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Buddy Lee talks azaleas at Magnolia Gardens on Nov. 9

  • Thursday, November 7, 2013

Nationally known plant breeder Robert “Buddy” Lee, the inventor of the Encore Azalea, will reveal the easy steps for beautiful azaleas during a Nov. 9 lecture at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens.

Lee has more than three decades of experience in nursery management, breeding, propagation and new plant development. The Encore Azalea is the world’s best-selling reblooming azalea.

Lee’s presentation will begin at 12:30 p.m. in The Carriage House. Admission to the lecture is free with a $15 garden admission to Magnolia. Master gardeners and members of the Azalea Society of America will be admitted free to the lecture and to Magnolia’s gardens on the day of Lee’s talk. It cost $30 to join the John Grimké Drayton ASA Chapter in Charleston.

Lee will discuss how azaleas first came to North America and share insight into the historical origins of evergreen azaleas. He also will talk about the species and hybrids most widely used today, including the Encore Azalea, and share proper planting and care tips to help gardeners achieve beautiful azaleas.

Lee is director of plant innovations for Plant Development Services in Loxley, Ala., the Southern Living Plant Collection and the Sunset Western Garden Collection. Plant Development Services introduced the Encore Azalea.

He has been active in numerous horticultural groups and presently serves as a board member of the International Plant Propagators Society Southern Region and the Louisiana Nursery and Landscape Association. Lee is a past president of The Azalea Society of America.

Lee came to Magnolia earlier this year to visit with Magnolia’s executive director Tom Johnson. “Buddy and I have been friends for many years, and I am glad he is taking the time to share his knowledge of azaleas with local gardeners,” Johnson said.

Magnolia, America’s oldest public garden, has the nation’s largest collection of Encore Azaleas.

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