ShadyGardens Blog

May 25, 2008

Rhododendron arborescens – Sweet Native Azalea

Rhododendron arborescens is definitely one of my favorite native azaleas. Usually called the Sweet Azalea, because of the very sweet fragrance, Rhododendron arborescens can bloom anytime between May and August. The blossoms are usually white and can be flushed with pink.

Arborescens is a large growing plant, reaching heights of up to 12 feet tall at maturity, when conditions are right.

Give this plant regular water, especially during periods of drought. The Sweet Azalea prefers a semi-shaded spot with well-drained slightly acidic soil. One plant can perfume the whole garden when in bloom. R. arborescens is hardy in USDA Zones 4 – 7, so plant one for yourself if you’d like to enjoy a wonderful fragrance while relaxing in your garden!

For information on purchasing this plant, visit

May 15, 2008

Itea Virginica Belongs In Every Garden!

One native plant sure to attract attention in your garden is Itea Virginica, most often known as Virginia Sweetspire.
Many gardeners are completely unaware of its beauty, because Virginia Sweetspire is seldom sold in garden centers. Other than its love for moist soil, Itea is very easy to grow. If you have a way of watering your garden or have a soggy spot, you can enjoy the many attributes of Itea Virginica year-round. Yes, year-round! Itea Virginica begins the spring season with red new growth, blooms in May with very fragrant 3-inch long white bloom spikes that really attract pollinators into the garden and maintains lush green foliage throughout the summer. Leaves, which are on burgundy stems, by the way, then turn a vibrant burgundy red in fall. As if all that weren’t enough, Itea often keeps that spectacular fall foliage all winter (at least it does here in central Georgia.) I know it’s hard to believe that such a glorious plant could be a native, but Itea virginica is native to the Eastern United States. If you have a large garden, Itea is beautiful when massed, especially along the edge of a pond if you’re lucky enough to have one. If your garden is small, Itea makes a great specimen or border planting. Hardy in USDA Zones 5-9, Itea can be grown in almost any area of the country. Whether you choose the large growing Itea virginica ‘Henry’s Garnet’ or the compact dwarf ‘Merlot’, you should plant one in your garden to enjoy all season long! To purchase Itea, you’re welcome to visit

May 11, 2008

The Perfect Mother’s Day Gift

Filed under: Mother, Mother's Day, plant, plants — shadygardens @ 1:34 pm

Mother’s Day is here, so we’re all pondering on that special gift for Mama. If you’re blessed enough to still have your Mother with you, she deserves something special, doesn’t she? We owe all that we are to our Mother—She made me what I am today. Since most Mothers love flowers, plants are probably the most popular Mother’s Day gift. Whether or not your Mother has enough plants is hard to say. But to most Mothers, the gift is not as important as the giver. What I mean is, most Mothers just want to spend time with their children. Now that we’re grown and no longer living at home, we just don’t spend enough time with our Mothers. No matter which gift you choose for your Mother this year, include a special gift of some time with you. Take her to lunch, or fix lunch for her. If you choose a special gift of jewelry for your Mother this year, also spend the day with her. If you go with the gift of a plant, stay with her and plant it for her! Or work all day in her garden! Whatever you decide to give your Mother this year, make sure you spend Mother’s Day with her. That will truly make her Mother’s Day special!

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