Friendship Azalea Garden
Al LaPorte, Nesconset, New York
America's native azaleas have long (since the 17th Century) been appreciated by European gardeners. In fact, the famous Knaphill and spectacular Rothschild Exbury hybrids owe their very existence to our own native azaleas. These hybrids have been widely disseminated and are readily available from many sources.
Our native azaleas have a wide color range - red, orange, yellow, pink and white. In addition, several varieties are fragrant and mildew resistant, and produce beautiful fall colors. Despite such desirable qualities, commercial sources of native azaleas are difficult to locate.
In the hope visitors will admire and appreciate these fine plants and learn more about them, the Friendship Azalea Garden is being established at Bayard Cutting Arboretum, Great River, Long Island. Our objective is to make mass plantings of the seventeen native azalea varieties in sizes of 36 inches or larger. It is hoped that this year's planting will consist of about 200 azaleas.
The garden comprises one and one-half acres of choice land. It borders upon the picturesque Connecticut River and has a high water table so that supplemental watering will not be required. The ferns are lush and stay green even during a dry season. Mature trees are present to provide needed high shade for the late blooming varieties.
Other ericaceous plant varieties are currently at home thriving in the site - e.g., Kalmia latifolia (mountain laurel), native blueberries, and an ancient, tree-like planting of R. catawbiense.
Founders are the Bayard Cutting Arboretum Horticultural Society and the Azalea Study Group of the New York Chapter American Rhododendron Society. We all have a rare opportunity to create a beautiful, natural garden highlighting America's native azaleas at Bayard Cutting Arboretum. The committee asks for and welcomes your support in this exciting and challenging project.