Azalea Season - Did You Know?
We are in the throws of the most heavenly season in the Lowcountry - Azalea Season. A sea of pink, purple and white flowers bloom everywhere. Mixed in with the wild wisteria that winds itself around telephone poles & fences only adds to the postcard perfect beauty. Azaleas are of the Rhododendrom genus, an evergreen that is native to this area. Originally from Japan, they have been in the Lowcountry for hundreds of years. They grow perfectly in sandy soil under the dappled light of our giant acidic producing loblolly pines. Their delicate bright flowers last for several weeks telling us spring has arrived, Easter is on its way and our favorite golf tournament, RBC Heritage, is right around the corner.
According to azalea historian Fred Galle, in the United States the Azalea indica (in this case, the group of plants called Southern indicas) was first introduced to the outdoor landscape in this country in the 1830s at the rice plantation Magnolia-on-the-Ashley in Charleston, South Carolina. These flowers were originally only grown in greenhouses in Philadelphia, and John Grimke Drayton (Magnolia’s owner) imported the plants for use in his estate garden. With encouragement from Charles Sprague Sargent from Harvard's Arnold Arboretum, Magnolia Gardens was opened to the public in 1871 following the American Civil War. Magnolia Plantation is one of the oldest public gardens in America. Since the late nineteenth century, in late March and early April, thousands visit to see the azaleas bloom in their full glory.
Azaleas make a great back drop for a photo shoot but be quick, a heavy rain or a spring cold snap can cause the plants to drop their flowers. They will be gone before you know it! Savor the beauty and the fragrant smell while it is here.
The Lowcountry never looks better than during our stunning azalea season.