Public gardens with good to excellent azalea collections are a good way for the people to get to know azaleas, and in particular azaleas that thrive in their area. We are making a concerted effort to compile a list of gardens that have good azalea collections, and ask you to send notes to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any that you can recommend.
Birmingham Botanical Gardens – http://www.bbgardens.org
Bellingrath Gardens & Home – http://bellingrath.org
Mobile Botanical Gardens – http://mobilebotanicalgardens.org
The Mobile Botanical Gardens is a 100-acre garden located on the Gulf Coast of Alabama. It’s home to many native and Asian Rhododendron and azalea hybrids and species, collected over the years by many keen nurserymen and women from the area. The pedigree begins with the Sawadas of Mobile and the Dodds of Semmes, and exists in its current iteration thanks in large part to Maarten van der Giessen, of van der Giessen Nursery. The Millie McConnell Rhododendron Garden includes most of the Back Acre, Holly Springs, Harris, Robin Hill and Nuccio hybrids, as well as more than 200 different Satsukis, Kurume azaleas from the National Arboretum, most of the Encore(TM) series, and many common and rare Southern Indica hybrids. The newest addition to MBG’s collection is the Aromi Azalea Hybrid Garden, which features more than 70 of Dr. Eugene Aromi’s deciduous and evergreen hybrids. There is an azalea or Rhododendron blooming in the Garden from February into July, or later, so there’s always something to see.
District of Columbia
Azalea collection at the U.S. National Arboretum.
The Gardens at the Norton Art Gallery and Museum –
McCrillis Gardens – http://www.montgomeryparks.org/brookside/mccrillis_gardens.shtm
Polly Hill Arboretum–http://www.pollyhillarboretum.org/. Polly was a keen plants woman and cultivated many Rhododendron species, and named several, as well. Tom Clark, who got a grant from ASA back in 2014, was curator there for several years and really stepped up the Rhododendron offerings.
UNCC Botanical Gardens https://gardens.uncc.edu/
There is a 3 acre landscaped garden named Susie Hardwood Garden
Next to it is a 7 acre woodland garden named Van Landingham Glen
Parking is very limited. Also don’t go when UNCC has a football game as they take away parking for the garden. This place is free.
This may be premature to list but the Central Carolinas chapter is helping CPCC Cato campus (large community college system in Charlotte area) establish an azalea garden /woodland garden. Over the next 2 years the program Chair, John Holmes, who is now a member is going to do classes on irrigation, bed prep, and planting. They do all the work, all our chapter has to do is provide azaleas and other plants. This is going to be a free garden open to the public.
WRAL-TV Azalea Gardens http://www.wral-gardens.com
They also have a pretty cool program that involves free azaleas to non-profits and contests with monetary prizes for who best utilized those azaleas through their azalea celebration.
High Point University http://www.highpoint.edu/gardens/
I visited here on a recent IPPS tour and this campus is a stunning oasis and a must see. The entire campus is basically a botanical garden. They have many themed gardens and an Azalea Path garden. I don’t know if it is free but assume so. They take big pride in being named “Tree Campus USA”. Maybe one day they could be an “Azalea Campus” on a play of the Azalea City. I know they would take great pride in it and give publicity to the ASA.
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden – http://lewisginter.org
Norfolk Botanical Garden – http://norfolkbotanicalgarden.org/