windy, and rainy here today, so it's nice to see these Azaleas.

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    1. You're welcome. It seems so long ago now after our "third winter." April has not been as pleasant as March--even here in the north. I'm glad we got away for a little while, anyway.

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  10. Hi,
    WOW, what a beautiful time you had. I like the photo with the brick building in the background.
    We are in the midst of a blizzard. Our boys had a birthday party planned for the weekend. We had to change our plans a bit. Their best friends moved 3 hours south four years ago. We still get together as often as we can. This weekend we had outdoor fun planned for the 18year old and 16year old combo birthday party. Indoor games and movies were subbed in for the outdoor fun. ;-)
    Where is Spring in Wisconsin this year. LOL
    P.S. the good news for the boys, their friends may need to stay until Monday, because of the snow storm.

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    1. Yes, it was wonderful! I highly recommend the Southeast for a spring break, Carla! Spring is not cooperating here in the Midwest this year. I'd like a re-start. I'm glad your boys had a pleasant time in spite of the foul weather. :)

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  11. thanks for sharing this "explosion of beauty and colour" with us. There used to be lots of azaleas in gardens round here. I even had a couple, but they weren't happy and ended up in compost heaven. The ones in your photos are obviously in their right spots.

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    1. You are welcome. :) Some people plant Azaleas around here, but they're smaller and more like smaller, landscape accent plants. They were large and dominant in Charleston, especially. I'm glad we were there during the peak bloom time.

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  12. Oh my Beth! They are just lovely. I know you enjoyed your trip so much. So beautiful.~~Dee

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    1. Thank you, Dee. Yes, we had a wonderful time. I think we should have stayed longer with this extended winter this year. ;-)

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  13. I have seen images of Magnolia Plantation but have never visited. I really must! I think azaleas were more beautiful this year than they have been in the past few years. Last year many azalea buds were hit with a late frost, and the bloom was disappointing. This year they seemed to want to make up for it. My friends commented that even the size and color of the blooms were better this year than usual.

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    1. Oh gosh, Deb, you would LOVE it! I'm glad we planned our vacation for a particularly good bloom year. It certainly was dramatic and stunningly beautiful! Pictures and words can't do it justice, as you know.

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  14. Oh how gorgeous! Most people around here grow the evergreen azaleas, but I really like the look of the native deciduous ones. They look more delicate to me, with the bare branches tipped with flowers. What a lovely breath of spring!

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    1. I agree about the native Azaleas! Although I loved the effect of the dramatic evergreen, lush mixed Azalea shrubs, too. It was a colorful vacation!

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  15. So beautiful! I've seen native azaleas growing in the spring in North Carolina, and I've seen both rhododendrons and azaleas in full bloom in Oregon. Our Midwest varieties just don't compare!

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    1. Very true, Rose, about our Azaleas just not being as dramatic. I remember seeing them in DC and Virginia and the Appalachian mountains during trips, and they were pretty there, too. But the ones in Charleston and Savannah were the largest, brightest, and most dramatic of any I've seen. Kind of overwhelming, but beautiful!

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  16. Wow! You did get an eyeful! Perfect timing. Most of us in SC use these three geographic names for parts of the state: Lowcountry, Midlands, and Upstate.

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    1. Yes, it was good timing--we lucked out. I think I would visit your beautiful state in March again, or maybe April. It was lovely! Thanks for the info on the geographic regions, Marian. :)

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  17. I didn't know there were so many colors. Stunning indeed, Beth. We have some beauties here in the Northeast, but yours are amazing. P. x

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    1. Yes, these in the Southeast were incredible. I've never seen such a dramatic display of Azaleas. The Azaleas and Rhododendrons we saw in the Blue Ridge Mountains were pretty awesome though, too--but later in the season.

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  18. OMG that certainly is paradise for me! We don't have them so they are exceptionally beautiful. In my first travel abroad when i've just started working, i was in Sydney. We went to a rhododendron festival one Saturday and i joked that i just wanted to be a gardener there. There really are lots of colors and half of the mountains seems to be teeming with them. I cannot forget that sight.

    Your first picture is like a scene for something alien, but i love it with those hanging mossy something.

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    1. Oh, I know what you mean about wanting to try gardening in a new place sometimes. I love where I live and the gardening is great--but only for seven months out of the year. And this year with the late snowstorms--only six months! Re: the first picture...it's a native Azalea, with hybrid Asian Azaleas and Wisterias in the background. It was so colorful in Charleston and Savannah!

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  19. Beth..I put out warm water softened raisins for the robins as told to me by a rehabber. Bits of suet and they take it readily. I have been out 3 times to fill the feeders and to put some cracked corn out for the nesting goose pair and the mallard hen. I think the geese may have lost their nest as she was not on it today at all. The ice and sleet and snow is downing birds as the rehabbers are posting..The weekend should be better I hope..Michelle

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    1. Oh, thanks for getting back to me on this, Michelle. Sadness about the effects of the ice and late snow--especially on migrating birds. I noticed the juncos going for my raisin offering this morning. I think the robins reverse migrated--I haven't seen them in a couple of days. Smart birds.

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  20. Gor-GEE-ous!! Just what I needed on this cold and - would you believe it, snowy - day. There's an actual blizzard happening outside right now. I think this horrible weather has me on a downward spiral as I just realized I've not read any blogs in over a week so I'm playing catch-up :)

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  21. 34 is a delight - an explosion of barely pink flowers.

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  22. Every picture is a delight but that second one just took my breath away. Oh I do hope I can get there someday...what an amazing spot....I adore azaleas and wish my soil would support them!

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  23. Perfect pictures ☺ and blog. Good to see your amazing post.

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