Azalea Paradise

A tempting pathway leads to the moon gate.

For azalea lovers – or lovers of beautiful landscapes in general – the place to visit right now in RI is the Kinney azalea gardens. I drop by every year just to take it all in.When you time it right, as I did when I took the photographs in this post, the contrast of the colors of the azaleas with the deep spring green of the grass is stunning.

Lorenzo Kinney, who passed away in 1994, started planting azaleas and rhododendrons shortly after he and his wife moved into their house in South County in 1927. He had some help from his father, a botany professor and azalea grower.

When Kinney retired, he embraced his azalea passion in earnest. After seeing how the plants thrived in the southeast, he was determined to develop cultivars that would survive RI winters.

Plenty of places to sit and gaze - or picnic!

Over 500 varieties have been planted over the years. You can wander along the pathways that meander through the gardens, and you can also buy plants, if one strikes your fancy. The different cultivars are not marked, so I can’t tell you what they are, but I can say that they are simply gorgeous this time of year.

The gardens are open to the public and admission is free, although donations are welcome. You can find out more about this RI treasure by clicking here.

Color wherever you look, brightening a rainy day.

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About dirtynailz

Writer for a daily newspaper, gardener, tree hugger, orchid-grower, photographer, animal lover, hiker, wilderness seeker. Proponent of clover in the lawn and a dog on the bed.
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16 Responses to Azalea Paradise

  1. cj wright says:

    Spectacular! Any time I say, “I need a plant in that spot,” my husband says, “Azalea!” He thinks it’s the only plant we need. 🙂

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    • dirtynailz says:

      And you live in azalea country, don’t you?

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      • cj wright says:

        Yes. In middle Georgia. None of the azaleas compare to the native azaleas, though, which have an amazing scent, reminiscent of honesuckle. They’re gorgeous and, sadly, rarely seen. I have a few natives on my property that I wait for every year. I feel very lucky.

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      • dirtynailz says:

        I don’t think I have ever enjoyed a scent from any of our RI azaleas. You are so lucky, cj!

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  2. HerbDoc says:

    Gorgeous color! Are the gardens open to the public every day at this time of year?

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  3. Nell Jean says:

    What a glorious display! Ours are long since done, ending by
    April.

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  4. cj wright says:

    Check out these photos from google image search (copy and paste):
    http://images.google.com/images?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4GGLL_enUS374US375&q=native+azaleas&biw=1268&bih=564

    or search for “native azaleas”. I have both the pink and golden varieties. The golden (yes golden) are called Flame azaleas. Now, add that gorgeous scent to them. Paradise!

    A friend of mine has a flame azalea the size of a small, but mature dogwood tree. They love the mountains.

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  5. HerbDoc says:

    These are stunning, CJ! Any idea what zone would be needed to keep them?

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    • cj wright says:

      I’m in zone 8, but know that they like the mountains which is cooler than where I am. I’m sorry, but I don’t know their hardiness zones. We can grow azaleas in pots, too, so that might be an option for you if you decide to try one.

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  6. HerbDoc says:

    Thanks! I’ll do some research and see what I can come up with it.
    The idea of scented azaleas intrigues me!

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    • cj wright says:

      Here’s a page from the Azalea Society of America with some good info and a listing of nurseries that sell native azaleas. I also saw (somewhere) that they grow in zones 4-8, but I know that the super-gardeners here can grow them anywhere there’s a pot that can be moved. 🙂

      http://azaleas.org/index.pl/aznatives.html

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  7. HerbDoc says:

    Thanks again, CJ! I did some checking and it seems that most of the native azaleas are hardy to zones 5 and 6. Looks like there may be additions to my yard! 🙂

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  8. cj wright says:

    Wonderful! I hope you locate one that will bring you many, many years of joy.

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