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Discover the enchanting State Botanical Garden in Athens Georgia.

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This 313-acre preserve has trails that wind to the garden’s farthest boundaries, a stunning 3-story tropical conservatory, and gardens showcasing native and international flora.
Rhododendron FlowersRhododendron Collection - See lovely hybrid rhododendrons prized for their large showy flowers which range in colors from white to vivid reds. The Native Azalea Collection honors Fred C. Galle, well known plantsman and author. This collection features hybrid rhododendrons prized for their large showy flowers which range in colors from white to vivid reds. Most varieties bloom in April or May.

The native evergreen rhododendrons common in the north Georgia mountains do not generally thrive as far east and south as Athens. The hybrid rhododendrons are, in general, better adapted, but siting, proper planting, and care are critical to long term survival.

Rhododendron Prunifolium - The Rhododendron genus is large and complex and contains those plants commonly referred to as azaleas. Most azaleas grown in the Southeast, excepting the native deciduous azaleas, are of Oriental origin.

The original Rhododendron Collection was established in 1976 through a gift from the Athens Garden Club. Many of the plants were donated by Wight's Nursery and Rhododendron Farms. A new collection is being established near the Orient & China section of the International Garden.
Pretty flowersNative Azalea Collection
The southeastern U.S. is rich in native azaleas (Rhododendron spp.). Flame azalea (Rhododendron calendulaceum) and Pinxterbloom azalea (R. periclymenoides) [syn. R. nudiflorum] are among native azalea species abundant throughout Georgia. Many rarer species also exist like Plumleaf azalea (R. prunifolium) found only in southwestern GA and eastern A.

The genus Rhododendron includes the azaleas. Although considered distinct by most gardeners, there are no consistent botanical differences between azaleas and rhododendrons. Azaleas are largely deciduous with funnelform flowers where rhododendrons are mostly evergreen with campanulate flowers, but there are many exceptions.

Beautiful Orchids in State Botanical Garden in Athens GAThe collection honors Fred C. Galle, well known plantsman and author of Azaleas, a widely respected reference on the subject. Donations from the Azalea Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society, Tom Dodd Nurseries, and Green Thumb Nursery helped make the collection possible.

The original collection, located near the Garden's entrance, was severely damaged by deer. A new collection, within the protective deer fence, is located adjacent the Native Flora Garden.

A Conifer Collection is near the Callaway Building with a primary focus on dwarf and mid-sized cultivars that perform well in the Southeast U.S.

The Conservatory Collection is built around the theme of beneficial tropical plants. The collection contains examples of food crops, beverage crops, spice crops, ornamental plants, and plants from which medicinal and industrial products are derived. People living in temperate regions of the world often see and use these end products, but rarely have the opportunity to see the plants from which they come.
Nature Trails - Approximately 5 miles of nature trails wind through the Garden. A wide variety of natural physiographic features and plant communities can be found within the Garden's ecological areas suh as wetlands, floodplains, slopes and upland plateaus.

State Botanical Gardens FlowersSuccessional stages range from beeches more than 100 years old to fields tilled for agricultural research as recently as 1960. Geographic disturbances caused by cotton farming, livestock grazing and fire have left their mark on the land; older hardwoods exist mainly on slopes too steep for terracing.

Portions of the Orange Trail and White Trail parallel the shoreline of the Middle Oconee River which borders the western portion of the Garden. Small populations of wildlife such as rabbits, raccoons, opossums, fox and numerous bird species find the Garden a natural habitat. Birding is a popular activity at the Garden. The State Botanical Garden together with UGA's Whitehall Forest has been designated an IBA (Important Bird Area) by the Georgia Audubon Society.

Sites of archeological interest include several old home sites and rock mounds of uncertain origin.

Amenities: Restrooms, Accessibility for mobility-impaired, Food, Party Facilities. Call for hours. Free admission and parking.

Phone: 706-542-1244 - Address: International Garden Lawn, 2450 S. Milledge Ave., Athens Georgia 30605 - Located 1 mile past Athens bypass (Loop 10) BulletState Botanical Gardens Website

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