A group of lucky GNPS members enjoyed a few hours together viewing native azaleas and native hybrid azaleas on the 700 private acres. The area is located in Lumpkin County, GA. To view most of the azaleas, you must have either 4×4 or AWD vehicles, that can be used to move you to the many vantage points from where you can hike to the groups of azaleas. Even with the use of vehicles, the hiking took about a full three hours and everyone got a good workout. The weather was very pleasant during the morning, but a little warm during the afternoon.
The Trip Host was Charles Andrews, who is president of the Azalea Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society (ASA). Charles has published in the Journal American Rhododendron Society, The Azalean magazine of the ASA, and is presently compiling his work in a book on native azaleas.
The population is quite large and numbered in the thousands. The species present are R. canescens, calendulaceum and arborescens. This private area is rich in native azaleas and natural hybrids. We were a little early, about two weeks, but we still saw R. canescens, and R. canescens x R. calendulaceum hybrids. What is most impressive is the significant interaction between the tetraploid calendulaceum and tetraploid calendulaceum and the diploid species. Many native azaleas were just budding out and we wished we could all come back in about two weeks. A sampling of the many pictures taken are show below.