Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Mississippi in the Springtime

For those who live in Mississippi or who have traveled to the state during the Spring have probably noticed all of the beautiful plants in bloom. However, there are a couple distinct plants to the area that probably catch the eye first.

Rhododendrons, specifically Azaleas (of the genus Rhododendron) are arguably the South's favorite shrubs. In fact, no plant has shaped the Southern garden more than the Indica Azalea, which first came to us from Japan. By 1845, the largest and oldest collection of Azaleas flourished at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens up the Ashley River from Charleston. Azaleas are planted planted abundantly as ornamentals in the Southeast United States. They bloom in Spring with their blooms lasting several weeks. 

 Another plant/tree distinct to the Southern region is the Southern Magnolia Tree. The Southern Magnolia is one of the best known trees found in Mississippi and throughout the South. As the state flower and tree, Mississippians have a strong love for Magnolia trees. In 1986, the American Forestry Association awarded a Southern Magnolia in Smith County, MS, the distinctive National Champion. At a height of 122 feet and diameter of over six feet, this tree became the largest Southern Magnolia reported in the United States. Flowers appear at intervals during the summer on the Magnolia tree. In 1938, Mississippians elected the Magnolia as the state tree and in 1952 the Magnolia flower as the official state flower. The Magnolia tree located at the Fairview Inn is a favorite spot for travelers and locals alike to take a photo opp.


Some of the most famous gardens in the South include Mynelle Gardens in Jackson, MS, the Biltmore Gardens in Asheville, NC, and Bellingrath Gardens in Theodore, AL.

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