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World's largest azalea garden is GA's Callaway Gardens

Callaway Gardens opened on May 21, 1952, as the Ida Cason Gardens, with 13,000 acres, a number of lakes, a golf course, and scenic drives; admission to the Gardens today is $24.95 per adult (not per car)

Callaway Gardens opened on May 21, 1952, as the Ida Cason Gardens, with 13,000 acres, a number of lakes, a golf course, and scenic drives; admission to the Gardens today is $24.95 per adult (not per car)

Callaway Gardens was originally conceived in 1930 after a rare azalea was discovered growing in the area; the Calloways dammed streams creating 13 lakes and 20,000  trees, shrubs and native flowers were planted in the barren landscape

Callaway Gardens was originally conceived in 1930 after a rare azalea was discovered growing in the area; the Calloways dammed streams creating 13 lakes and 20,000+ trees, shrubs and native flowers were planted in the barren landscape

This unique azalea is the Big Sepal variety from Japan; azaleas made their way to Europe from the Orient during the early 1800s with the first exotic azaleas in the South planted in 1848 at Magnolia Gardens near Charleston

This unique azalea is the Big Sepal variety from Japan; azaleas made their way to Europe from the Orient during the early 1800s with the first exotic azaleas in the South planted in 1848 at Magnolia Gardens near Charleston

The Callaway Brothers Azalea Bowl is a 40-acre garden featuring 3,000  native and hybrid azaleas; Ely Callaway Jr., founder of Callaway Golf, funded the Azalea Bowl garden with a $3 million donation, and it opened in 1999

The Callaway Brothers Azalea Bowl is a 40-acre garden featuring 3,000+ native and hybrid azaleas; Ely Callaway Jr., founder of Callaway Golf, funded the Azalea Bowl garden with a $3 million donation, and it opened in 1999

Brilliant Camellia; when the Great Depression struck, much of Harris County was former cotton fields that were worn out; former Callaway Mills Chairman Cason Callaway acquired vast tracts in stages, eventually reaching 40,000 acres

Brilliant Camellia; when the Great Depression struck, much of Harris County was former cotton fields that were worn out; former Callaway Mills Chairman Cason Callaway acquired vast tracts in stages, eventually reaching 40,000 acres

Inspired by 16th-century Gothic chapels, the Ida Cason Callaway Memorial Chapel honors the mother of the Garden's founder; today, the serene chapel is used for small weddings as well as weekend organ concerts

Inspired by 16th-century Gothic chapels, the Ida Cason Callaway Memorial Chapel honors the mother of the Garden's founder; today, the serene chapel is used for small weddings as well as weekend organ concerts

Callaway Gardens had debt problems during the 2007-08 financial crisis which resulted in  large tracts being sold which reduced the Gardens from 13,000 to just 2500 acres; there are 10  miles of nature paths to explore at the Gardens

Callaway Gardens had debt problems during the 2007-08 financial crisis which resulted in large tracts being sold which reduced the Gardens from 13,000 to just 2500 acres; there are 10+ miles of nature paths to explore at the Gardens

The area around Falls Creek Lake was just starting to show its color when I visited in early March; in 2022, the Gardens were purchased by Herschend Family Entertainment  (they run Dollywood and it's where Jonathan Karron once worked)

The area around Falls Creek Lake was just starting to show its color when I visited in early March; in 2022, the Gardens were purchased by Herschend Family Entertainment (they run Dollywood and it's where Jonathan Karron once worked)

Northern Cardinal and Pine, Athos Menaboni, ca. 1948; Italian-born artist Menaboni arrived in Georgia in the late 1920s and remained active until his death at the age of 94; he's best known for his numerous paintings of 150  different species of birds

Northern Cardinal and Pine, Athos Menaboni, ca. 1948; Italian-born artist Menaboni arrived in Georgia in the late 1920s and remained active until his death at the age of 94; he's best known for his numerous paintings of 150+ different species of birds

The Pioneer Log Cabin, with only 2 rooms, was constructed of longleaf pine in the 1830s and occupied for a century, with the last family to live there filling it to overflowing with 15 people; it was moved here from neighboring Troup County in 1959

The Pioneer Log Cabin, with only 2 rooms, was constructed of longleaf pine in the 1830s and occupied for a century, with the last family to live there filling it to overflowing with 15 people; it was moved here from neighboring Troup County in 1959

The Chisholm-Merritt hybrid azalea dates from 1947; Callaway Gardens, 18 miles from LaGrange GA, is considered the world's largest azalea garden and draws 750,000  visitors annually

The Chisholm-Merritt hybrid azalea dates from 1947; Callaway Gardens, 18 miles from LaGrange GA, is considered the world's largest azalea garden and draws 750,000+ visitors annually

Azaleas were found to be hardy in the US South and quickly spread throughout the coastal region, breeding programs were undertaken that increased the cold hardiness of azaleas and extended the bloom time of evergreen exotic azaleas

Azaleas were found to be hardy in the US South and quickly spread throughout the coastal region, breeding programs were undertaken that increased the cold hardiness of azaleas and extended the bloom time of evergreen exotic azaleas

Posted by VagabondCowboy 10:03

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