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Native Flowering Shrubs

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May 9, 2021

Southern Gardening is visiting Woodleigh in Brookhaven. Among the plantings of camellias and azaleas are some prized Mississippi native flowering shrubs. Let’s take a look. A group of spring flowering native shrubs that are truly loved are the native azaleas. I really love Rhododendron austrinum, the Florida flame azalea which has the adorable common name honeysuckle azalea. This plant has flowers ranging from yellow to fiery orange. The flowers can be up to 1½ inches across, but it’s the way the stamens and pistil extend out of the flower that I find most attractive. An old native tree that flowers in late spring is the white fringe tree. My favorite common name for this tree sounds a little wizardly: Grancy Graybeard. Botanically speaking, Grancy Graybeard is Chionanthus virginicus. The name Chionanthus comes from the Greek words meaning “snow flower.” And you can see why because Grancy Graybeard produces glistening white, fringe-like flowers by the thousands. Our last native is the red buckeye, Aesculus pavia. This is a small deciduous tree/shrub that thrives in the partial shade. In the spring tubular red flowers appear on six to eight inch upright clusters. The flowers are a signal that the hummingbirds will be soon arriving. The palmate foliage is attractive. Native flowering shrubs can add interest to any landscape. I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman and I’ll see you next time on Southern Gardening.

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