Native Azaleas and their Flowering Companions

 

Mt. Cuba, Hockessin, Delaware is a reserve of flora native to the Piedmont which stretches from New York state to Kentucky:  a legacy of the Lammot du Pont Copelands.

 

Celandine poppy grows among the trillium at this time of year.

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Celandine poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum) at Mt. Cuba

 

 

When the trillium flower, so do the native azaleas

 

 

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Varieties of trillium.

Mt. Cuba holds a national collection:  all 26 known native varieties with two or three exceptions which cannot be grown here. 

 

 

The trillium grow in a circular sanctuary.  They are famously fussy and difficult to grow from seed and take years to flower.  At the door of their sanctuary, a red buckeye, a native tree

 

 

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Red Buckeye (Aesculus Pavia) at Mt. Cuba, 2018

 

whose cousins at Winterthur have flowers more fashionably coloured still. 

But then Winterthur is a pleasure garden and park of any plant which pleased its creator, Henry Francis du Pont. Mt. Cuba is not a pleasure garden.  

 

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Red Buckeye (Aesculus Pavia) at Winterthur, 2017/2018

 

 

Accompanying native azalea in bloom also is wisteria, a variety developed by Longwood Gardens (a pleasure garden and research institution, a legacy of Pierre S. du Pont).  Hardier than non-native wisteria which have faded now.

 

 

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Longwood Purple American Wisteria (Wisteria frutescens) at Mt. Cuba

 

 

Wild columbine, the most ethereal of flowers, and behind it, Jacob’s Ladder, also flower with azalea 

 

 

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Wild columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) fronting Jacob’s Ladder (Polemonium reptans) at Mt. Cuba

 

 

Native azaleas.  Their woodwork is more delicate than that of hardy Kurume azaleas and their flower structure more complex and less massed.

Their colours are white, cream, yellow, red,  orange and lilac-lavender.

 

 

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Native azaleas (Rhododendron) at Mt. Cuba

 

And floating everywhere, as though untethered under the high canopy of beech and American poplar, flowering dogwood.  It is also in flower at the same time as native azalea.

 

 

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Flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) at Mt. Cuba and Winterthur, 2018

 

 

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