• Habitat Pictures/Travels

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12.04.2022 Aaron Varnadoe’s garden in Colquitt (GA, Miller Co.)

Aaron Varnadoe opened a nursery in Colquitt in southwest Georgia in the 1960s. He soon specialized in propagating native azaleas he found in the surrounding area and beyond. Especially forms of R. austrinum, canescens and flammeum were grown by him from seeds and cuttings. Soon he began hybridizing as well, creating over time a respectable number of garden-worthy azaleas that thrived especially in the southeastern United States in a climate with long, hot summers. Although he is no more today, his plants live on in many gardens. Around his former home, many now very old specimens still thrive today, demonstrating the beauty of these plants. His son, now also elderly, was unfortunately in hospital when we visited, so he was unable to guide us himself. We, that were Charlie Andrews, Monica Williams, Samantha Pryer, Johnny Golden and I, were allowed to visit the remains of Aaron Varnadoe’s garden alone. It was a pity that practically none of the plants, many of them beautiful, had a label. So we could often only speculate what they were. Only with ‘Candy Stripe’ or ‘Varnadoe’s Candy Stripe’ it was immediately clear what it was about, this R. flammeum – hybrid is a real show-stopper, which always stands out among dozens of plants. More about Aaron Varnadoe on the homepage of the Azalea Society of America.

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