Don Hyatt with Flame azaleas blooming in the mountains.

Don Hyatt with Flame azaleas blooming in the mountains. (Courtesy Helen Hamilton / March 18, 2013)

Don Hyatt, well-known for his extensive knowledge of azaleas (Rhododendron spp) discusses native azaleas at 6:45 p.m  Thursday, March 21, at the next meeting of the John Clayton Chapter, Virginia Native Plant Society. The meeting will be held at the Yorktown Public Library at Battle Road and Route 17, just before Yorktown High School.

Native azaleas, which thrive nicely in Hampton Roads, are known for great fragrance, drought tolerance once they are established, deer resistance and beautiful summer foliage. They are all deciduous in winter, but the budding branches offer unique interest in the winter garden.

Hyatt has a bachelor's in horticulture and biochemistry and master's in computer science from Virginia Tech. He maintains Stonehouse Creek Nursery in Amherst County, has gardened from age 3, and has a special interest in native azaleas and rhododendrons. He won a gold medal form American Rhododendron Society, has numerous other awards, and is also a botanical artist.

The meeting is free and open to the public. Contact Lucile Kossodo for more information at 565-0769

Learn more about native azaleas from the Azalea Society of America: http://azaleas.org/index.pl/aznatives.html. You will find them available now at southeastern Virginia garden centers, including Lowe's and McDonald Garden Center.

MORE NATIVE PLANT PROGRAMS

Native  trees. Sunday, March 24, 1 pm:  Phillip Merritt will lead a plant walk in downtown Williamsburg, focusing on native trees, some of which are beginning to bloom.  Meet at the corner of Prince George Street and N. Henry Street near the downtown parking garage.  You can contact Phillip at 352/727-1994 or email him at phillip.merritt@gmail.com  to register, and check the website:  www.claytonvnps.org. Free, open to public.


Spring wildflowers. Saturday, Apr 6, 10 am: Spring Wildflower Walk in woods adjacent to Lafayette High School on Longhill Road in Williamsburg, led by Gus Hall and Helen Hamilton. Meet in the parking lot in front of the school. Register by contacting Helen Hamilton at 757/564-4494 or helen48@cox.net, and check the website:  www.claytonvnps.org. Free, open to public.