Tag Archives: Rhododendron

LaGrange: Hills & Dales Estate


A not-to-be-missed site for garden travelers is the Hills & Dales Estate, the historic home and gardens of the Fuller E. Callaway family located on 35 acres of rolling hills and shady dales approximately an hour south of Atlanta.

Your first stop is the Estate visitor center to arrange a tour of the 30-room manor house. The Callaways commissioned architects Hentz & Reid to design their Italian villa style home, which was completed in 1916. There are wonderful views from the windows overlooking the gardens and one can pick out the mottos formed in some of the boxwood parterres below.


Either before or after your tour of the home, the visitor center has a short film on the history of Ferrell Gardens and Sarah Coleman Ferrell, who began expanding the gardens on the original site in 1841. It’s well worth your time and gives a proper context for the gardens themselves.

Mrs. Ferrel seems to have designed the gardens based on formal Italian Renaissance and Baroque designs in a series of patterns, mazes and descending terraces. She loved to share her gardens with others and used to invite local children to play in the parterres, even holding Easter egg hunts. One of the children who visited was Fuller Callaway, who grew up to become one of the South’s textile magnates. When he grew up, Fuller and his wife, Ida Cason Callaway, ended up buying the property in 1912 and built their home on the site of Mrs. Ferrell’s cottage. The Callaways, father and later his son Fuller, Jr. and his wife Alice, continued developing the gardens. The idea was always that the property would someday pass on to a foundation and be open to the public.

“Life is short, and as we pass this way but once, why not strew our paths with rose petals, so as to leave fragrance on life’s way?”

—Ida Cason Callaway, 1929


What’s Special

  • The signature plant is dwarf English boxwood, but there are also American boxwood, tree boxwood, Spanish boxwood and curly leaf boxwood. Overall, there are 2 ½ acres of formal boxwood parterres.
  • 23 different species of Camellia japonica.
  • Magnolia Walk, where the magnolias were reportedly planted from seed during the War Between the States.
  • Explore the greenhouses, where occasionally you’ll see blooms amongst the orchid collection which includes cattleyas, phaleonopsis, cymbidiums, vandas, brassavolas and angreacums.
  • Conifer collection includes more than 30 varieties from at least 13 different genera.


Children under six are not allowed in the manor house.

March – June

Tuesday – Saturday

10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.


1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

 July – February

Tuesday – Saturday

10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Closed on New Year’s Day, Easter, July 4th, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas. Visiting hours are subject to change. Please call before visiting.

1916 Hills & Dales Drive, LaGrange, GA. 30240

Call 706-882-3242. GPS: 33.039041 / -85.048439

email: info@hillsanddales.org

Save these Dates: April/May 2017 Flower Shows and Garden Festivals


April and May bring hard choices for gardeners — spend time in your own garden or visit others? It’s tough, but you know you can manage to do both. For some suggestions, here’s a look at some of the top flower shows and garden festivals around the country.


March 20 – April 17, 2017. Washington, DC: National Cherry Blossom Festival 

Each year, the National Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Japan to the city of Washington, DC.  Festival activities take place throughout the city, but of course the highlight is the magnificent blossoms of the Yoshino cherry trees surrounding the Tidal Basin.

Exactly when the buds will open is not easy to predict, but the 2017 Peak Bloom Period — when 70% of the blossoms are open—is predicted to be March 14 – 17. Visit the National Park Service‘s website with links to the Blossom Cam, cherry blossom photos for updates.


March 16 – April 27, 2017. Charleston, SC.: Charleston’s Festival of Houses and GardensThe South’s premiere garden festival is a month-long celebration of the “City set in a Garden.” There are walking tours of the City’s magnificent private gardens, with docents stationed at each gate in the Old & Historic District. 


March 20 – May 25, 2017. Biltmore S.C. Biltmore Blooms, Biltmore’s magnificent gardens were the final project of renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted.  Weekend “Ask a Gardener” stations in the Walled Garden allow guests to talk with Biltmore’s horticulture experts. Free, daily seminars are held in A Gardener’s Place at the Conservatory on a variety of topics. For an up to date report on what’s currently blooming, check out   Biltmore.com/bloomreport.

March 24 – April 9, 2017. Tyler, TX: Tyler Azalea & Spring Flower Trails 

April 22 – 29, 2017. Virginia: Virginia’s Historic Garden Week, Statewide. 250 of Virginia’s most picturesque gardens and private homes are showcased in 30 tours during “America’s Largest Open House.” Proceeds go toward the restoration and preservation of Virginia’s historic public gardens, with beneficiaries such as Mount Vernon, Monticello and the grounds of the Executive Mansion in Richmond.

May 13 – 14, 2017. Atlanta: Gardens for Connoisseurs 2017. Celebrate Mother’s Day and visit beautiful private home gardens in metro Atlanta.



May 4-6, 2017, Pella, IA: Pella Tulip Time Festival

May 6 – 14, 2017, Holland, MI: Tulip Time

June 1 – 11, 2017, Nebraska: Nebraska Wildflower Week. Nebraska’s prairies and gardens are at their best.



