In Augusta, azaleas aren’t just flowers. They’re the splashes of spring color that typify Masters Week in the town nicknamed “The Garden City.”
Azalea experts have traced the mainly-Asian flower’s Southern popularity to its first plantings at a Charleston, S.C., rice plantation in the 1830s.
By 1849, an Augusta merchant named F.A. Mauge had begun advertising his newly established plant nursery in The Augusta Chronicle, touting several species of ornamental plants, including azaleas.
But azaleas’ connection to the Augusta National Golf Club started in 1857 when Belgian nobleman Louis Mathieu Edouard Berckmans purchased an indigo plantation that once occupied the club’s present site. He and his son, Prosper Julius Alphonse, founded Fruitland Nurseries.
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