Exbury Azalea

In All Her Glory

In All Her Glory

I am gradually replacing our alien landscape plants (e.g., Asian broad leaf rhododendrons, Norway Maples, the dreaded invasives like Japanese Barberries and Winged Euonymous ) with bird friendly, deer resistant, low maintenance, attractive native plants.  One plant that remains in the native plantings near the driveway isn’t really bird friendly as there are no seeds or fruit that seem to attract the birds, but it is so lovely each spring I could never bear to part with it.  It is a hybrid of native deciduous azaleas from the Carolinas so I rationalize that it belongs.

This hybrid originated from seeds sent to England by John Bartram in 1734.  It went through several plant hybridizers who developed what is known as the Knaphill varieties before ending up with Baron Rothschild at his estate, Exbury, in Southampton, England.  The Baron worked with these varieties from 1922 through the period of the Second World War when the Exbury Azaleas were finally introduced to the public.  I planted this soon after we moved to our house 37 years ago and have moved it from a much shadier spot to this location where it is very happy.  No need to rationalize, just enjoy!


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