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From west to east and back again, Exburys in Portland


British explorers in western North America in the 19th century found big western azaleas in bloom. In 1850 William Lobb sent seeds of these deciduous azaleas to England. They were beautiful plants, but not as beautiful as they would become.

In the early 20th century Anthony Waterer at the Knap Hill Nursery in England developed the Knap Hill hybrids from the westerns, and Lionel de Rothschild and his gardeners hybridized Exbury azaleas at the Exbury Estate. Eight to twelve feet high, they have blooms 3 to 4 inches across in brilliant shades of yellow, gold, orange, white, red, and peach. Here they are, back on the West Coast and looking sensational.