Thursday, April 29, 2010

Rhododendron austrinum

...my plant pick of the week.

One of my favourite shrubs, a delicately-branched and yellowy-orange azalea, native to Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and North Carolina. In my plan for the park being made slowly on East Houston and 2nd Avenue, I included many of these, along with Rhododendron periclymenoides - the Pinxterbloom azalea. We'll see if they make it off paper and into reality.

This azalea is growing at the lower entrance to the Native Garden at the BBG, while its pink, afore-mentioned brethren are found inside. You will see them in bloom for the next week or two, I think. They are nothing like the virulent pinks, mauves and reds you'll see flanking the lawn in the Osborne Garden at the Eastern Boulevard entrance, quite spectacular in their own way at the moment. But where those loud, extremely floriferous azaleas are saturated with colour, these native shrubs are more beautiful than pretty, and seem to achieve that effect without slathering on eyeliner and lip pencil, and benefit as much from their context as they add grace to it.
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