April Blooms in My Georgia Garden: Week 2

Piedmont Azalea

Piedmont Azalea, Rhododendron cansescens, is a native azalea found in the Piedmont region of Alabama and Georgia. This plant has many common names. Piedmont means "foot of the mountain" which is where this native azalea is usually found. Hoary or Wooly Azalea is another common name, coming from the hairs in the tubes of the flowers. Sweet Mountain Azalea has to be because of the sweet fragrance of the blooms on this azalea that enjoys growing in the mountains. This shrub is often called Wild or Bush Honeysuckle, because the blooms look and smell like those of the honeysuckle vine. There are a few other common names which I cannot understand. But this is one plant that belongs in your garden.

Florida Flame Azalea
Blooms on the Florida Flame Azalea, Rhododendron austrinum, can be just as varied as those of the Piedmont Azalea. Flowers on the Florida Flame Azalea, as the common name suggests, are the colors of a flame and can be anywhere from pure yellow to pure orange, or anywhere in between. This one has flowers that are reddish orange and yellow. Florida Flame Azalea lights up the garden when in bloom. Although the native azaleas naturally occur in the shade of a woodland, Florida Flame azalea will bloom much more profusely when grown in full sun. By the way, although as its name implies, Florida Flame is native to the state of Florida, but you might not ever see it growing wild there. This deciduous Azalea is rare and endangered, so purchase it from a native plant nursery.

Lonicera sempervirens John Clayton

Our John Clayton Honeysuckle, a named cultivar of the native wild honeysuckle, Lonicera sempervirens, is showing out early too--ahead of the species known as Coral or Red Trumpet Honeysuckle.  The native honeysuckle is just as easy to grow as Japanese Honeysuckle, but it is not invasive, and this vine will not plant itself all over your whole neighborhood.

Viburnum Korean Spice

Viburnum carlesii Korean Spice blooms are beautiful--round flower clusters in the snowball arrangement consist of pink buds that open into white flowers with a yellow center. I wish computers had a "scratch and sniff" feature, because the Korean Spice Viburnum has a wonderful fragrance.  Like most viburnums, Korean Spice will grow very large over time, up to about 6 feet tall and just as wide. It is lovely at the back of the flowerbed or in a mixed shrub border. In Fall, the foliage turns a brilliant red and bright red berries develop. Here in Georgia, give this shrub partial sun, and it will grow very well for you.

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