May 21, 2016, Sandwich, Mass: Heritage Rhododendron Festival

May 17-21, 2017 Port Townsend, WA:  Rockin’ Rhody Rhododendron Festival

May 19-21, 2016, Florence OR:  Rhododendron Festival


May 6 – 7, 2017  Texas: Becker Vineyards Lavender Fest, Stonewall, Texas

Garden Traveler: Rhododendron Festivals


Photo: Courtesy of Rhododendron State Park, New Hampshire

Photo: Courtesy of Rhododendron State Park, New Hampshire

Rhododendron State Park

Fitzwilliam, NH

During mid-July, if you can, pay a visit to the New Hampshire Rhododendron State Park’s 16-acre grove of Rhododendron Maximum, which is the largest in northern New England and designated a National Natural Landmark in 1982.

Here are some other Rhododendron Festivals around the country:

April and early May


Hamilton Gardens, located in the North Georgia Mountains on the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds, has the largest collection of rhododendrons in Georgia. More than 400 varieties of rhododendron – 3,000 plants in all, plus dogwood, tulip magnolias, native azaleas, wild flowers, and trillium. Peak viewing season usually occurs the last two weeks in April through the first two weeks in May. The gardens are open year around.

  • May 13- 18, 2013

78th Annual Rhododendron Festival

Port Townsend, Washington

  • May 17 – 19, 2013

Florence Rhododendron Festival

Florence, Oregon

  • May 18 – May 26, 2013 

Heritage Museums & Gardens – Rhododendron Festival

Sandwich MA

  • June 14-15, 2013

North Carolina Rhododendron Festival

Bakersville NC

  • June 15-16, 2013

Roan Mountain Rhododendron Festival

Roan Mountain TN




Ringwood: New Jersey Botanical Garden at Skylands

Ringwood, New Jersey

New Jersey Botanical Garden at Skylands

PA040077-ManorW2-300The New Jersey State Botanical Garden (commonly known as Skylands) has 96 acres of specialty gardens surrounded by 1000 acres of woodlands, along with a 44-room Tudor revival manor house.  Part of Ringwood State Park, New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry, Department of Environmental Protection, the NJBG at Skylands is on both the State and National Registers of Historic Places.

The house and gardens were originally built in the 1920s by Clarence MacKenzie Lewis, a New York City stockbroker, civil engineer and horticulturalist, who hired noted architect John Russell Pope to design the manor house. Mr. Pope’s other works include the National Archives and the National Gallery of Art.


Perennial Border restored to theoriginal design; Crab Apple Allée that stretches a half mile; Hosta/Rhododendron Garden; Wildflower Garden; Lilac Garden with more than 100 varieties; Peony Garden; banks of azaleas and rhododendrons; a Magnolia Walk with sweet bay magnolias that are not usually found this far north.

New Jersey BG-moraine-200The Moraine Garden (moraines are deposits of rock left behind by melting glaciers at the end of the last Ice Age) features heather, sedums, gentians, dwarf conifers, and many low creeping plants.


Admission is always free; parking is $5 during high season

Open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily

Located in Ringwood State Park,

2 Morris Rd., Ringwood, NJ 07456

Phone 973-962-7527 or 973-962-9534 [ info ]

Rockford: Klehm Arboretum and Botanic Garden


Rockford, Illinois

Klehm Arboretum and Botanic Garden

The Klehm Arboretum and Botanic Garden is beautiful throughout the year. Features around the 155-acres include the Nancy Olson Children’s Garden and a Prehistoric Garden, as well as other specialty gardens including Hosta, Grass, Butterfly, Daylily, Peony, Rhododendron and Azalea and, Wildflowers.

In addition, a bur oak grove covers 12 acre, with the largest bur oak trees estimated at over 300 years old. Impressive native trees among the grove include an enormous basswood, giant black cherries, white oak, shagbark hickory, black walnut and hackberry. Plus, over fifty species and cultivars of coniferous evergreens on site represent nine groups from North America, Europe and Asia.

Woodland trails include 1.5 miles of paved paths in two loops and 2.5 miles of unpaved trails through the heart of the Arboretum. In the winter, the trails are great for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

What’s Special

During your visit, see if you can spot the Klehm Arboretum mascots (pictured): Cow-li-flower, Klehmentine and Flora Fauna.


Open Daily: 9am – 4pm

2715 S. Main St | Rockford, IL

(815) 965-8146

Email Klehm

[ info ]

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

BirminghamCrape Myrtle
Birmingham,   Alabama

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Alabama’s oldest municipally owned garden, the 67.5 acre Birmingham Botanical Gardens is comprised of Gardens of Collections, Gardens of Nature and Gardens of Culture.
Gardens of Collections focus on a plant genus. Some of the gardens are the Abroms Rhododendron Garden, the Crape Myrtle Garden, Fern Glade, Hess Camellia Garden, Hosta Walk, Ireland Iris Garden, Jemison Lily Garden and the Dunn Formal Rose Garden.
As one of the Gardens of Nature, the 7.5-acre Japanese Garden features traditional components such as a tea garden, the meditative Karesansui garden, the hill and stream garden, and a stroll garden.
Other features include the largest clearspan greenhouse in Southeast, C. Beaty Hanna Horticulture & Environmental Center with plant diagnostic lab, restaurant, gift shop, tours.

Admission is free. Gardens open 365 days a year, dawn to dusk.[ info ]

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