Thursday, November 5, 2009

Consumer Q’s: Muscadines and Azaleas

Q. Is it true that muscadines are rich in antioxidants?

A. That is what the nutritionists say. However, antioxidants are just one more reason to eat muscadines. The main reason is that they are delicious. They are excellent fresh. They also make one of the most flavorful jellies you’ll ever eat. And muscadine wine is a favorite for many.

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Q. I love azaleas but want to plant something else because I see azaleas everywhere. Do you have any suggested alternatives?

A. Azaleas are ubiquitous in Georgia. Because azaleas are common, some people are looking for something different, for a shrub that offers more than one season of interest or for a shrub that offers blooms or something else in a time of year that is not as abundant with flowers as spring is.

There are other shrubs that can be planted instead of azaleas. Here are some possibilities: glossy abelia (Abelia x grandiflora), American beautyberry (Callicarpa americana), sweet-bubby bush (Calycanthus floridus), tea-oil camellia (Camellia oliefera), flowering quince (Chaenomeles speciosa), summersweet clethra (Clethra alnifolia), winterhazel (Corylopsis pauciflora), Scotch broom (Cytisus scoparius), redvein enkianthus (Enkianthus campanulatus), dwarf fothergilla (Fothergilla gardenii), Virginia sweetspire (Itea virginica), Japanese kerria (Kerria japonica), spicebush (Lindera benzoin), lorepetalum (Lorepetalum chinense), Japanese pieris (Pieris japonica), Yeddo hawthorn (Rhaphiolepis umbellata), Japanese skimmia (Skimmia japonica) and blueberry (Vaccinium spp.).

This is a varied group a shrubs. The list is not exclusive; these are just a few possibilities. Your county Extension agent or local nursery or garden center can answer questions about whether any of these will be suitable for your particular site and needs. They may also offer other suggestions.

Before you totally write off azaleas, however, please note there are also more varieties and species of azaleas available than ever before. For example, it is now possible to find native azaleas for sale, azaleas trained as standards, ‘Encore’ azaleas that have a second crop of blooms in the fall, groundcover azaleas such as ‘Flame Creeper’ and late blooming azaleas such as one of the ‘Gumpo’ varieties or our native summer-blooming plumleaf azalea (Rhododendron prunifolium).

Visit your local nursery or garden center for more details.

Prepared by the Office of Public Affairs
Georgia Department of Agriculture
Tommy Irvin, Commissioner

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