The native azaleas of Louisiana and Mississippi are quite stunning. In addition to their long, graceful pistils, the scent is divine! I have got to find a space in my garden for one. My dad's neighbor has tons of the white/pink usually seen in the wild, but also the flame orange (shown below) and red ones. The red were still in bud, so I didn't get to see the blooms.
The U.S. Forest Service gives these benefits for using native plants:
- Native plants do not require fertilizers and require fewer pesticides than lawns.
- Native plants require less water than lawns and help prevent erosion.
The deep root systems of many native Midwestern plants increase the soil's capacity to store water. Native plants can significantly reduce water runoff and, consequently, flooding.
- Native plants help reduce air pollution.
Native plantscapes do not require mowing. Excessive carbon from the burning of fossil fuels contributes to global warming. Native plants sequester, or remove, carbon from the air.
- Native plants provide shelter and food for wildlife.
- Native plants promote biodiversity and stewardship of our natural heritage.
- Native plants are beautiful and increase scenic values!
"The native azalea species of the Southeastern United States have been called, by many plant authorities, the most beautiful of all our indigenous shrubs."
100mm | f/7.1 | ISO 400 | 1/250 sec