Azaleas in bloom at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, Charleston, South Carolina
© Joanne Wells/Danita Delimon
Pretty in pink, and purple, and red...
Azaleas in peak bloom are a stunning sight at the Magnolia Plantation and Gardens near Charleston in the US state of South Carolina. Together they create a vibrant forest of blooms spanning hundreds of native and hybrid varieties, including 15 azaleas once thought to be extinct.
Founded in 1676 as a rice plantation, Magnolia introduced an extensive network of dams and dykes built along the Ashley River for irrigating fields for rice cultivation. These earthworks were created by African slaves from rice-growing regions of West Africa and their descendants. Botanical gardens were an early feature of the plantation; some sections of Magnolia's gardens date back 325 years.